About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Three Forgotten Things Every Artist Needs
Friday, August 13, 2010

Writing about indie artists can be incredibly rewarding, especially when I see artists I’ve written about rise to new levels of fame, but there are also a few frustrating aspects to it. Recently, certain frustrations have become the norm and they’re frustrations that can easily be fixed. From a journalist’s, or editor’s, perspective the following is common sense, but what we feel is common sense may be something the next person has no idea about, so if you’re an indie artist looking for press, here are three things you really need to have (in addition to talent) that oftentimes get overlooked.

Bio - No matter how much of your life you put in your music, and no matter how often you use the cliche “if you want to know about me just listen to my music,” you have to give writers a reason to want to listen to your music. The answer to “who is this person” shouldn’t take a full play of your album, we should know it with a quick two minute read of your bio. Having a bio will also make the majority of your interviews more interesting because there will be no need to ask about your basic background information. Interviews will be able to be tailored around you, instead of being filled with bland cookie cutter questions that could be used for any artist.

Obviously, getting a professional to write your bio is optimal. A word of advice on that; don’t try to shortchange the writer. How would you react if you were shopping your beats, or your verses, for $300 and someone said they wanted one for $50? Maybe you don’t have the money for a professionally done bio. That’s OK, just write something up for the press to take a look at while you save up for something more professionally done. It will get your album listened to by more writers, and give those writers something to base their questions on.

Fact Sheet - In addition to a bio it’s a good idea to also have a one page fact sheet. The type of information you want to put on this includes the albums you’ve released, other albums you’ve appeared on, prominent shows and events you’ve been a part of, prominent stages you’ve rocked, TV appearances you’ve made, charts your music has appeared on, any honors you’ve taken home, and any other information you’d want the press to know. Some of it can even be quirky. If you have a pet komodo dragon that’s something I, as a writer, would love to know, and ask you about.

For your fact sheet, keep everything in bullet point format to make it easily readable. There’s no need to be super fancy here, just give us the facts. Also, make sure your contact info is on BOTH your bio and your fact sheet. Make your contact info unavoidable, so if at any point a writer says “I like this” they can easily get in touch with you.

Hi-Res Pictures - Not having his-res pictures has become my #1 pet peeve when it comes to working with indie artists. Hi-res pictures, which are 300 dpi and usually 1MB or larger in size, are industry standard, and I’m not talking about the music industry, I’m talking about the print journalism industry. We need hi-res pics if we’re going to print anything about you, and with the proliferation of powerful digital cameras (3 mega pixels and higher), it’s very easy to have hi-res pics handy. Don’t even bother seeking out print press without them because we can’t run an article with anything less.

With everybody looking for press, having these three things will help your cause greatly. And here’s the really good news, all of these items don’t have to be limited to the eyes of the press, you can also use them on your website (“a website” wasn’t on this list because every artist has one). Now get out there and make it happen!


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:48 AM  
  • At 9:54 AM, Blogger Sintex said…

    great advice, man; definitely some pointers i can use. you do a great job of interviewing, man; you help the artist bring out their truly-artistic selves, the same way the music does. mad props!

  • At 10:48 AM, Blogger Tah Phrum Duh Bush said…

    Holla Holmes! Preach that gospel! It's crazy that you put this up because I am revamping my stuff as we speak!

  • At 11:19 AM, Blogger Aqua said…

    Yeah man it seems like these basics need to be re-iterated every once and a while. Good write up as always!

  • At 12:28 PM, Blogger SuperKing said…

    Word Adam! very helpful info.

  • At 1:19 PM, Blogger Admin said…

    Thumbs up!

  • At 2:03 PM, Blogger Sketch Tha Cataclysm said…

    The "every artist has one" website sidenote made me laugh. Tell 'em Adam!


  • At 4:39 PM, Blogger Winston said…

    Great info Adam, thanks! I have to make sure that we haven't overlooked these simple but important things!

  • At 12:08 AM, Blogger Adam Bernard said…

    Thanks for all the props on this one, and thanks to everyone for spreading the word. I see what you're doing on Twitter, and that's awesome.

  • At 9:50 PM, Blogger Othello said…

    If you 'journalist types' are too lazy to find my myspace page, I don't have time to do your job by writing a 'fact sheet'. Do some research, my art speaks for itself.

  • At 11:02 PM, Blogger Adam Bernard said…

    Othello, you are hilarious!

  • At 5:00 PM, Blogger YC The Cynic said…

    Didnt even know about the Fact Sheet. Dope article. Good looks Adam! Shouts to Super King, too.

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