14 Things to Avoid When Writing Your Artist Bio

DJ Decks

We explore all the traps DJs fall into when writing their biographies, and how you can steer clear of them

A DJ’s artist biography is one of the most important but most neglected part of their repertoire. If you’re not big enough to have an agent, then your profile can do the work for you. For unknown musicians looking for their big break, it provides a quick reference that can be sent promoters or agents. That’s why a good one will do wonders to your reputation.  But like a bad agent, a poorly-written profile can cause a whole lot of damage.

The most important thing to remember is that it’s a sales tool, and you’re the product. Narrow down the most important aspects of your personality as well as your music, and commit them to the page. Sound impossible? Don’t worry. We’ve compiled a list of things avoid when composing your DJ biography.

Don’t make it complicated

Remember that the simpler the better. If you want promoters to remember who you are, just stick to a few facts about what you’re up to in the present moment. Don’t create an elaborate story about where you came from or why you’re here. Just focus on the music.

Avoid name-dropping

Just because you listen to a lot of Deadmau5 when you spin, does not mean you can say he’s “provided support for the album.”  Likewise, including a long list of personal heroes. with everyone from Mozart to Miles Davis should be avoided. It’s better to pick a few that work with your sound.

Don’t be boring

You want to start strong, end strong, and keep it interesting along the way. If you have nothing unique to say then think harder. Or start doing more interesting things with your career.

Don’t use vague terms

Instead, be specific by avoiding adverbs and adjectives that only act as space-fillers. You may think your music is “excellent” or “amazing” but that does not convey very much information. Why is it excellent? Is it because you get people dancing within the first minute, or you’ve received awards for your catchy songs? Say that instead.

Avoid exaggeration

Just because you took dance lessons at age 8 does not mean you’re a classically-trained ballet dancer. If you embellish your achievements, people will think you’re fabricating the truth as well, so stick to the facts.

Don’t rely on the “American Dream” narrative

Everyone has worked hard to get where they are, it doesn’t make your music more compelling or danceable. Plus, you don’t want to bore the club owner or potential agent. They have read a billion of these profiles already, and many of them probably include some version of “I started from the very bottom but still got where I am.” Yours should stand out from the crowd.

Don’t forget to spell-check, and don’t use poor grammar either

Having errors will scream unprofessional. You will seem messy, which reflects poorly on your musical prowess and professional demeanor, on top of your writing abilities. Have your best friend read it. Then ask  your mother. Then hand it over to your neighbor. You want plenty of eyes to proofread, so you can catch all errors.

Don’t ramble

You want to be digestible, so a promoter can glance at your biography and quickly decide to book you. Remember that this is a marketing tool, and take a leaf from Miller Light’s book. “Tastes great, less filling” sums up the beer’s benefits quickly and concisely. That’s why the shorter your bio, the more memorable it will be. Don’t go overboard though. You should remember to include all relevant information.

Avoid long paragraphs too

When readers get bombarded with chunks of long text, they will start to glaze over the content. You want the promoter to read every piece of information, so keep it short. This way, they will read all the way to the finish and actually understand you and your music.

Don’t focus on the past

Try to convey what you’re up to at this moment. Although a sentence or two about your background may work, often, these stories come across as tired. A promoter wants to know what’s going on with your music now; he does not want to hear about how your first tightened the strings to a guitar at age eight.

In fact, you can forget discussing your childhood at all

Where you grew up, what your favourite school subject was, and where you bought your first record have nothing to do with your music. In fact, information like that shows up in almost every profile out there. Promoters will skip over the cliches, so give them something interesting.

Don’t sound robotic though

Above all, you want your reader to like you. Be careful not to become too impersonal otherwise the profile won’t be compelling. Your voice and personality should shine through on the page. If you’re excited about your music, your reader will be too.

Don’t forget a conclusion

Your biography must end succinctly while conveying interesting information on the direction of your music. Focus on the future. This will clue in your readers to your summer plans or your tour schedule, which may lead to even more bookings.

Don’t be intimidated!

If writing is not one of your strengths, don’t worry. Follow this format along with our other tips, and you’ll be ready to go!

Nandita Raghuram

Nandita Raghuram is a writer, book-enthusiast, and social-media ace. She joined the JustGo blogging team because her love for music is boundless. She's currently on a quest to discover how 140-character sentences (or less) have altered music today.