As a follow up to Wait, Why Do I Make Music?, here’s more help on Building a Better Bio. Can we get real here? The thing I miss most in musicians’ bios is a sense of the real person behind the fog of words. When I read a bio, what I want to know is simple. I want to understand who this person really is. Why they make music—what they are all about.
Simple, yes. Easy, no.
When I read bios I’m hoping musicians will be open and honest enough to tell me something real instead of “marketing themselves” at me. I’m hoping they’ll get past their own ego issues and drop the facade and let me get to know a real person—not a manufactured professional image.
Of course I also expect to hear about inspiring projects they’ve been involved with and what their current work is—but I’m not going to care about any of that unless I get a real sense of the person behind the work.
Bio Building Made Easier
Here are three questions to help you hone in on possible bio material that reveals more of the real you.
Try this: imagine you are catching up with a favorite Aunt who isn’t a musician. She’s curious about your music-making and asks you a few questions. She’s smart and you like her so there’s no need to dumb things down, but she doesn’t know or care about music jargon, so talk like a human not like a textbook!
She wants to hear about what you love to do and why. Answer these questions by telling short anecdotes and giving examples. Record your answers on your phone so you don’t have to worry about sentence structure—just talk it out the way you would in a conversation with your favorite Aunt who asks you . . .
1. What projects are you working on—what are you fascinated by or obsessed with these days—and tell me why!
2. Tell me about the most moving experience you’ve had as a performer (or composer) . . .
3. Tell me about the most moving experience you’ve had as an audience member . . .
Once you’ve recorded your answers, you can use the material from your responses and write a short one-paragraph mini-bio: write your profile in first person, using “I” statements.
This version is just for you. So be honest and open. You can decide what of this to use in your promo materials later.
Hint: don’t start with where you were born or who your teachers are. That’s BORING. Instead, try using these sentence starters below.
Writing Prompts to Tap Into Your Authentic Self
Try using these phrases to frame your story telling:
“Here’s what most people don’t know about me . . . ”
“In making music, what I care about most is . . .”
“If I were stranded on a desert island and could have only one recording, the piece would be . . . because . . .”
“The current project I’m most excited about is . . . because . . .”
“The thing that fascinates me most is . . .”
Try these out so you can build a better bio — and convey your authentic self and the value you offer.
Do you have a question about bio writing? Hit me up in our FREE Musicians Making It Facebook group.
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