Let me tell you a story about a client I’ll call Diana, an experienced freelance violinist. She came to me for help with her email pitches. The help, though, it wasn’t what she expected. In fact, it got her asking, Why is Bio writing so hard?
You see, Diana thought all she needed was the right email messages to send the “perfect pitch.” Simple, right?
When we talked, and I asked Diana what links she was planning to include in the email pitches, things got a little more complicated.
We got to looking over her website, her audio and video samples, and her Bio. And it quickly became clear to both of us that there was more work to be done. Because the goal of her email pitches is to have the reader click on her links and check her and her music out. The truth is . . .
You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.
So we started working on Diana’s Bio because the “About” page is typically where people go first.
I gave Diana an “assignment” to unearth her potential Bio material. I asked her to make a “compost” list of items that might be included in her new bio. I also asked her to articulate WHY she makes music and how she got started, and what is it about her latest project that fascinates her the most. This took some real reflecting on her part.
And then we went back and forth by email with drafts—Diana did NINE re-writes. It took a lot longer than she expected. In one session, out of frustration, Diana cried,
“Why is writing a Bio so hard?”
Let me count the ways:
1. Bio writing brings up all our self-esteem issues
I get it. We look over our credits and no matter what we’ve done we judge it (and ourselves) as “not good enough.”
So I’ll let you in on a secret: Every musician I’ve ever coached, no matter HOW accomplished, feels as though she or he hasn’t done enough. Or doesn’t have the “right” quotes, or didn’t win the “right” competitions or collaborate with the “right” artists. Everyone feels “less than.”
Writing an effective, compelling bio takes getting past all these ego issues. It takes peeling down to find your truth and communicating it clearly. It’s NOT easy and it’s NOT quick, but SO worth it to finally be “out” with who you really are so you can present your real self and feel good about.
What else makes Bio writing hard?
2. We make the mistake of mimicking other people’s Bios
What’s wrong with that? The person we’re typically mimicking has a different story, a different life. And the truth is, the majority of Bios we read are full of run-on sentences listing a gazillion boring credits. And because we model our bios on what we see other musicians using, we end up perpetuating the same mistakes and sounding indistinguishable from everybody else.
3. We forget the real purpose of a Bio
Because we desperately want to prove ourselves worthy, we forget that the real reason to have a Bio isn’t to put on a “professional front” and impress people. The real purpose of a Bio is to openly and honestly reveal who we really are and why we do what we do. All with the aim of getting the reader genuinely curious and interested enough in our music to click “play.”
4. We try to sound “impressive” and “professional”
Because we’ve lost site of our goal—to make a human connection with readers, we end up trying to impress readers using fancy words and the hackneyed phrases everyone else uses. We include long lists of every teacher, training program, and influential person we ever interacted with. In our attempts to sound “professional,” we hide behind empty adjectives, sweeping generalities and comparisons. We do all this because we fear we are not enough.
Don’t get me wrong, concert presenters DO want to read your key credits to get a sense of your background and appropriate fit for their venue. But what gets them interested is what’s distinctive about your projects and your music: it’s what makes you tick you as a musician, and as a human. So you need a Bio that does MORE than list your credentials.
If yours is like most musicians’ Bios . . .
then it doesn’t get anywhere near describing who you really are or what makes your music remarkable.
That’s why Diana and I worked on her Bio and why the results, in the end, were so satisfying. Even though it wasn’t what she expected, and it took longer, Diana ended up with a Bio and a website that she felt truly proud of. And the new confidence that came from telling her truth—that made her email pitching, networking, and even negotiating fees—all easier.
What’s it worth to stop hiding and finally stand tall in who YOU really are?
If you want tips on writing Bios let’s talk on FB live in the FREE MusiciansMakingIt FB group Tuesdays at 12 noon ET.
And if you’d like to find out how getting expert coaching can help you bring more of your best work into the world, let’s talk.
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