[Editors Note: This article was written by Suzanne Paulinksi, an artist consultant with over 10 years in the music industry and owner of The Rock/Star Advocate.]
All musicians understand that press is crucial for growing their fanbase and getting attention to their music. Not all musicians, however, know how to create the greatest impact with an interview.
An interview is more than simply answering questions. The information potential fans find in an interview can be incredibly insightful, allowing them to connect more deeply with the you than if they simply read a review of your music.
An interview is a way to show people who you are, what you stand for, and what you’re currently promoting. In order to properly execute this interaction and leverage the exposure that comes with it, below are three things every artist should keep in mind when preparing for an interview (whether in print, over the phone, or on video).
1. Remember It’s About More Than Your Music
Let’s say you’ve just finished a song and you’re ready to release it to the world. It’s completely understandable that that would be all you’d want to talk about. However, keep in mind most of the readers/listeners have never heard of you before and therefore have no reason to care about your latest release.
An interview allows them to dig a little deeper – learn the story behind the music, behind the performer. They want to get to know you. Make sure you have a few relevant antidotes handy to share during the interview that will resonate with the outlet’s audience.
Not sure what stories to tell? How about what inspired you to write your latest song, or the thing that keeps you going despite all the hardships in this industry? What about the memory of your first concert, or the moment you knew you’d want to write music for the rest of your life? You could even share who in your family/circle of friends are your biggest supporters and what they mean to you (every reader loves a good “This is Us” moment).
Being relatable is what attracts new fans who will then be interested in downloading or streaming your music once they’ve connected with you.
2. Get to Know the Interviewer
It’s not difficult to spend a few minutes researching the person who will be interviewing you. Find out who else they’ve interviewed, what their interests are, who they follow online that you’re a fan of as well.
This will do two important things for you: (1) it will enable you to speak more freely as you won’t feel you’re opening up to a complete stranger and (2) taking time to respect and acknowledge the person who is sitting down to speak with you illustrates to them you’re a professional and appreciate the work they are putting in to help you spread your message.
3. Work Within the Medium
It’s important to consider ahead of time who you will be reaching with this interview. For instance, if this interview is being broadcast over YouTube, you’ll want to consider what you’re wearing and where you want to make eye contact during the discussion; you’ll want to focus on how you’re physically presenting yourself. Could you be wearing your band’s merch or a t-shirt that supports a cause you care about? Will you be bringing a copy of your album to show on camera?
On the other hand, if the interview is over email and will later be in print, make sure your answers are clear and concise, as readers will not hear your tone of voice and have a much shorter attention span when scrolling through on their phones. If the interview is for a podcast, realize that people won’t be able to see you wearing your latest t-shirt or see your album’s artwork, so you’ll want to make sure you take a moment to verbalize where to find you online and where to purchase your music (for obscure names, spelling out your social handles and/or website help).
No matter what, always lead with a confident attitude and don’t be afraid to practice a few times with a bandmate or friend beforehand.
Exposure via interviews can be a very powerful thing. Don’t miss out on making the most of your next opportunity by taking some time to think through your strategy. Get clear on what you’d like to see come from your next interview and then do everything in your power to ensure that happens.
What message are YOU looking to share with your audience? Tell us in the comments below!