How To Write An Effective Musician Biography
Written by Jem Bahaijoub
Album finished? Check. Tour dates? Check. Press photos? Check. Press release? Check. Biography? Urgh!
If you’re not a spectacular storyteller or wondrous wordsmith, then the task of writing or updating your biography can seem like an arduous task. However, a biography is an essential item in any musicians marketing tool kit. It positions your brand identity, communicates your key achievements and provides background info to fans and media alike. Here are a few pointers to help you on your way…..
If you’ve not yet put pen to paper, the best thing to do is put yourself in the position of a journalist. Devise a list of questions covering your career and interview yourself. Gain ideas and angles by reading up on blog Q&As, or identify interview questions you would ask a favorite band or artist. This will make the process of gathering your bio content a lot easier. While you are interviewing yourself, write down as much info as possible. You can edit this all later.
Plan Your Structure
Your bio is not your life story. It’s a concise and well structured over-view of your music career. This is why planning the format is key. Think carefully about what you want to include in each paragraph and keep the following in mind:
1. Define your key achievements. If you have performed with well-known artists or received awards or accolades, then now is the time to rave about them. List them according to their newsworthiness.
2. Your bio does not need to be chronological. In fact the first couple of paragraphs are often the most important as they’ll determine whether a journalist or fan will read on. Ensure that the beginning of your bio provides an effective summary of your sound. For example, the Mumford and Sons bio conjures an image of their offering from the outset.
3. If you’re in a band, stick to writing about the band’s overall story, rather than each individual member in detail. It’s okay to dedicate some space to each member as long as the bio starts and ends with the band. Don’t kill the reader with detail - keep it focused.
Find Your Narrative Style
If you’re not a naturally gifted writer, than discovering your “writer’s voice” is one of the most difficult tasks. But don’t panic! If you write with passion and personality you are half way there. If you get stuck, utilize press quotes or even quote yourself. Adele’s biography is a good example of this. Alternatively ask your friends and family to provide descriptors, and get feedback from them on your writing style. If in doubt, keep it short and simple. Balance style with substance.
Create a Work In Progress
Make life easy for yourself and write a biography that is easy to update on a regular basis. Adopt a style and format that is timeless and easy to add additional information to as your career progresses. Keep your bio as concise as possible — make every word count. If you struggle fitting all relevant information in to one page, create both a short and long version that can be used accordingly. Now get cracking….it won’t write itself.