Wait, why do I make music?

In working with musicians on their promotional materials—especially their bios—I’ve found there’s an essential question that they need to ask themselves: Why do you I make music? What’s key is being able to answer this seemingly simple without resorting to generic or cliché answers. So no “because I love music,” or “to express myself” or “It’s just what I do best.”

The importance of your purpose

Why ask WHY? So that you clarify your purpose and can convey a sense of who you are. With more honest, authentic, and memorable promo materials, readers can better connect with you and your music. .

If your bio is essentially a boring list of venues where you’ve performed, awards you’ve won, and schools you’ve attended, now is the time to upgrade that first impression you’re making in print.

Reflective questions to the rescue

Since reading Bernadette Jiwa’s book Story Driven, I’ve been using a version of her excellent questions to help clients dig deeper and communicate their “WHY.” The answers to these questions won’t necessarily end up in your bio. But by answering these, you can get to the core of your WHY and tap into the energy and spirit you most want to convey. Thank you, Bernadette!

Again, the challenge here is to be honest, specific, and to avoid any generalizations or clichés so you can communicate the real you.

1. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

2. What did doing the hard thing teach you about yourself?

3. Who are the two people who have had the biggest impact on your life?

4. What did you learn from them?

5. What’s your proudest memory? Why?

6. When are you at your best?

7. Why do you make music?

8. What’s the change you seek to make through your music? In your audience, In your community, and In the world?

I’d love to know what answering these questions reveals for you about your purpose as a musician—your a-ha’s!

Please post your related comments and questions in our free Facebook group. Happy to have you join the conversation!

Plus: here’s a quick video I did: The 4×6 of How to Write a Great Musicians’ Bio

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