Musician, author, educator, and music industry consultant Bobby Borg gives advice about what to include in your band bio and how to make it work for your website, press materials, and Instagram.
Adapted from the video, “How to Write a Bio for My Band: Website and Instagram.”
I’m going to walk you through how to write an informational bio for your band or solo artist career, which is something anyone can do, even if you don’t write good… I mean well.
An informational band bio is a simple, straightforward narrative that introduces you and your music act without all that complex Hemingway-style writing a publicist might do for you for several hundred dollars only to make you sound too sensationalized and over-the-top for a band that’s just starting out. An informational bio is about three paragraphs long and is perfect for your personal website or electronic press kit.
Here are nine tips for writing an informational bio for your band or solo artist career.
1. Date formed
If you’re a band, state the date that you formed. If you’re a solo artist, state the date that you started writing music for your debut single or EP. The date tells people about your experience and sets their expectations about what they should and shouldn’t expect.
If you’re four months in, it won’t be strange that you don’t have a lot going on. If you’re a band that started five years ago, and you still don’t have a lot going on, then you might want to leave the date off.
The territory in which you currently reside gives fans and industry an idea about where you’re based — because, hey, they might want to come out and see you perform. If you’re from New York, say New York. If you’re from Los Angeles, say Los Angeles. If you were from New York and moved to Los Angeles, say that. There might be a couple of New York industry people in Los Angeles who’ll want to take care of some of their old New Yorker peeps.
3. Band/artist name
List the name of your band or music act. Simple enough. But if your name is difficult to pronounce, put the phonetic spelling immediately after in parentheses. For example, if you’re a Swedish techno band with the name SHXCXCHCXSH, yikes, how do you say that? Put the phonetic spelling in parentheses to help people pronounce it and recognize it when they hear it.
Describe the sound and style of your music as simply as you possibly can. If you’re rap, say rap. If you’re pop, say pop. If you’re uncertain, then think about the types of radio formats or playlists you are on or would like to get on.
You might also describe your music by listing “like” bands (bands you sound the most like). Whatever you do, just don’t go on with lengthy descriptions about your sound. You don’t want to bore people, and they can just hit “play” and find out for themselves.
If you’re a solo artist, you don’t have to worry about this — unless you want to list the players who played on your release, especially if they’re well-known — but if you’re a band, list all of your members and the instruments they play. Again, just keep it simple. For example, you might put “Bobby B on drums, Peter B on vocals, and Chris P on turntable.” That’s all you need.
Next up is your story, which is extremely important, so be sure to pay extra attention to this. A story or narrative gives your career more meaning in the minds of your fans and industry professionals.
Take Jewel, for example. If you don’t know her story, she might be just another artist. But if you know her story and the fact that she lived in her van while playing small cafés, eating oranges off the trees in southern California just to survive, now her journey and her name have more meaning.
So what is your true authentic story? If you don’t have one that is particularly interesting, then maybe you can fabricate something funny, like you’re actually from Mars and you came down to perform for us humans. I don’t know, just have a story.
Now it’s time to list all your accomplishments to give people an idea of how far you’ve come. You can list your Spotify streams, Instagram fans, or the number of people that come out to your shows when you play live. Just be truthful. If you’re a band that plays on Sunset Strip on a Tuesday night at the Viper Room and then some huge band plays on Sunday night, you didn’t open for them, okay?
What if you don’t really have any accomplishments yet? Skip to #8.
8. What you’re currently doing (and where you’re going)
Talk about the EP you’re working on or the tour you’re planning in the midwest. This info is perfect for people who don’t have a long track record, and for those who do, it shows that you’re taking the bull by the horns and aren’t waiting around for anyone. This is exactly what industry people want to see. Remember: DIY or die.
9. Contact info
Of course, you want to include your contact information, which could simply be your email address. Even better, if you have a personal manager, include his/her email address and number. Just be careful, don’t use your personal contact information, like your address or your phone number, because there could be some seriously creepy people out there.
Want more music career advice? Don’t just read it… watch the videos on Bobby Borg’s YouTube channel.
Bobby Borg is the author of Music Marketing For The DIY Musician (Second Edition), Business Basics For Musicians (Second Edition), and The Five Star Music Makeover (published by Hal Leonard Books). Get these books at any fine online store in both physical or digital format. Learn more at www.bobbyborg.com.