Writing Artist Bios – Short, Medium and Long-form Artist Bios
Writing Artist Bios is tough. Talking about yourself is tough enough. It’s hard to step outside one’s head long enough to paint a portrait of themselves from an objective viewpoint. Then, as if it weren’t already a difficult task, different platforms have different character limits, or requirements to completing a profile on their system. Some character limits may be as few as 150 characters, up and through 5 pages. How can I explain the whole of my efforts to this point in as few as 150 characters?!?! Conversely, you may ask yourself, “How can I write 5 pages on this ?!?!?!” Let’s discuss!
There Is No ‘Right’ Answer Here
But, if there was one, it would say be honest as possible and plan a bit in advance. Honesty and planning will save you in the end. I firmly believe this but what of next steps? Where things get a little subjective? Well, again, I cannot tell you what to do. Only recommend. But, here’s my opinion –
It’s easy to get stuck in the mud in regards to writing artist bios, so allow yourself AT MOST two revisions after your draft. Reason is, you’re already shooting from the hip. In my personal experience 99% of the time that gut instinct will be correct. Only when I begin to think too much do I second guess myself and end up down a rabbit hole. Moral of the story – Don’t get lost in the weeds, or you will be so frustrated you’ll never finish this very important task of building up a great back story.
Writing Artist Bios – Should You Even Be Bothering?
Remember, writing artist bios does NOT apply before you have a top-notch product to be offering. Otherwise, this is all pointless. Without quality music, this article is a waste of time. Instead, take a look here to see why quality needs to be more a focus for you right now.
Let’s Get Into
How you can create a thorough/professional artist bio that represents you within these rigid, and sometimes not so rigid, word counts but still drive home the point of who you are.
Below is just a short list of how to differentiate the short, medium and long-form artist bios upon first creation. This way you can stick the landing every time going forward. Learn these, as stated above, to the point where you can recite them in your sleep, I kid you not.
When Did You Begin Making Music?
Having an answer to this when asked without even batting an eye is crucial! It will help with what is called your elevator pitch and overall background story.
To side-step just a moment – I placed the term ‘elevator pitch’ in bold above. It’s because it’s a great concept to keep in mind as you write. I’m not sure the exact origins of the principle, but it asks you to imagine yourself in an elevator with a top Executive for a large Firm of great importance in your area of Expertise. You have this tiny, tiny window to explain to this major player how you can double his earnings (just an example) in the time it takes to ride an elevator. Tell them everything they need to know about you, or would even care to bother knowing, in order to bother putting any time or money into your wild venture – AND GO!
Back To The Bios!
Fortunately enough, my story has a ‘dream-like,’ or ‘cinematic’ quality to it from the outset. Being that my Mother found my first drum kit, my first instrument, in the garbage (I kid you not) I have an immediate hook. Writing artist bios in my case is near handed to me but still a good, helpful example to others. It’s a way to pique your interest and keep your attention. Now that I have this attention from you I’ve bought a little time. I can bet you’ll keep reading for a bit after that initial hook does in fact grab you.
After getting over that initial hump and gaining your recipient’s attention, you’ll find your story flows forth like water. It ends up writing itself after breaking the ice. Might I add, it also occurs (personally, at least) with minimal effort because only you know the content. Your ‘scenario’ just needs to be posed dramatically enough and *poof* – There we have it! A full blown story!
What If My First Kit
Wasn’t found in the garbage? Maybe I started off with the same Ludwig I use now. The ‘origin’ aspect of writing my artist bios will now need some fine tuning. Since my musicianship in this new scenario may not have been borne of strife, you’ll just want to give it a bit of deeper thought. You’ll want to consider what served as your ‘starter’s pistol’ for knowing that this was what you wanted to spend your time on this Planet doing.
You may have had your ‘A-ha’ moment much later in life. The topic that drives your ability to be writing artist bios. Personally, mine came early. It came from growing up poor. That being the case, I had what I was given and that was that. I had the choices to fill childhood boredom by staring at a wall, or practicing drums because that’s what was available. My ‘A-ha’ moment was the first lesson my mother got me because I was hooked. Not only due to my own interest, but because she’d have had a fit if I ever tried to back out. I sought to make her proud, as well as myself. What’s your a-ha moment and when did it occur?
I’m Not At All Speaking Ill Of Later In Life Musician’s Either
Please don’t misconstrue. It’s just your story will be much different from mine and require you to review it with a fine tooth comb because no two stories are identical. Heck, no two stories are usually all that similar.
A dear friend of mine was a later in life musician who, in 18 months of playing synths, managed to release 7 full length albums. The fact that boredom led him into a Guitar Center one day, only to leave with a machine he used going forward, is in and of itself his bio. It’s truthful, factual and a little off the beaten path. Same time, it’s an ‘every man’s’ type of story. Anyone could have done what Casey did that day. It’s just that he did. This way he made somewhat of an ordinary scenario into his unique journey.
Of ‘everyman’s tale’, along with a tad ‘out of the ordinary’ mixed in is, personally, what intrigues me to a point where I want to make sure to read the rest of this musician’s bio. You can do just the same and garner the same interest. It is a matter of sitting down for a long, long time and giving this serious consideration. What can I paint a picture of? When have I experienced something incredible related to music that helped shape me as a person? Who can I attribute my passion and as of yet un-achieved dreams to? Who pushed me and why?
Once you get into the groove here, guess what you’ll notice in no time? – –
Mission accomplished! You drummed up that ‘mystique’ about yourself, convinced me I cared in what you had to say and roped me in until you had said everything you wanted to. Kudos!!!!
When Writing Your Short Artist Bio
This should explain you, where you’re from, where you came from to end up where you are now as a musician.
Boom, done. You’ll be at a solid word count before you know it.
The idea here is to create something very approachable.
It should be an easy read with simple language.
As you formulate it be sure to think of it as trimmed down of an explanation of you as you can possibly make.
Consider maybe 150-250 words or so maximum to drive the point home.
This seems to be the easiest one based on word count. I assure you it is possibly the hardest of the three types of bios you’ll jot down, since it’s focus is concision. If you remember one word in regards to the short bio and forget everything else I said remember just this one word which is of paramount importance; Concision!!!!!
When Writing Your Medium Artist Bio
You will find this to be the most frequently used bio. It doesn’t spill ALL the beans but should contain a good 80% of who you are, where you’ve been and where you wish to go.
Think of it merely as an elongation on the short bio. The few things mentioned above as far points to hit – You, where you’re from, where you came from to end up where you are now as a musician – These points are still mission critical and absolutely require addressing. But what else?
We’re Going To Enhance Our Verbiage A Little Bit
And let our super smart brains begin working those vocabulary-dealies we haven’t needed as adults in quite some time. We want these points to be so rock solid we would not dream of changing a single word ever, ever again.
Your goal is to sell yourself on yourself, since we are all too often our own harshest critics. Would I want to sign me if I were a Record Label? Did I deliver my points home in an eloquent enough fashion that fancy pants ‘label me’ on the other side reading will drop what he’s doing and call me immediately? If you answered no to either, keep on spit shining those points before adding any new information to the medium bio.
When Writing Your Long-form Artist Bio
Your long-form artist bio is not requested of you terribly often when making your ‘submission rounds’. It’s always better to avoid being caught with your pants down, but replying with your long-form artist bio so fast it makes that recipient’s head spin (upon request) is all the better. Folks wanting that much information typically mean business, so be ready for them!
It’s just advantageous to lay out your own full story directly in front of your face to ensure you missed no details. You’ll quickly notice that if you choose to write the long bio first, the medium and short bios will easily follow suit because you’re borrowing language from that long one all the way down to the short one. It’s not a matter of length but messaging. If your long bio’s short but covers the spread of information sought from you, perfect. Don’t change anything so long as it is an accurate and satisfactory account of YOU!!!!
You’ll find you use it sparsely and on an as-needed basis but the long-form artist bio is something just as important. This particular rendition will most likely reside in your ‘artist bio’ page on your personal website. Also, any platform willing to accept that many characters should get the full treatment as to who you are. By asking for greater detail, this is indicative of the Bloggers/Playlisters interest in both your material and you as an artist. You can damn near deem this a done deal at this point. They would not be reaching out if they didn’t appreciate your entries of short and medium bios.