Tuesday, December 6, 2022

What I Eat: Hollis Wong-Wear

Hollis Wong-Wear, the silky-voiced singer on the 2012 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis hit, “White Walls,” and front person for the band, The Flavr Blue, says when it comes to food: “I eat everything.”

Catching up with the performer in Boston on the ongoing U.S. tour with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Wong-Wear bites into a bit of Thai food. “We picked up to-go before sound check,” she says.

While on tour with the world-famous hip-hop duo, Wong-Wear says she is “deeply motivated by free food” and, therefore, can be found often by the catered meal tables in the greenroom. “Food always tastes more delicious when it’s free,” she notes.

But before performing, she keeps to a pretty strict regimen or else risks a befuddled stomach when rocking the mic.

“The timeline for this tour has been that we sound check and then I have a sacred hour and a half before we go on stage,” she says. “If I eat anything within an hour before going on stage I’m gonna be burping it out.”

Photos by Eleanor Stills Photography

But when it’s the appropriate time, what does she eat?

“I’m all about noodles and ramen. And if there’s ever steak in catering that’s pinkish, I’m eatin’ it. I don’t feel guilty about any of my pleasures!” But, she admits that she does try to “eat as much salad as possible – on the Macklemore tour there are a lot of different veggie options.”

Somewhere, always, in the greenroom, the performers keep a bottle of Bullet bourbon, which “we all sip right before we go on stage and drink lavishly from post-show,” Wong-Wear says. And on this year’s tour rider, the band has peanut butter pretzels, snap peas and chocolate to snack on.

Growing up, she thought dairy was the “worst thing” for her voice “so I never ate cheese or drank milk before a show,” she explains. “Then a voice coach said I could drink chocolate milk because it gives you phlegm that’s good voice your voice. So I drink that now!”

And, above all else, she sticks to not eating fish pre-show.

“One time I had a fish dish that DID NOT agree with my digestive process,” she says. “It was not cute. I had to be in the bathroom moments before I went on stage. I willed myself to perform that night.”

But the most important meal comes after a big show.

“We usually go out for a meal,” she says. “The adrenaline comes down about two hours after the show. Then you’re desperately hungry.”

Jake Uitti is a Seattle-based writer whose work has appeared in the Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, Washington Post and Alaska Airlines Magazine. 



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