Let’s face it – bio writing for independent artists is a challenge. Especially if you are that artist. It’s a fact – writing about yourself in an unbiased, interesting manner is near impossible. That’s why even the most talented writers often commission another author for their autobiography.
There is no formula or template that can be universally applied. There are also variations in length based on your bio’s purpose that will help give it shape. I personally recommend that you have three different length bios. One 50 words or less. One 100 words or less. And one 400 words or less. These varied formats will be useful when applied in proper settings. Pitching a booking, or a press kit for a new release should contain a short bio. Your EPK or website is a great place for the medium length. Spotify profile, Wiki pages, and others are built for the long bio.
Regardless of length and use, here are some key tips to write a bio that pops.
This is great writing advice in general, but especially for an artist bio. So many bios I see begin with a universally boring sentence, immediately losing a plethora of readers by being so cookie-cutter.
Example: East New York blog Today’s Hip Hop shares articles, interviews and more about independent artists, and all things lyrical hip hop.
Instead, start with a feeling.
Example: An advocate for promising independent artists, Today’s Hip Hop’s roots in lyrical, hip-hop provide a platform for artists of all sizes to share their work by way of album reviews, interviews and more.
Sure, your location, biographical information, and musical background are important. But those facts belong in the body of your bio, not the first line. Capture your readers heart immediately, and you have a firm grip on their attention span.
While this point seems obvious (it is a bio afterall), indie bios tend to lean into experiences or awards that aren’t directly correlated with the artist themselves. Examples of this include the following:
By no means are we suggesting you should omit this information entirely. You just can’t make these credentials the centerpiece of your bio. Remember, your primary audience with a bio is your fans. They care more about your sound, the fan experience, and your creative outlook, and less about your clout. You are writing to them first.
Stop using words like stunning, critically acclaimed, legendary, influential, etc. Point blank, period. Those are words reserved for music critics and your fans, not you. It comes across as disengenions and two-faced. Let your fans come to their own conclusion. Let your music speak for yourself. Speak about yourself in your bio with clarity and simplicity. Let others hype you up.
These are people who get paid good money to write about music. One of my favorite techniques when writing an artist bio is to study the way that a professional journalist writes about similar artists. Their lexicon, style, and organization should provide inspiration for you to craft a bio that rings true.
More general tips for good writing, but specifically vital in a bio. Make all sentences active. A noun (the artist) accomplished ___. Not “A great accomplishment of (artist) was__.
Writing in the third person is simple. Use She/He/They rather than I. It adds authority and perspective to the bio’s tone.
Smino’s Bio, which was recently updated on Spotify, is an example that checks all of our boxes.