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First impressions are important, and you only get one shot at them.

Your bio is often your first impression to those who visit your website, social media accounts, and those who read about you online or in magazines. Often times, parts of your bio is placed in articles without any editing.

A bio is also a great opportunity to create a personal connection with your fans. Often times, people who discover your music online will want to read more about you as they listen. When I find a new band, I usually check out their Facebook or Wikipedia page to see where they're from, who they're signed to, and often times to check out their influences. Sometimes, the feeling that I know the band leads to a purchase.

Because of this, you want to put together a bio that introduces readers to you in a way that gathers interest and convinces them to check out your music.

Before we jump into the 10 steps, let's go over some things that should be avoided, and others that should be included.

Common artist bio mistakes

Effective communication of your art is important. Every line of your bio needs to convince readers to move to the next.

Unfortunately, many artists make mistakes that result in an unprofessional appearance, which can cost you some important media coverage opportunities.

Telling your life story

Avoid getting into too much detail about your past and how you formed your band. When writing your bio, it's fine to include a brief history of your bands formation, but too much details can quickly bore your readers. Remember, your bio is about your music, not shouldn't be a life story.

Additionally, get to important and more exciting details before you discuss the start of your music career.

Using self-serving buzzwords and cliché’s

Readers are increasingly turned off by cliché’s and self-serving buzzwords. Get to the point and avoid opinionated phrases that the reader may not agree with, like saying your album is the “best yet” or making claims that you're “like nothing ever heard before!” Leave these up to the listener or reviewer to decide.

Writing in first person

Many people will often use your bio, or pieces of it, in articles for blogs or magazines. If your bio is written in the first person ("I" instead of "He/She"), it's less likely it'll be used. By writing your bio in third person, it's easy for anyone to make use of without making changes.

Formatting it incorrectly

While you should write your bio for both journalists and fans, journalists like to see your bio flow in a particular way. Your bio should be formatted in a way that it can also work as a press release – keep it updated based on your recent history and upcoming events.

Making it too long

Your bio should be kept under one page. Start with recent or upcoming events, then go into your history – a brief story about the formation of the band, awards you’ve won, the success of past releases, etc.

Things to include

While the above should always be avoided, here are a few things you should nearly always do when writing a bio.

Create a story

Remember, every line of your bio needs to convince your audience to read the next. Put your bio together in the form of a compelling story to get people excited about you and your music.

Use quotes

Using quotes from yourself, a blog that reviewed your album, or any other press outlet can give a bio life and give you credibility as a musician.

Alternatively, third person quotes from you can give perspective to the bio in a way that excites your readers.

Be specific

Specifics keep your readers and journalists excited.

  • Bad: “X is releasing an upcoming album that combines multiple genres to create a unique sound”
  • Good: “X’s upcoming release features the heavy sound of metal with the energetic influences of punk rock to create a brand new sound that has rocked Jacksonville, Florida.”

The Process - 10 Steps to Writing an Effective Artist or Band Bio

Now that we've gone over some dos and don'ts, let's get into the 10 steps.

1. Write a paragraph about each song

Listeners don't have the time to put their own meaning to your songs anymore - you have to intrigue them with your bio so that they'll want to listen to your music.

Writing short 2-3 sentence paragraphs describing each of your recent songs gives you a nice foundation for your bio.

When writing these paragraphs, give would-be readers a convincing, relatable reason to listen to each of your songs.

2. List 8 of your influences, and how they influence your work

These influences don't have to be in the same field as you. If an artists painting inspires your music, include them in your list.

Writing down how these people influence you is extremely important. A failure to include this information could turn off readers who aren't interested in them.

For example, if you list the band A Day to Remember as one of your influences, you may turn off people that are into heavier music. However, if you detail that you're influenced by their ability to combine heavy metal and punk rock, you may capture readers that are interested in that angle of influence.

For each of your listed influences, write a short, one-sentence description of how they've contributed to your work

3. List any achievements and awards

While this is one of the less important aspects of your bio, it's still important to list your achievements. Past achievements establish credibility with your readers, but if you don't have any past achievements yet, just skip this part.

With each of your achievements, write why anyone would care about it.

Industry influencers like numbers, so you may also want to include a stats section in your bio including things like online plays, album sales, and social media follower counts.

When listing your accomplishments, keep in mind what might appeal to your niche. A success in blogging won't appeal to an audience of music fans.

4. Takes some notes about the common themes of your work

Is your work happy or sad? Does it feature political stuff? Are breakups common within your music? Make note of these.

5. Gather quotes

Put together a set of strong, positive quotes from any magazines or blogs that have reviewed past releases. If you don't have any press yet, put together some descriptive first person quotes about your work from yourself as an artist. Quotes are a powerful way to introduce an energetic, conversational tone to your bio.

6. Put together your first draft

Your bio won't come to you on your first try, so the purpose of the first draft is to get the format right.

Here's how to format your bio, paragraph by paragraph:

  • First Paragraph - Grab attention with a press release style mention of past or upcoming events such as an album release or tour.

  • Second paragraph - An overview of the general theme of your work with a mention of your accomplishments and credits.

  • Third paragraph - Write about 2-3 of your your most powerful influencers and how they contribute to your work. Exclude this paragraph if you don't wish to include influencer information.

  • Fourth Paragraph - Use your song descriptions to give 3-4 powerful insights that reinforce your theme. Split this into 2 paragraphs if it's too long.

  • Fifth paragraph - Pull the reader in with a summary of your themes and how they apply to your artistic vision.

Lastly, if you're going to be presenting this bio to journalists and have impressive sales or social media follower counts, list those stats at the end.

7. Take a break

Put your draft away and sleep on it, play some video games, or eat something. This way, you can get back to it later with a fresh perspective.

8. Proofread it and seek feedback

After a break, come back and read your first draft. Make sure it's coherent, unique to you, and flows like a story that separates you from others.

When seeking feedback, ask readers to inform you of where they think others may drop off, then rework these sections to convince people to read on.

9. Edit your draft

Make note of any flaws, check for unimportant points, and make appropriate edits until the bio flows like a story that people want to keep reading. Your bio should finish strong with people wanting more.

10. Repeat 8 and 9 as necessary

After you've repeated steps 8 and 9 above at least 3 times, or until you have a concise document that flows like a story, publish your bio to your website and social media accounts.

Consider outsourcing

If writing bios that appeal to journalists and potential fans isn’t your strong suite, or you're worried about having a bias towards your own work, outsourcing your bio may be your best bet.

To find a great bio writer, try contacting some of the artists whose bio’s you’ve read that conform to the dos and don'ts above, and find out who wrote theirs.

Once you find someone to write your bio for you, expect to spend anywhere from $150-$400 for quality work.


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