It’s hard to underestimate the value of writing a proper band (or artist) bio.
Your artist bio is going to be seen by the press, magazine editors, bloggers, venue owners, booking agents, industry reps, and even your fans.
A bio is a promotional tool. It can open up a lot of doors and opportunities for you if you take the time and care to do it right.
These are the seven elements your bio should contain:
1. Two to Four Keyword-Rich, No-Filler Paragraphs
For general purposes, you should keep your bio short. You can have a tagline, a short version, a medium-length version, and even a long version, but for your website, use the medium-length one.
Additionally, proofread, spellcheck and grammar-check your document. Professionalism does count. A lot of people don’t take this point seriously, so I will repeat it again. Please proofread your document, and if possible, get a second and third pair of eyes on it.
If you can’t write it yourself, ask for help or hire someone who knows how to craft an effective artist or band bio.
2. Names of Your Band Members
Clearly identify each band member, their name, and what instrument they play.
It may seem obvious, but this information can help sound techs, venue owners and even media people a lot. Don’t make assumptions about what people know or don’t know. Assume you’re writing for someone who doesn’t know the first thing about you.
3. Your Location
Make sure to note where your band hails from, and where you are currently located.
Geography is more important than you might think. If there are venue owners looking at your bio and they want to book your band for the following weekend, they are going to be a bit surprised to find you half way across the country. Oops!
That’s fine if you want to be catching a flight every other week, and maybe you don’t mind if you’re driven and have a lot of money to back it up. But otherwise this is vital information you should be relaying to the reader.
4. Quotes, Press Clippings & Facts
Keep it simple. You don’t need to dazzle anyone with your eloquent writing skills or a long list of credentials and accomplishments.
Stick to the facts, and don’t go overboard with press clippings either. You don’t need more than one or two quotes.
As for credentials, list three of the most important, or create another page on your website if you must list all of them. It’s great that you can show credibility, but some artists overdo it. It’s annoying, because your accomplishments don’t tell a story. Your story tells a story.Your story tells a story. Click To Tweet
5. Genre & Influences
You could try and describe your music until you’re blue in the face; at the end of the day, most industry reps just want to know what genre you are closest to, and who you sound like.
I know, you don’t like being pigeonholed, but if they have this information, it’s going to make you easier to book and promote. So, again, keep it simple. Save the clever, funny, and obscure references for face-to-face conversations.
Alexisonfire used to describe their music in this manner:
The sound of two Catholic high-school girls in mid-knife-fight.
Clever, but that’s not going to work for industry people (I would find it annoying to try to promote you with a tagline like that, because it basically says nothing about you). Save it for your elevator pitch or Twitter profile instead.
Emphasize story over facts. People are more interested in who you are than they are in what you’ve done.
Certainly it’s worth mentioning any high-profile bands you’ve toured with, but a story is going to engage better than facts (i.e. you could talk about your favorite coffee shop in terms of its physical address, but that’s not going to give anyone a sense of why you like that coffee shop). I’ve already gone on about this, so let me sum this up by saying share your heart.
7. Contact Information
Guess what people are looking for when they finish reading your bio? If they are in the industry, they are looking for your contact information.
So don’t disappoint! If they are already excited about your band and want to book you for an upcoming event (logic need not apply here because people make decisions on emotion anyway), don’t put another step between them and getting in touch with you.
If you prolong this process, their excitement could wane and they might even forget about you completely. Get them while they’re hot!
So there you have it. These are the seven elements your cut-and-paste bio should contain.
Is there anything else you would add to this list? Do you already have an effective band or artist bio? Feel free to share the link in the comments below!