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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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    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from USA

      Excellent observation, RTalloni. If it is a food you would normally avoid in social situations, it is probably an indication that it should be avoided in the recording studio.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Interesting to think about the importance of eating only the correct foods if one is going into a recording studio. Broccoli, for many, would be off limits. The foods are those that are avoided in social situations so it makes sense that the studio would be a sensitive place for them.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from USA

      Oh, believe me, poetryman6969, I have not given up polish sausages. I just don't eat them before going into a recording studio. Thank you so much for reading and for your comment. It is a joy to see you here.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 3 years ago

      Thank God I don't sing. I'm not giving up sausage for anyone!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from USA

      Thank you for your feedback, colorfulone. To tell you the truth, I didn't really have to think about the foods I ate until I became a recording artist. Now, I look at everything I eat and consider how it will affect my body, in particular, my voice.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 3 years ago from Minnesota

      I had not ever needed to think about the foods I ate in this way, but it all does make sense when we are being recorded. This is an interesting article and I enjoyed reading it.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from USA

      Thank you so much SheGetsCreative. Your positive comment means a lot.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Great tips (and a fun story) for anyone doing public speaking.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from USA

      Hi Rajan, thank you for your feedback and thank you for the very helpful tips. I will definitely try the hot salty water tip. That's going to be a big help.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      I just read your post at bubblews that you are a voice artist and stumbled now on to this hub. These tips are certainly useful for those having anything to do with voice recording. It is very true that voice quality is affected by what one eats.

      Gargling with hot salty water keeps the larynx clear and free of germs while eating easily digestible and organic food will prevent all the rumblings in the stomach and help control one's voice better.

      Useful hub!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from USA

      Writer Fox, there have been times that I just wanted to starve for not wanting to eat something that might become active after ingestion. I'm learning!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from USA

      Yes, randomcreative, you are so right. I use to sing in a band. Fortunately, the loudness of the music would drown out any stomach growling and such, but being in a studio where the only sound required is my voice has provoked me to find ways to keep bodily sounds quiet, or else the sound will be recorded.

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      Looking at this list of food-and-drink to avoid before recording, it would seem that a total fast would be advised. But, that would make my stomach growl! Enjoyed and voted up.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks for the great advice! These suggestions apply to vocal practices and performances (i.e. recitals, concerts) as well.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from USA

      Hello MsDora and DDE. Thank you for your response. I am traveling right now and will see you when I return.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Very interesting here and you surely can do whatever you like with such a great mind.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Marlene, good luck with your project. Thank you for sharing the valuable information for artists who need to know. Well done!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from USA

      Hello ChitrangadaSharan. Thank you. Your feedback is very kind. I do hope this hub is helpful to anyone who is thinking of embarking on a career in the voice recording industry.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from USA

      Hello Faith. Indeed, He is risen. Thank you for your positive feedback. This new career choice came to me as an answer to prayer. One day I was so down-spirited because of some failures I experienced. I finally decided to just use what the good Lord gave me and all of a sudden doors started slamming shut and other doors started opening up. I was left with a career that allows me to read books and get paid for it. My first and subsequent voice recording gigs are projects where I get to use my voice to read books on religious and spiritual matters. How cool is that? And, now if I should ever finish my novel, I can turn that into an audiobook, too.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      What an informative hub! Well I can relate to it, since I have sung on stage several times. You have rightly pointed out that certain foods must be avoided before recording/ performing and if you are a singer. Any food which can irritate the vocal chords should be carefully avoided.

      Great hub and I am sure a good guide to prospective performers.

      Voted up, useful and informative! Well done!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA


      How wonderful you are training to be a professional voice artist! Wow, I just think that is awesome.

      Your great hub here provides such insight as to making sure your voice sounds perfect at the right time. I believe this hub benefits all as relates to not eating certain foods for certain reasons.

      Up and more and away!

      Blessings and prayers are with you on your new endeavors.

      Happy Easter weekend. He is Risen!

      Faith Reaper

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from USA

      Hello heidithorne. Thank you for your feedback. I hadn't thought about it, but yes speakers probably need to be concerned about the same things.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from USA

      Thank you for your feedback, Ericdierker. During my years as a Christian bandleader, I was aware of the fact that I needed to eat before performing, but I sang for a mega church where sounds were, shall we say, distributed. The music was loud, so a gurgling tummy was easily masked. Now that I am situated in a small room with just me and the microphone, well even the sound of my breathing is picked up on the mic.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from USA

      Hello billybuc! Yes. I have finally "found" myself and I must say it has been a fun journey. I'm amazed at the things I'm discovering along the way.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Great advice for speakers, too! Thanks for the tips! Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I learned some of these lessons the hard way when I was preaching. Oh my! Great article.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Now this is a subject I would never dream about, but it makes perfect sense considering your occupation. This falls under the category of "Practical Knowledge that Everyone Should Know." Well done my practical and talented friend.

      Have a wonderful weekend.