Writing an artist’s bio

Before I begin my tutorial, I have to apologize for being late on this article. Truth be told as I was doing my research, I realised that I was probably as blank and misinformed or underinformed(if such a word exists) on the nitty-gritties of writing a bio. However, my previous article on what goes into the bio is pretty much on point and in case you missed it I’d suggest clicking here to get you started.

To today’s topic: Writing an artist’s bio. First of all, you have to understand that a bio is not a cv or a cover letter or motivation letter; I can’t stress this enough. This is basically a short introduction about yourself. It’s more or less a tip of the iceberg with hints of what depth the submerged part is. With this in mind, the length should be quite short. Short enough to fit in a moderately lengthy paragraph.

I know you’re wondering: How do I manage this massive feat? Very simple, be clear, concise and straight to the point. Don’t add any unnecessary information that might be considered bloatware. Stick to the subject at hand which is your craft and all things related. Anything else should be given a passive mention if need be unless it is fundamental to your script.

Secondly always write in the the third person. By this I mean write as if you are your manager or publicist marketing yourself. Use your names and third person pronouns like he/ she. To make this even easier imagine you are answering the question: Who is artist X? 

The next thing you should do is write your bio order from the most important accomplishments to the least. The most recent should also come first. Make sure your work flows and does not come off as guesswork or desperation to fill a paragraph or worst of all disorganized. To pull this off easily I usually suggest writing down everything you want to include on a rough piece of paper. You can even go further by numbering and/ or listing them down as you’d like them to appear.

Avoid repetition at all costs. This will make your bio very boring and hard to read. Remember no one wants to keep reading the same information in every line. It feels like a rerun of a bad soap opera. However, if you follow the tip in the last paragraph, chances of this are drastically reduced.

Try to use simple linguistic terms to minimize grammatical errors and confusion. Always assume the reader is-for a lack of a better term- dumber than a 10 year old. It might sound stupid and elementary but trust me no one has the time to Google or whip out a dictionary every two seconds when faced with a mountain of other documents to go through. On the other hand you might end up using a word wrongly and the meaning might be lost in translation.

Lastly proofread your work and give one or more people to proofread it for you. This is to make sure your work is very neat and presentable and you haven’t missed any mistakes. In case you’re sending the bio via mail, make sure you double-check the address just in case you misspell it and confirm it is sent. Sometimes technology can screw us over. In case you are printing it, make sure the wording is readable and the ink is neatly done and not smudgy. Trust me appearance at times is a huge factor.

To conclude this article I’ll give you a little system I use to draft my bios. I call it the  rule of 5 i.e. who, where, what and when+why. When writing my bio I always strive to answer these questions in the same order I have listed as they make it easier to flow. Who am I? Where do I come from? What do I do? When did I begin doing this and why?(When in this case covers the journey from past to present).

So, there you have it, that is how you write a bio. In case you have any questions, corrections or additions, feel free to leave a comment. After all, we are all students in one way or another.

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