Concepts For Creating a Compelling Musician's Bio

Every professional or aspiring professional musician needs a bio. Your personal bio is your way of introducing yourself to both fans and music industry types in a way that puts your best foot forward.  Here are some very important concepts to keep in mind as you craft your own bio.

Know Your Audience

Before you begin your bio make sure you have a clear idea of who your audience is your writing to. What details will the people who are interested in your music and your business want to know about you? This should frame how you go about writing your personal bio statement. Always keep this in mind as you write. As an example: If I were a singer/songwriter I'd focus more on my albums released and the venues I've performed. In my case I have always tried to market myself as the consummate keyboard sideman. Someone who can add keyboard magic and upgrade a band’s sound. I’ve also wanted to show that I’m an educator too. So, I really made it a point for these things to come out in my bio and my presentation. Although, I do have personal fans, my target audience is more other professional musicians and people trying to learn music.

Fundmantels of Creating a Bio

Here’s a basic outline of how a bio can be setup.
Your first paragraph should state exactly what you do and who you are. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself a bit but make it clear.
Your next paragraphs can talk about some of the people you’ve played with and places you’ve played.
Sell yourself by attaching yourself to brand names. Also, what are some common music venues that people have heard of? List those in your bio if you’ve played there. Even put churches on there if you’d like.

Limited Peformance Experience?

So, here’s a common question that often come up. What should I do if I don’t have much of a resume or a lot of professional experience? Education experience can substitute in the beginning. List some of the people you’ve studied with. For example, I wrote in a early version of my resume, “While at Berklee, Steve studied with world renowned Hammond B-3 virtuoso Bruce Katz.”
If you’re self taught and haven’t really done the education thing you’ll still use a similar concept. List some of the local groups or music events you’ve been involved with. I think the most important concept is to show you’ve had some experience and you’re involved musically. Demonstrating that you have musical relationships is really the key.

Keeping Your Bio Fresh and Current

Last concept I want to discuss is updating your bio. As you progress along you want to slowly replace your education and local/ semi-professional groups in your resume with the bigger names. This will allow you to keep your bio shorter and more focused. It will also be more impressive. There are at least a thousand musicians I’ve played with over the course of my career. I've also played dive bars for 25 people and festivals for 25,000 people. Obviously, I can't list all the people I've played with and all the venues I've performed at. So, I try to focus on the cream of the crop.

Finally, keep your bio about a page long. If you have a really powerful resume then you can stretch it a bit farther but a page is a good benchmark.

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