I’ve been around enough bands to know that writing the bio is a difficult thing for musicians. That’s not to say that they don’t have the capability to write a good bio. It’s just that it can be a tricky thing to approach for a couple reasons. First, it requires a little bragging. For some reason a lot of musicians aren’t comfortable with that. If I can give one piece of advice to those musicians, it is this: get over it. If you aren’t going to brag about your band – and believe it wholeheartedly – then who will?
The other reason the bio can be tricky is that it’s hard to summarize your music in a couple paragraphs – especially when you consider that your audience is total strangers. You face the challenge of what to include and what to exclude, and that’s not easy. However, it is necessary – especially if you want journalists to write about you and your music. As always I’m here to help. I’ve seen more press kits and band bios than I could possibly count, and here are some do’s and don’ts for you.
- • Include the phrase “cut its teeth” – as in “Harry Tongue and The Palmlickers is a band from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, that cut its teeth….” Yes, I understand the meaning of this term, but you can’t even imagine how many band bios this phrase appears in. If you want to stand out from other bands, don’t use the same phrase that so many other bands use.
- • List all the noteworthy places you’ve played – at least when you’re reaching out to writers. I imagine this is pretty useful information when you’re trying to get booked at venues, but it doesn’t mean much to writers. And yes, I am implying that you have two different bios: one for venues and one for media. That’s not an unusual thing. People looking for work often have a different resume depending on where they are submitting. Let’s just take a band from New England for example. If a band reached out to me and told me about the places in New England where they have played, what do you think that means to me, a writer in southern California?
- • Go without one. Maybe you absolutely do not want to write a band bio. I can only tell you that’s a bad idea. Countless outlets are available to cover your music, and writers are always looking for content. If you choose not to have a bio, you’re basically saying you don’t want coverage from any of them. Oh, and I happen to know a very good writer if you want to hire some help writing your bio.
- • Include something unique about your band. Maybe your band had van troubles and got stranded in some outpost on a Tuesday night. There has to be an interesting story in that. Maybe your guitarist was friends with someone famous in grade school. Maybe your guitarist and drummer have known each other since they were six years old. Whatever the case may be, include that in your bio. A good writer will pick up on those items and ask you about them in an interview. (Yes, writers will interview you if you seek them.)
- • Keep it brief. This is the true challenge of writing the bio. How do you make it as interesting as possible while still keeping it short? Again, I know a writer who is available for hire to help with just this sort of thing.
- • Brag about your music. Look, it won’t do you any good to call your band the next version of The Beatles. That’s braggadocio, which is different than bragging. Think of it this way. With as much time as you’ve put into learning to play an instrument and rehearsing and writing song, you’ve earned the right to brag a little bit about your music. As with so many things in life, confidence is key. Trust me. Any writer worth his or her salt knows the difference between bragging and braggadocio.
The bio can be a tricky thing, but like anything else, if you put in the effort, you (or the writer you get to help you) come up with something good.
Written by: Gary Schwind
OCML Digital Network Writer