By Angela Mastrogiacomo for Sonic bids
There are plenty of tips out there on what to include in your band’s bio, but not so many telling you what to avoid. Just as important as including the right information is excluding the wrong info. As a publicist and music blogger, I see a lot of terrible bios, and trust me, a bad bio can halt a great band’s career in its tracks.
This is your chance to tell your story, and your story is what hooks people. Boring bio equals boring band. This isn’t just your chance to hook fans, it’s your business card to industry pros, and it must be polished, professional, and clean. Get on the right track by avoiding including these five things to ensure your bio is the best representation of your band.
1. Past members
You wouldn’t believe how many band bios I read that give me a thorough, detailed glance at the band’s history, including members who are no longer with the band. If Billy left the band in 2015, then I don’t need to know how you met him on Craigslist and he played with you for a year before moving on. While it’s important to give mention to who’s in the band now, there’s simply no reason to mention past members, unless that past member is someone really famous.
2. Your origin story
Similar to the above, I don’t really need to know that you met at a dodgy bar, were introduced by a friend, or any other story of how you all met unless it’s really compelling and adds something to the overall story. The way most bands form, however, is not that interesting.
This also applies to band members. If one of you played in a well-known band, feel free to mention that they’re ex-members of whatever band, but otherwise, you don’t need to list off the 20 other local bands they were in before they got to yours. Your band bio shouldn’t be a mini-bio of what everyone in it has ever done.
3. Too many accolades
Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to include significant names you’ve shared the stage with, recorded with, or awards you’ve been given. But if your bio is just a rambling mess of achievements without the balance of a good hook or story, all the achievements in the world won’t save you.
Stick to the highlights and the “wow” moments of your career, and by all means, include them. You’ve earned the bragging rights on those. Just make sure that surrounded by all those accolades is a real, grounded background that pulls me in and makes me care about you and your music.
4. First-person writing
Even if you’re a solo artist, a bio should never be written in the first person. First-person bios are just unsettling and weird to read. Thus, they should always be written in the third person.
Writing it this way also gives you the advantage of showing off a little more and getting comfortable bragging about your story. It can be weird to talk about yourself, and by writing in the third person, you can take an objective, if slightly favorable, look at your career and write it out accordingly.
Fluff can be classified as any of the following:
- each band member’s life story
- talking about how you’re totally unique (instead of just showing it through your story and description of your music)
- listing 18 different influences that may or may not actually have anything to do with your sound
- anything else that just feels “eh” in your bio
If you’re not sure if it’s fluff, ask yourself this question: “Is this actually adding value or am I just filling space?” If it’s not adding value, chuck it. Your bio should be full of personality, not bogged down by useless facts. It’s a place to let your brand shine, and to highlight the best of your career. Don’t fall into the trap of adding fluff just to fill up the page. It will always backfire.