In the music business marketing class at Full Sail University, Elizabeth Neff, president of Buzz Entertainment Public Relations (PR), assigns students to write a one-page biography (bio) for an artist or executive from their fictitious or new music business. A bio is a basic component of a press kit and a media tool that every music business professional should know how to write so Neff wanted to share this with you.
As with all marketing, it begins with research. You need to conduct background research, typically gathered through an interview, to discover relevant information, including their accomplishments, goals and interests. Some people find using a questionnaire helpful in compiling the biographical details and facts. Sample questions include:
- Who are you?
- How old are you?
- Where were you born?
- Where did you grow up?
- Are you married? Kids?
- Do you have any brothers or sisters?
- Who are your musical influences?
- What/who inspires you?
- What makes you different?
- How did you get started in this profession?
- At what age did you get started in this profession?
- What is your genre?
- What are your accomplishments?
- Do you have any training?
- What are your special skills?
- Do you play any instruments?
- Do you have any awards?
- What are your interests?
- What are you doing now?
- What are your goals?
- What do you hope to accomplish?
- What’s next?
After the research is complete, you need to write a succinct and compelling bio that will be interesting to the target reader and consistent with the brand image. Begin with a title – name and identifier. The first paragraph should be an introduction – impress the reader. The body should provide content that gives insight to his or her personality – make it transitional. End with a strong close that includes where to go for more information.
Be sure to keep in mind the target market of the bio. Avoid clichés. Always proofread and have someone else proofread. It is imperative your bio contains no spelling and/or grammatical errors – no matter how minor – because it is unprofessional. You always want to make a positive first impression and present a strong brand because it’s all about the buzz.
Here’s an example of a bio written by Neff:
POP AND BROADWAY STAR DEBBIE GIBSON
For more than 20 years, Debbie Gibson has proven she’s an entertainer of immeasurable talent. From singer, songwriter and musician to actress and dancer, she embodies what it truly means to be an entertainer.
Gibson exploded on the pop music scene at the tender age of 16. A music prodigy, she quickly became the youngest person ever to write, produce and perform a number one single, (“Foolish Beat”), a record she still holds today in the Guinness Book of World Records. To date, Gibson has sold more than 16 million albums worldwide.
After conquering the pop world, she set her sights on the theater. Gibson took a star turn in the Broadway production of “Les Miserables” as Eponine. She broke box office records in the London West End production of “Grease” as Sandy, and then took the stage in the U.S. Broadway tours of “Grease” and “Funny Girl” playing Rizzo and Fanny Brice. Gibson also wowed critics as Belle in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” Gypsy Rose Lee in “Gypsy,” The Narrator in the national tour of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” Cinderella in the national production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” with Eartha Kitt, Velma Kelly in “Chicago,” and Sally Bowles in the Broadway revival of “Cabaret.”
Continuing to dazzle with entertainment magic, Gibson bridged the gap between Pop Music and Broadway with her one-woman show “Pop Goes Broadway.” Critics agreed it was “the best show Atlantic City has seen in quite some time…it’s totally entertaining,” during her three-week engagement in May 2008 at The Concert Venue at Harrah’s. Phil Roura of the New York Daily News said, “she has mastered her craft to the point where she just doesn’t perform a song – she embraces it and delivers it with her own special stamp of approval.”
To fill her passion of mentoring and fostering young performers and songwriters, she created “Deborah Gibson’s Electric Youth,” a series of performing arts camps and music boot camps. In addition, she formed the “Gibson Girl Foundation” that awards scholarships to those who desire to attend an entertainment camp, but are unable to afford tuition.
In 2010, Gibson guest starred in “Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy” at MGM/Foxwoods. Gibson also made her debut in the world of orchestration. She collaborated on both the score and the powerful closing credits song, “Rise,” for Dr. Rutledge’s documentary, “3 Billion and Counting,” about Malaria prevention in third world countries.
As the new spokesperson for Children International, she recently spent time in impoverished villages in Manila. Gibson is also the new Resurgence spokeswoman for Murad, Inc., joining Joan Lunden, former host of ABC’s Good Morning America and Josie Bissett, Melrose Place alum.
The “Original Pop Princess” has a new album from Sony Japan. “Ms. Vocalist” is top 10 on the Billboard Tokyo charts and the first single, “I Love You,” hit No. 1. She is the composer and co-lyricist on a new musical in pre-production for Broadway: “The Flunky”, written by Jimmy Van Patten. Gibson starred with Tiffany in the SyFy hit “Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid”and is recording a new U.S. album.
From number one hits and platinum albums to starring roles on Broadway, film and TV, Gibson is a true entertainer with talent and charisma. For more information, visit www.debbiegibsonofficial.com.