Musicians: what do presenters look to find in your Bio?

When it comes to booking more concerts, what’s missing in your Bio?

If I had to pick the ONE most important thing a concert presenter looks for in a Bio, when trying to find out if you’re a good fit for their venue, I’d say it’s this. They want to find out what’s distinctive about your performances.

Face it, if all you give them is your boring credentials, they’ve got no incentive to click “play” and listen to your audio or video clips. So you need to hook readers with something real about your music that piques their curiosity and gets them to listen. In the end, What’s missing in your Bio is a  . . .

Compelling description of your music

I know, it’s easier said than done. But you’ve got three ways you can go about this. You can focus on . . .

A) Describing your sound as a performer. For improvisers and composers, this means describing what their music is like. 

Another option is to . . .

B) Tell us what your performances are like — what the audience experiences.

and last, you can . . .

C) Describe what’s distinctive about your programming — how you put concert programs together.

So what do you do if you don’t know how to describe what you sound like? Or what if you don’t know what your audiences experience? Or maybe you wonder whether your programming is actually distinctive?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered . . .

Pro Tip #1: Think over the comments you’ve ever gotten from audiences

What specific and memorable language, metaphors, or associations did people use when they told you what they appreciated, either about your sound, or about your performances?

Of course, clichés and generic descriptions like “beautiful sound” or “terrific performance” won’t help. Search your memory banks for any more detailed or surprising comments that may help you identify what it is people especially appreciate. These may be clues pointing to something distinctive.

Instead, you might use the comments you gather to generate a sentence something like . . .

“Audiences have described violinist Emily Hale’s performances as animated, intuitive, and elegant.”

Or you might use the description in a clause to start a sentence. Something like . . .

“Known for both the humor and drama of his performances, along with his engaging speaking with audiences from the stage, guitarist Alvaro Henrique . . .”

What’s needed here is a non-clichéd description of what audiences experience in your performances. They may not give you the exact wording you end up using, but if you capture the spirit of what they tell you, then you’re honoring the truth.

That way, when audience members who’ve been to your performances read your bio, they’ll say, “Yep, that IS what it’s like.”

But what do you do if you don’t have any juicy, non-generic comments from listeners? No worries . . .

Pro Tip #2 If you don’t have audience comments . . . ASK for them

It’s not rocket science. Reach out to your fans by email or social media. This doesn’t have to be a big deal. A simple request with a link so they can hear a sample of your work, that’s easy.

Post an excerpt from a performance on your socials. And explain that you’re reworking your promo materials — and that you’d really appreciate getting listeners’ feedback.

Ask for candid, specific descriptions. You don’t need poetry or praise. But you do need to know what people experience — what comes across to them. Because in terms of what presenters really want, THAT’S IT.

One composer client asked her fans for feedback on a new work which she posted online. Her friends and followers wrote back with an amazing list of evocative descriptions of her work. And she used these as a side bar list, on her About page under the caption “What people are saying.”

But she got MORE than the feedback. In the process, she cultivated stronger relationships with her fans. And got more clarity on how her work is received.

You don’t need a long list of audience comments. But you DO need some fresh language to wake readers up — and get them to click “play.”

Gather the comments you receive and put them in a sentence

In terms of nailing What’s missing in your Bio . . . check out these examples—nothing missing here:

“Focused on creating performances that are vibrant, multi-faceted sound worlds, violinist Szuhwa Wu designs concerts that challenge and disturb, surprise and enthrall audiences.”

Here’s another with a description of the musician’s performances and programming:

“Known for the warmth and conviction of his performances, pianist Walter Aparicio explores issues of cultural background and identity through his concerts and workshops. Much of his programming includes music that directly references elements of dance, language, and folk traditions.”

And this from a composer, what her music is like:

“Using intricate shimmering colors over re-imagined fragments of tunes, composer Sheree Clement builds surprising narratives. She upends the listener’s expectations in works using politically charged texts, found sounds, and unusual structures. All to wake us up to the upheaval and possibilities of now.”

In each of these examples, we’re getting a real sense of what’s distinctive in each artist’s voice. This is what’s all too often missing in musician Bios. Because you need something more than competition wins, venues where you performed, and degrees earned. Have the courage to tell us what your music is really about. And if you want help . . .

If you’re ready to tackle what’s missing in your Bio so you can book more concerts . . .

then you may be a terrific candidate for either private coaching with me or joining my Power Group program. There will be a few openings in July. But these spots go fast. If you’d like to find out what the best fit is for you, let’s talk.

Looking forward,

Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well

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