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Voice Artists Don’t Eat Polish Sausages - Foods to Avoid Before Going Into the Recording Studio

Updated on March 23, 2015
MarleneB profile image

Marlene is a voice artist for commercials, training guides, and audiobooks. She is often sought and hired to narrate and produce memoirs.

Stepping up to the microphone.
Stepping up to the microphone. | Source

Mistakes a New Voice Artist Might Make

When I was an active real estate broker, I sold real estate using the auction method of buying and selling real estate. As an auctioneer, my voice was my tool for selling homes. If my voice gave out on me, I would be unable to continue the auction. I learned some tricks of the trade through veteran auctioneers. They all worked.

Since my auctioneer days, I decided to become a professional voice artist. Being a voice artist is different from being an auctioneer, because as an auctioneer, I didn't have to stand in front of the microphone recording my voice. If my voice cracked a little it didn't matter too much. What mattered was the auctioneer's chant and getting the bids correct. Now, I’m training myself through the process of being a professional voice artist. If I had a mentor, perhaps I would avoid some common mistakes, like what to eat and what not to eat before going into a recording studio. As a voice artist, it is important to be well-nourished and hydrated before stepping up to the microphone to record.

One day after a long recording session, I was feeling a little hungry. I took a thirty minute break and went to grab a quick bite to eat. The quickest thing I could find was a polish sausage dog. I scarfed it down and chased it with a glass of iced tea.

The Benefit of the Home Studio

I was fortunate that I was working on a project for a remote client, otherwise, the client could have been a little miffed at the time that was wasted while I sat out waiting for my stomach to stop making funny noises. In the recording industry, wasted time is wasted money.

Like I said, if I had a mentor, I might have made wiser choices. About a half hour later, I went back into the studio to continue recording. My stomach started gurgling and no matter how the microphone was adjusted or how far away I stood from the microphone, the sound was being picked up and transferred into the system. Needless to say, I had to call it quits for the time-being. Eventually, my stomach settled down and I was able to resume the recording session.

Microphones Hear Everything!

Professional microphones pick up the minutest sounds, so you have to be careful about the sounds that you make. It is important to eat a nutritious meal before going in to record. You don’t want your stomach to growl in the middle of the session because you missed a meal. The microphone will pick up that sound quite clearly. At the same time, you don’t want your stomach to gurgle because of the meal you just ate. The microphone will pick up that sound, too.

Foods to Avoid Before Going to a Recording Session

You want to avoid all foods that cause your body to burp or gurgle during the session. A good tip is to eat about ½ hour to one hour before the recording session so that the food has a chance to settle in your stomach. Also, make sure you are thoroughly hydrated. Water is a voice artist’s friend.

The list is short and by no means is it all-inclusive. It is a list of foods that I have learned, from personal experience, to avoid before going into a recording session.

Avoid the following foods:

  • Processed Meats. Things like Polish dogs, hot dogs, and sausages may cause you to burp. Yes, I know it’s not lady-like to say, “burp”, but if I am going to be helpful, I have to be honest and straightforward. Burping is a natural bodily process and eating processed meats may cause… well… you know… burping.
    So, do yourself a favor and avoid processed meats like Deviled Ham, Spam, Vienna Sausages… or let me cut to the chase and say, any meat that has added ingredients applied to them and then packaged at a manufacturing plant is probably not a good choice. It’s alright to eat meat, just eat unprocessed meat, like a steak, a piece of chicken, or turkey.

  • Sugar. Sugar is one of those food products that can mess you up in the throat area. Sugary products coat the throat and help to create phlegm and mucus.

  • Fruits. Aside from Granny Smith Apples, which are touted as a food product that helps keep the tongue from “clicking” during recording, some fruits (which are a natural source of sugar), can contain more sugar than the body can process in a short period of time. While fruits are a natural product, the amount of sugar they contain can make it difficult to keep your throat clear. Avoid peaches, pears, bananas, and grapes. Pretty much, (aside from Granny Smith Apples) avoid fruits altogether because fruits have the same effect on the throat as straight sugar.

  • Vegetables. Generally, vegetables are a good choice (carrots, celery, lettuce, and tomatoes to name a few). But, vegetables like cucumbers, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage can make the body a little bloated and cause belching in some people.

  • Legumes. No beans! Definitely don’t eat beans. Also, avoid edamame, lentils, chickpeas, and black eyed peas. The side effect is gas emission. You know what I’m talking about. And, in the confinement of a recording studio it’s not a delightful thing to have happening.

  • Dairy. Avoid dairy of any type. No ice cream or yogurt. The main reason for not eating dairy products before going into the recording studio is because dairy products tend to coat the tongue and throat, making it difficult to clear your throat.

What About Beverages?

For the benefit of protecting the vocal chords and keeping them in good shape for a recording session, take time to consider the type of beverage you consume before your recording session.

Avoid the following beverages:

  • Coffee and Tea. In fact, stay away from all types of hot beverages. You want to protect your throat and vocal chords. Hot beverages may cause your vocal chords to become too “warm” and loose, making it difficult to control your vocal performance.

  • Milk. Avoid milk for the same reasons you avoid foods that contain dairy.

  • Sugary Drinks. Avoid drinks made with sugar, including drinks made with artificial sweeteners.

  • Alcohol. If you have a few sips of alcohol before going into the recording studio, it might calm your nerves, but at the same time, your vocal chords and tongue will be calmed, too. Try saying a word like, “obstinateness” after a shot or two of bourbon. Also consider, red wine contains tannins that may cause your tongue to be dry, causing your words to produce a clicking sound when you speak.

The Sounds Your Body Makes

Ordinarily, you probably don’t notice the sounds your body makes after eating, but when you become a recording artist, you start to become more aware of sounds and how they affect your recording session.

Tongue clicking, burps, gurgling, gas passing, and cracking bones are all sounds that you don’t want to hear on your recorded product. They are impossible to edit out. The best way to deal with bodily sounds is to avoid the foods that are notorious for causing problems.

I know there are more foods out there that give voice artists trouble. If you have experience with a food item, please share it here. I would relish the idea of knowing ahead of time, what foods could be potential sabotages at a future recording session.

Sharing the journey: On the road to becoming a successful professional voice artist.

© 2014 Marlene Bertrand


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