1. Green tea
Everyone goes on about green tea these days and for good reason; it’s packed with antioxidants and has a plethora of other health benefits. BUT it is terrible for your voice. green tea has a really drying effect and reduces the lubrication around your vocal folds making you more susceptible to developing things like a sore throat (at best) or a vocal node (at worst).
I drink green tea all the time generally, but avoid it the day I am due to sing.
Unless you are lactose intolerant, milk is pretty good for you. It is packed with calcium and it has been debated that it can actually help with weight loss. However, milk is the #1 cause for phlegm build up in singers and phlegm is every singer’s worst enemy.
It sticks to the back of your throat and nasal cavity requiring you to clear your throat when you are singing. Sometimes phlegm can cause your voice to sound as if it is cracking; which is actually your air breaking through the phlegm at the back of your throat.
Those with a tendency to sound nasal sound also steer clear of all milky drinks because it can exacerbate the problem. Milk and singing just don’t mix.
3. Beer and wine
It is common practice to be given a bar tab when you are performing but steer clear of wine and beer as both can affect your singing in different ways. Wine is generally packed with preservatives which dry out your throat. Depending on the brand and quality of the wine, this is not quite as bad as green tea, but you generally don’t want to do anything that will affect the quality of your voice so try a rum or brandy instead.
Beer (or anything carbonated for that matter) causes bloating and gas and you don’t want either when you’re up on stage singing into a mic. When you sing, you need to keep your stomach muscles relaxed so you can use your diaphragm to breathe. If you are bloated, you feel tight around this area and your breathing will suffer.
And as for gas? Well it speaks for itself. If you’re singing into a microphone, the audience can hear every little noise you make and it’s really not attractive trying to stifle a belch during a romantic ballad!
4. Ice cubes (or any cold water)
Avoid ice in your drink because anything cold is not good for your vocal folds. Think of singing like you would playing sport. You want to be nice and warm before you go for that massive sprint to avoid injury. Same goes for singing. I prefer to drink warm tea during a gig (preferably peppermint or licorice root tea; both are fabulous for singers.)
Well, this a food not a drink and we’re actually talking vocal hygiene here but if you think about how close your mouth gets to the mic and how long you spend breathing into that one spot, it makes sense to steer clear of super smelly foods like garlic before you do a gig.
Many singers use their own mics at gigs and it’s for this very reason. I personally don’t like putting my lips on someone else’s leftover bacteria and I’m pretty sure you won’t either. Garlic can leave a lingering smell on your microphone, so unless you are prepared to clean your mic thoroughly with each use, choose another dinner companion.