January 05, 2015

PR Skills: How to Write a Musician Biography

One of the key things you need to promote a musician is a biography. So, it's an important skill whether you intend to be in a band or work with one behind the scenes. A one page biography fills the role a cover letter might in a more traditional career and quickly provides context and information about a musician's sound, career, influences, and accomplishments. Talent buyers, radio station music directors, and everyone in between will use it to quickly understand who the artist is, so it needs to convey a clear, concise, and impressive message.

Writing Tools
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So how do you do that in a couple of paragraphs? You need to start with two things: your goal and the answers to the classic question words.

Goal
The goal of a biography is to interest someone enough in your music and in the story and the music that they want to know more. What exactly knowing more means will vary depending on the reader,  but generally a good biography will help open doors to career opportunities like playing a show or getting an interview. So, despite the name, a bio isn't actually a true biography. It isn't about a life story and it only really contains the most cursory of biographical details -- usually things like the artist name, where they are from, and any particularly unique or defining stories from their life that have influenced their music or personal outlook. A bio is about telling a story and establishing the image of who the band is as an artist and it's not about where the band went to school or what their hobbies are -- unless those details are really interesting and relevant to the band's music or personal story. Instead, it's about telling the band's story and establishing their image.

Question Words
Who, what, where, when, and why. These questions from elementary school English class are a great starting point for any biography. Begin by writing down your answers to each of them and it will ensure that you provide a fully-developed and detailed picture of the band and help you pinpoint the most important parts of their story.

Who
Who is the artist -- both what is the name and what do they represent?
Who have they toured with? Who, of note, have they written or recorded with? Who are their fans?

What
What kind of music do they play? -- describe it.
What are they doing that is noteworthy right now - touring, releasing a record?
What have people and critics said about their music?
What inspires them?
What are some of the most interesting stories and lyrics in their songs?
What is the story behind their name?
What makes them unique?

Where
Where are is the band touring?
Where are they from?
Where was the album recorded?

When
When is the album going to be released?
When was it recorded?
When did the band start?
When does the tour start?

Why
Why does the artist play music?

Next Steps
Now that you've answered all of the important questions and, hopefully, started to figure out a clear picture. The final step is to put it all together and have someone else proofread it for you. The following guides can help you properly format it in a professional manner that will stand out for all of the right reasons:

Creating an Effective Bio
How To Write An Effective Artist Bio That Won’t Be Ignored
How to Write a Killer Artist Bio
Guide to Writing Effective Bios for Musicians and other Performing Artists
How to Write an Artist Bio That Won't Get Ignored


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