What is an artist bio and how can it help your music career? Sara Wass outlines six tips on how to write an effective artist biography.
What is an Artist Bio?
An artist bio is an opportunity to appear more relatable to your audience in a truthful way. They also give yourself a solid pat on the back for what you’ve achieved in your music career. Moreover, having a bio present across your artist pages makes it infinitely easier for industry professionals looking for background information on you to find it. These pages include your website, paid streaming platforms, and social media. Additionally, having relevant info in your artist bio may even make you more appealing to labels in search of that je ne sais quoi — it could make or break you.
Writing an artist bio: dreaded by those who despise talking about themselves, yet more-than-welcomed by those who are keen on exaggerating their achievements. Ideally, you fall somewhere in between these two extremes.
Now that you aren’t feeling any pressure at all, here are six tips to keep in mind when writing an artist bio.
1. Quality Over Quantity
An artist bio is a great place to showcase your music-related capabilities and accomplishments as a music producer. However, naming all your skills, contacts, and previous projects can be a turnoff to many essential readers (and potential fans). Especially for those who have been in the music game for a while, these can genuinely add up. Sticking to the facts and most recent highlights of your career trajectory is vital. No one wants to read a bio with a list of twenty DJs you’ve performed with at the same club.
Keep in mind that your music mostly speaks for itself as well as relevant images of your most recent projects that might appear on your EPK or social media (flyers, album covers, etc.). So, keep your artist bio and the name-dropping short and sweet when you’re just getting started. Those who matter will figure out the rest.
2. Don’t Bind Yourself into a Genre
Maybe today you love moombahton. You love moombahton so much that you want to become the biggest moombahton music producer of all time. You write this in your artist bio and plan milestones for yourself along the way outlining how exactly you’ll become the biggest moombahton producer of all time. It’s science. You write dozens of 108-BPM tracks for months, touting your goals and progress along the way to friends and peers.
However, six months later you wake up from a nightmare, and suddenly you’ve decided you can’t listen to a single moombahton song ever again. Unfortunately, you’ve bound yourself into this niche genre by starting your career with a certain mindset. Now you have to deal with not only re-branding your persona as an artist who may not play moombahton. You also have to let go of the original goal you planned on sticking with as part of your brand.
Of course, this is an extreme scenario. It’s not a death sentence to let your audience know what genres or sound-styles you lean towards — but why put yourself in a box early on in the game when you could leave things more open-ended? Instead, allow yourself the freedom to explore sounds teetering on the boundaries of various musical flavors. For example, choose obscure terms that sound hip and rare to describe your musical inclinations. Also, opt to write about who and where you draw inspiration from in your musical stylings, what collective(s) you associate with, and any comparable artists.
These references will lend to your audience’s interpretation of your genre, rather than defining one for them ahead of time. This approach also avoids setting potentially false expectations for the near and far-away futures. What defines a category of music can change at any time, so let the audience decide for you. Also, if your music is unique enough, maybe you’ll create a namesake genre.
3. Avoid Sensationalism
Unless you have a direct quote from another person or publication, avoid using words and phrases that may overhype your skills and popularity. Avoid biased, opinionated phrases, and stick to straight-up certainties and direct quotes alone. This approach makes your bio appear much stronger and honest. This tip also applies to the realm of journalism in general. Your audience will recognize the stench of tabloid-esque sensationalism when they smell it. It’s better to avoid causing skepticism in your audience wherever possible and stick to the cold-hard facts.
4. Tell Your Story
Just like when applying for a job, your cover letter states what your resume can’t. This also relates to your artist bio and music repertoire as well. In other words, let your music speak for itself, and use the bio to tell your personal story. Also, use the biography as an opportunity to discuss how you were brought up, how you got into the music scene, where you learned to create, and what you’ve accomplished since. It can’t hurt to include where you’re from and where you learned to make music, along with your interests and inspirations. People are reading your bio because they want to learn about you — so let them.
5. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
Writing out the basics in your bio is also important when telling your story. However, all these facts listed in a long paragraph can come off as overly stoic, or robotic. Sprinkling your personal, factual story with comical or quirky trinkets can go a long way toward humanizing your artist persona. You can approach this however you want. For example, being self-deprecating, quoting your haters on social media, letting us know what your parents think of your music, including a fun fact that has nothing to do with your musical career or an embarrassing anecdote from your childhood. The list is endless, depending on your personality. As long as your true character shines through somewhere in your bio, you become relatable, and therefore human.
6. Get a Second (Or Third) Pair of Eyes
Ask someone, preferably a fellow music industry professional or a writer, to look over your artist bio once it’s complete. They can check for errors you glossed over, and strange phrases you’ve been staring at way too long. A pro writer may also help make your bio more creative than others in a way that stands out from the rest. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.