3 Tips For Nailing Your Next Interview

[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!

SXSW Interview: Olivver the Kid

Olivver the Kid is the moniker/solo project of Bryan Sammis, an LA-based artist and songwriter who parted ways with the much-buzzed-about indie group The Neighbourhood in early 2014. Since doing so, he has released his debut EP, Freak, and toured alongside artists such as Halsey and Young Rising Sons.

Olivver graced us with his R&B/hip hop laced pop sounds during the launch of our TuneCore Live event series at the Bardot in LA in January. Needless to say, we loved it! That’s why we’re excited to have Olivver the Kid playing our TuneCore Live: Austin party during SXSW next Friday at the Vulcan Gas Co presented with the help of Swisher Sweets, CraveOnline, Mirrored Media, DropKloud, and LANDR. We got the chance to interview the drummer-turned-singer/songwriter about his past SXSW experiences and what he’s looking forward to this time around. Make sure to pre-order his new single, “I Want It” on iTunes (release date March 17th)!

You’ve got some SXSW experience under your belt. In what ways will you be using this experience to shape your trip this year?

Booking less shows, haha. In my old band we played like 2-3 a day our first trip there and it definitely took a toll on us physically and mentally.

What’s something you wish you knew before your first visit to SXSW?

I wish I was better prepared for our off time: who was playing and where. Also, parking is a bitch.


What differences to you expect between going to SXSW as the drummer of a band burgeoning indie rock band and performing as the lead man?

It’s a definite difference. This new project is a little less of a “band” so things run differently in terms of stage set-up and travel. On the other hand I have to take care of my voice. So, these 2 shows a day and 3 shows a day routines are not gonna cut it for me, especially since SXSW is in the middle of our tour.

SXSW has certainly changed over the years. Would you say there are as many opportunities as challenges for indie artists trying to navigate & network?

Yeah, I think it’s a place where you can get out of it what you put in. Networking alone can be worth the trip. Also, playing the right showcases for the right people & making new fans. But that’s not to say there aren’t a fair amount of obstacles to overcome (some mentioned previously).

Do you think touring around SXSW, be it before, after or both, is crucial in capitalizing on the experience?

It just makes the trip make a lot more sense. Otherwise I’m driving to & from Austin from So-Cal.

Between promoting yourself & keeping your fans engaged, how will you be using your social channels to make the most of your time at SXSW?

I’ll be letting people know when/where I’m playing for sure.

How has the launch of your music differed in relation to going through the label system?

The freedom is much greater. The opportunities are fewer. So, I have to really capitalize on the opportunities that I come into on my own.

What kind of role has TuneCore played as your musical journey has progressed this past year?

TuneCore was a way for me to get my music out to fans through all the popular platforms (iTunes, Spotify, etc…).

Any fun showcases, artists or events that you’re looking forward to checking out while in Austin?

I have to do a little research, but we have some downtime so I’m definitely going to make the best of it.

TuneCore Live: Interviews with Olivver the Kid & Hudson [VIDEO]

As you may recall, at the end of January, we kicked off our monthly event series, TuneCore Live at the Bardot in Hollywood. With the help of our sponsors Swisher Sweets, CraveOnline, MirroredMedia and Ultimate Ears, we packed the room with fans and artists alike to enjoy a night of networking and live music. It was the perfect launch to what will be an exciting series of shows, with sets by Hudson, Olivver the Kid and Nightmare Boy (plus DJ sets from LA’s KonstantSurprises & Tron Stamos)!

During the event, our lovely sponsor CraveOnline sat down with Oliver the Kidd, Nightmare Boy and the members of Hudson to chat. Even if it’s hip hop or gospel music you play, as an independent artist, these interviews can truly serve as inspiration. We were thrilled to hear some of the artists speak highly of their relationship with TuneCore. Olivver the Kid, after parting ways with The Neighbourhood, was faced with having to get his music out on his own. After asking around and hearing about TuneCore, “I put it up and now it’s on Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, iTunes – the whole rigamarole.  I wouldn’t have known how to do that, and they kind of make it pretty easy – it’s like a one-stop shop.”

Said Hudson’s frontman David, “TuneCore has been a very easy, very convenient way to distribute our music and show the world what we have. Because we have the people at TuneCore we can keep our creativity and do what we like, and they’ll get it out to any and every part of the world. Cuts out a lot of the middleman and makes it a lot easier for independent artists like ourselves to do what we do.”

Thanks, guys! We’re thrilled to be able to give independent artists the opportunity to come together, share the stage, and interact with us – because after all, they’re the reason we do all of this! So dive in and enjoy – and if you’re LA-based, remember: we’ll be back at the Bardot on February 25th with a whole new line-up of TuneCore Artists – come hang out! Stay tuned for more info.


Olivver the Kid:

Nightmare Boy