If you want to make it as an independent artist in the music business, it's important to diversify. One avenue many may not consider is to go into publishing. Not music publishing, but actual publishing of artist bios. Being able to thread the PR needle and craft a well-written bio can do wonders for your career.
Guest post by Kaytee Long of DIY Musician
Effective music PR begins with a good artist bio.
As an independent artist, it’s your job to wear a plethora of hats if you want to make it in the music business. You’re basically an entrepreneur—congrats on the new job title!
One of those entrepreneurial hats is being a publicist.
When acting as your own publicist, there are two main pillars of PR we want you to focus on:
- Telling your artist story (let’s start with your bio)
- Developing relationships with the media
Telling your artist story comes down to creating a standout biography. You want your bio to be compelling and succinct, leaving your reader wanting more. People have short attention spans. So, how can you make yourself unforgettable?
A strong bio can lead to a placement in your favorite music blog, support the biggest booking of your career, or even convert a passive Spotify listener to one of your 1,000 True Fans. (Have you optimized your Spotify profile yet?)
Don’t get us wrong; we know it can be challenging (and terrifying) to write about yourself, especially if you’re just starting out. However — full-transparency — you’re in the business of self-promotion. Make it a personal priority to get comfortable with this aspect of your music career.
So, how do you start writing an artist bio?
Everyone has a story, even if it isn’t filled with awards, press quotes and Spotify playlist placements (yet!). Think about what got you to this point. Start with your WHY. Why are you passionate about music? Where did the passion come from? Who has inspired you to become an artist? What struggles have you overcome to make your career possible? Has something in your past motivated you? Who do you look up to? Your bio is your opportunity to create a rapport with your fans (and the media). Find a way to create an emotional connection with them.
If you’re still having a hard time or need some extra help, you could also ask your closest friends, family and industry contacts to write 1-2 sentences about you and your strengths. This will spark creative juices within you, invoke confidence and/or you can even reword those testimonials and use for your bio.
It’s important to have three versions of your bio, because every platform and audience is different.
- Long-form bio (500 – 750 words) — Use this for your Wikipedia, EPK, Web site.
- Short-form bio (250-350 words) — This is for your SoundCloud, Spotify, Facebook and most online platforms.
- Instagram/Twitter (1-2 sentences) — One to two quick, punchy sentences that will inspire curiosity within your potential fans.
In our soundbite generation, short-form bios and quick blurbs tend to be used the most.
Now, what type of content will keep your readers engaged, enticing them to search for you on Spotify, find you on Instagram or write a blog post about you?
Best Practices for Writing a Stand-out Bio:
- Make sure it’s engaging and concise (and not too long!)
- Your bio is always written in third person
- If you’re in a band, include the band name, names of each member and their role
- Write a short description of your music that includes 2-3 genres (if you can’t settle on one) and 2-3 influences (well-known and relevant in music today)
- Include related history and background information. Only include what’s necessary here! It must pertain to your career as an artist
- Mention other industry people on your team (producers, engineers, etc.)
- Where have you played? Include prominent festivals and venues
- Make a list of your accolades and achievements in your career. Include the ones that help build your cred! Examples could be:
- Have you received or been nominated for any awards?
- Have you opened for a big artist?
- Do you have any third party quotes, press mentions and/or large Spotify playlist placements?
- Radio play?
- Brand endorsements?
- Include a short background of past releases
- Link back to your Web site. It’s also good practice to include one or two links to your social accounts
- Always mention what’s happening with your music right now. Are you about to release a new single? Maybe you just released a music video?
And finally, always, always, always have someone (or someones) proofread your bio! You always want to make sure you’re presenting yourself in a professional manner, especially if you’re reaching out to the media. Fact check, spell check and make sure your bio flows nicely when read aloud.
Here are a few examples to get you started!
Nashville-based pop artist Adara is best known for her collaborations with international DJs, energetic live shows and futuristic-inspired wardrobe. With lush soundscapes and big choruses, her music draws influence from artists like Lady Gaga, Sia, Ellie Goulding and Coldplay. She has collaborated with many well-known DJs, landing her deals with labels such as Enhanced Music, Seeking Blue, Universal Music Group and Sony Music.
Adara’s work with major DJ duo Adventure Club found her performing on the main stage of Imagine Festival in front of thousands. Soon after, her song titled “Moments” with DJ MitiS hit over five million plays on YouTube and propelled her to open for huge acts such as Seven Lions, Illenium, and Prince Royce. She currently has over 18 million views on YouTube.
Her most recent collaboration, “Back Home” (remix by Omar Sherif and Fady & Mina) was voted 2018’s #2 Wonder of the Year, won best remix on the 2018 TrancePodium Awards and received international support from fans and musicians alike, such as massive trance duo Aly & Fila. Her songs have also garnered her support from Armin Van Buuren, The Chainsmokers, Paul Oakenfold, Said the Sky and others.
In a world of over-sexualized leading ladies and a drug-infected pop culture, Adara is a role model for youth, preaching individuality and self-love. She is releasing the music video for her anti-bullying anthem “Alien” on Oct. 2. Her music video is a tribute to her fans and their personal stories of overcoming alienation and bullying. “Alien” is available now on all streaming services. www.instagram.com/adaramusic (@adaramusic)
An Atlanta-based singer/songwriter, Victoria Blade’s classically trained pipes transfer seamlessly into her heartfelt, indie folk style. Think Feist meets the playful charm of The Moldy Peaches. Touted as “a modern folk masterpiece,” Victoria’s dynamic voice carries the clear tone and jazzy soul of a bygone era, while her hopeful lyrics and Americana-infused melodies reflect on the unpredictable life of the modern artist. Her debut solo album Lo-Fi Love Songs released via Already Dead Tapes & Records in May 2019. Keep up with Victoria on Instagram and learn more here: www.victoriablade.com.
Matt Baggiani and Noah Becker are icons 2 Ashes, i2A for short. The pop duo met at a Calvin Klein Charity golf tournament in Spain. They produce music using a variety of sound sources from drum machines and plug-ins to guitars, and modular synthesizers receiving input signal from biofeedback microphones. Matt has a Skipper Kee named Vincent. Noah has an American Staffordshire Terrier named Alfred.
Outside the studio, the two love to spend time in the Palm Desert preparing for their 2025 Red Planet Fridays residency on Mars, where they plan to perform tracks while doing live interpretive dance on their Onewheels.
Onewheels and desert golf, vegan food and puppy dogs, and long, torturous days in the studio make up the better part of the last couple of years for these two Los Angeles-based composer/producers.
The duo will be releasing their second single “Lights Awn” in October 2019, followed by a new song released every 6-8 weeks through the end of 2020. Catch up with icons 2 Ashes on Facebook and Instagram.
A fusion of classical and contemporary music on both traditional and electric strings. With the 2016 release of their fourth album DSQ they continue to expand their passionate following on Pandora, Spotify, and Sirius XM radio. DSQ performs intimately as a quartet or with a full accompaniment of drums, guitar and piano. www.dallasstringquartet.com
Axel is in fact the Swedish word for shoulder, but born and bred Stockholmer Mr. Boman could just as easily have been named Rumpa, the Swedish word for ass, since most of his life has been dedicated to moving just that body part. It was around 1992 that Axel’s ass started dragging the confused youngster into all sorts of weird situations – dodgy warehouses, blooming fields, sweaty basements – just about any place that had a nice sound system and someone pumping a fat bassline through it. With his older brother already being a collector of the latest techno and house records, Axel started keeping a strict diet of fresh beats which has kept him alive and kicking ever since.
Building a reputation for himself in the small but very friendly Stockholm club scene, he was soon acknowledged as one of Sweden’s most skillful and best looking DJ dudes. Naturally, production activity followed shortly. Working out of small studios in his hometown as well as in Gothenburg (where Axel took his master’s degree in fine art), tracks like the underground hit “Arcimboldo” on Ourvision Recordings soon landed in the crates of connoisseurs like DJ Koze, Magda and Seth Troxler. His sound is raw, playful and drenched in oceans of soul – just the kind of stuff the dance floor’s of today are longing for.
2010 was the big breakthrough year for Axel and his ass, with the epic screw house anthem “Purple Drank” being released on DJ Koze’s new Pampa Records imprint, going off to London to participate in the Red Bull Music Academy and starting up his own label Studio Barnhus together with Petter (Border Community) and local idiot Kornél Kovacs. 2011 will see Axel releasing a lot of new material and remixes on labels like Permanent Vacation, Moodmusic, Glass Table, Hypercolour, Tartelet and of course Studio Barnhus.
Interested in getting featured by your favorite music blog? Sign up for DIY Music PR’s next free webinar: https://www.diyprgroup.com.
Follow DIY Music PR on Instagram at @diymusicpr.
What opportunities has your stand-out bio created for you? Comment below!