What is an artist bio?
An artist bio is the first piece of information about an artist that the fanbase will come across. Artist bios are used to communicate an artists story to their fans, general info about their music, as well as their personality.
Aside from the music, your artist bio is one of the first things people will pick up on when they discover your social media pages or website.
Artist biographies are a great way to attract page visitors and convert them into real fans. It’s crucial to hit the nail on the head with yours, as it’s also a means of providing bloggers and the press with juicy content!
What an artist biography ISN’T…
A common issue people encounter is not knowing the difference between an artist biography and an artist statement. The difference between the two is slight but significant enough to take note of!
An artist bio should ALWAYS be written from a third person perspective, whilst an artist statement is written from a first person perspective. The primary focus of an artist statement is to answer questions the audience may have, e.g. regarding what the artist’s personal reasons for making music are, or explaining their creative process.
Take note: THIS IS NOT what an artist bio is!
So, where do I start?
1. Do your research!
Research as many artist biographies as you have to. This will help you build a concrete idea of how long your own bio should be, how to structure it, and so on…
It’s also worth mentioning that the structure, length and content of most artist bios differ depending on what medium they’re being published on. Most often, this will be official websites, social media and streaming platforms.
Find inspiration from the bios of any famous artists that have influenced you. This should give you an accurate idea of how to structure your bio. Your audience will also feel more comfortable reading content they’re familiar with.
2. One size doesn’t always fit all…
The content of an artist biography is going to differ significantly for a classical artist, as opposed to that of a singer songwriter. Many artists forget who their audience is and don’t appropriately cater to their needs. Unfortunately, many have distanced themselves from the huge pockets of interest just waiting to discover their next favourite artist!
We’d encourage you not to rely too much on overused ‘one size fits all’ artist and band bio generators found on the web. You’ll end up with a generic biography that looks like everyone else’s, and possibly undersell yourself as an artist!
So take some time to think about your audience—who is the bio for? Make several versions for several audiences: website visitors, the public on your social media and streaming platforms, for festival submissions and for the press.
A general rule of thumb is that you should have three copies of your artist biography. These range from; short (50 words), medium (80-100 words) and long (100-120 words).
Note: This is just a guide! Be creative, have fun with writing your bios and remember to optimise them accordingly!
Brainstorming and using mind maps is a great way to help you effectively visualise and integrate all of the key points you want to include in your artist bio.
Make sure everyone involved contributes ideas and suggestions that tie in with several key themes. If a few of these ideas lead nowhere, don’t worry!
By the end of this process you’ll have so many ideas you’ll have to cut most of them out. This will leave you with only the best! You may even include ideas you hadn’t considered in the first place.
4. “Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated”?
Avril Lavigne wasn’t wrong! Avoid unnecessary jargon and over-complicating the language you use in your artist biography. This makes for tedious reading and can drive visitors away.
Everyone likes talking about themselves, but no-one likes a show off! Forcing opinion-based phrases such as “the greatest prog-rock band of all time” is only going to make you appear deluded!
Use an active rather than passive voice in your bio to describe your style of music, and any milestones you’ve reached. E.g. “The band won a Brit Award”, as opposed to “The Brit Award was won by the band”.
Especially if you’re an emerging artist, this is a great opportunity to teach your audience a little bit about yourself and your musical journey.
5. “It’s all about you…”
Your artist(s) biography should include all the relevant background info. Everyone loves a good story, and your fans will want all the details!
Always keep your music biography updated with the latest news and accomplishments. Whether it be a new release, collaborations, tour news, or quotes from the press, your fanbase will want to know. Keep them updated and engaged!
Your bio could include nuggets of information along the lines of:
- When did you start making music?
- Who’s involved in the project?
- What genre of music do you create?
- Where are you situated?
- What are you focusing on now?
NOTE: Avoid comparing yourself to other artists, as well as being completely transparent about who your influences are. This could compromise the authenticity of your material, and lead your audience to dismiss your music as unoriginal!
A final point to consider is your unique-selling-point (USP).
What is it that makes you unique? Is it your sense of fashion? Do you fit in to a cultural niche? Or are you trying to spread a message through your music?
After all, no-one knows you better than you!
Whatever it may be, make sure you know and exploit your USP to its full potential…
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