[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Hugh McIntyre.]
Some people would say that name dropping is gross and uncouth, and if you do it wrong, that assumption is absolutely correct. If you’re smart, truthful, and when necessary, delicate, using the names of people, places, and brands that are more successful than your own in some manner can be a fantastic way to let others who are interested in you know what you’ve done, how far you’ve made it as a musician, and to elevate yourself quickly.
You need to keep this in mind as you write (and rewrite, as there’s sure to be a lot happening in your life you’ll want to update everyone on) your biography and press releases. This can be one of the best ways to stand out to industry figures and members of the media who may read dozens or even hundreds of these materials nearly every day.
1. Musical Superstars (Or Well-Known Names)
There are plenty of ways you can mention a musician (or several) who are much more popular than you are, and you don’t even need to look that hard for opportunities.
If you have been lucky enough to work with one in any capacity, make sure you mention it. Maybe you’ve written a tune with a popular act, provided background vocals for one of their tracks, or even collaborated with them properly as a featured artist. If any of these are true, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice but not putting it front and center.
Perhaps you have a video of you covering a hit single went viral, or maybe a media outlet compared you to someone who has topped the charts, which isn’t uncommon if you’ve been written about. These are all fair game to include in your bio, and as long as you’re not deceptive about anything, (don’t co-write one album cut for Ariana Grande and say in your press release that you’re responsible for her biggest hits), you’ll have instantly raised your profile.
You can be a bit more vague when it comes to who you have “performed with,” as there are plenty of ways of looking at this, and they’re all true…ish.
If you have toured with or simply opened one show for a superstar, that’s easy to include, and it tells whoever is reading that you’re probably a great performer. Otherwise you wouldn’t have been selected for the job.
Now, if you’ve never actually toured the country with a chart-topping figure or duetted with them on stage in front of a large audience, there may still be ways you can place someone’s name into your bio or press release. If you’ve ever been featured on the lineup of a music festival, there’s a chance that you ended up playing the same stage as someone much more famous than you, though they probably entertained the crowd much later in the day.
As long as you use language like “shared a bill with” or “played the same festival as,” you’re not lying, and you’re not being too deceptive.
Speaking of festivals—the musicians occupying headline spots aren’t the only names you should be highlighting.
If you’ve performed at any music festival, that brand should be in bold as well. Sure, some of them may be smaller and lesser-known, but that doesn’t make them any less interesting, especially to people in the industry. Put those that are world famous up front, and continue down the list until you get to those that aren’t as well known. Coachella goes first and your local get together with 100 people ends up last.
When you first start your career, you’ll be playing the smallest venues possible, and some of them might not even be known as musical spaces, but rather restaurants and such that allow for occasional performances. That’s okay, but once you do begin to move up in the world, make sure you highlight your growth in your bio and press releases.
If you’ve been able to tour the country, and perhaps even the world, and play some very famous concert halls, music venues, and maybe even arenas and stadiums (which can happen if you’re lucky and the right opportunity finds you), you better make sure the person reading to find more about you knows that!
This can be especially important if you’re pitching media or booking people in a specific geographic area, as you will want to let them know if you’ve taken to the stage at the largest and most popular spaces for concerts in their city or state, so make sure you rewrite these few sentences when appropriate.
Having a magazine, newspaper, or other online outlet write something about your music is tough, so if you do receive positive attention from any major publication, make sure you get the most out of it!
Include the best quotes and comparisons, and make sure you attribute them correctly, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because those who know the landscape will appreciate what it took to get that magazine or one specific journalist to cover you.
We covered one kind of media, the press, but there are many other forms that may take an interest in your music, and all of them are worthy of mentioning in your own promotional materials. If you place a song into a TV show or movie, put that down! Not only does it pay to have that cache working for you, it’s also beneficial to suggest that you had potentially millions of people listening to your music.
If your work has been featured in a commercial, included on a soundtrack, or maybe even if you’re just present on a compilation of some kind from a record label or group, it’s all worth noting. You may not want to go too deep if there’s a lot to say here, but every little bit counts when you’re new to this field.
Hugh McIntyre writes about music and the music industry and regularly contributes to Forbes, Sonicbids, and more.Tags: