Writing a good bio

I have been trying to write a solid bio. In all honesty, I have discovered that I cannot write a bio to save my life. While, I may be a writer, I am not good at writing my own story. I have tried countless times. It has become clear that I can provide the facts and that is it. I am unsure what is interesting to people in my story…gee I hope there is something interesting.

I decided it was time to find a writer to help me. When you put your money where your mouth is you really start to see the kind of bios that are right for you. If you are famous, with many notable achievements, the bio appears to be easier. You can string the accomplishments together and provide a few amazing quotes. If you are an up and coming creative type, they amazing quotes and facts may be sparse…you need to tell a story that is full of the artist’s personality and story.

A friend told me a great story the other day. He was in the store trying to buy a bottle of wine. His budget dictated what bottles he could chose from. He had three bottles in front of him. Two of the bottles had beautiful labels that described the wine and their fruit overtones. The third bottle had a label which told the story about the vitner’s dream of having a vineyard, and the how the vitner wanted to give the proceeds to the charity they supported. My friend bought the bottle of wine with the story of the vitner’s dream. It seems that people love to read stories about people’s dreams and the obstacles they have overcome.

With music, it seems we all use words and notes and talented musicians to make and record music. The difference is the individual and the fire in their belly. The story about the music intrigues the fan to listen. Maybe the artist had another career and quit everything to pursue music. Maybe the artist woke in the night with a voice telling them to pursue their dream. Maybe the artist was sick while pursuing some other life pursuit and to heal the artist needed to create. There are countless amazing stories to be told – but it has to relate to the music you are making.

There are a lot of contradictory views of how to write a bio on the Internet. My favourite article on how to write a bio is: http://www.themusicsnob.com/2008/07/25/write-band-artist-biography/. While, this article tells you what not to do, it does not provide a sample of a good indie artist bio. I read a bunch of different sites, and I was left feeling like I didn’t know where to start. I looked at Ariel Hyatt’s suggestion of how to position yourself by describing yourself with artist’s that others know (Music Success in 9 weeks) http://www.musicsuccessinnineweeks.com/.  Dan Kimpel doesn’t seem to be a fan of this. To Ariel’s credit, it does help people classify your music so they have a reference point. Another good link is: http://www.indie-music.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=4506.

If you are totally confused after reading these links, you will know where I am. The funny thing is, I feel like I know what works for me. I am not the music press, however. It is time to get some more help. Please let me know what you think!!

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One Response to “Writing a good bio”

  1. julia says:

    You present some good questions here, and I think you’ve illustrated the struggle of writing your own bio pretty well. I think hopefully more artists are discovering the importance of their bio as a sales tool and the crux of their press kit, and thus thinking more creatively about the way they craft it. I think the place to start when sitting down to write your bio is with a really solid mission statement — what you would say to someone if you had 20 seconds to describe your purpose as an artist and your music. (And Ariel’s book also refers to this — it’s that “elevator pitch.”) That acts like a “thesis” and can really help you decide which parts of your story are important to include (and which — like your first live performance in a third-grade talent show) you can leave out. And as with the wine example you cite, it’s that compelling story that is crucial to setting you apart from all the other artists out there and getting more people to embrace you and your music. I put together a few thoughts on this topic myself in this article: http://musiciancoaching.com/music-publicity/5-tips-writing-your-band-bio/

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