Jen Vanella Jen Vanella
Posted January 18th
One of the biggest moments in a singer's career is his or her first professional interview. Whether it’s an article, a radio show, or a podcast, it’s a really big deal. However, sometimes it’s hard to know how to prepare, especially if it’s an in-person interview. In this article, I’ll give you the most effective approaches to selling yourself as an artist and making sure that your interview leads to more fans.
This sounds so simple, but you’d be surprised by how many artists get tripped up over a question like, “What can you tell me about yourself?” Tastemakers need to know about you in order to write about you, so prepare to open up! Think about some formative experiences growing up and how they led to you becoming a musician. Talk about your influences, your struggles, and your accomplishments.
The better you are at telling a story and creating a clear picture of who you are as a person, the more of a connection you’ll make with both the interviewer and your fan base. Just remember, your story is unique and that’s what makes your music unique as well. You don’t have to have natural-born conversational skills or a vast vocabulary. Authenticity is the key.
Be a good listener
One of the things that makes an interviewer frustrated is when an artist doesn’t listen to their questions or comments. It’s understandable to be nervous, especially the first time around, but always keep in mind that it needs to be a two-way conversation. Rather than sticking to a script you’ve rehearsed, go with the flow and allow for a little spontaneity. Being focused and attentive goes a long way! After all, you’ve been invited for this huge promotional moment, so take the opportunity to learn as much as you can.
Do your research
This is one thing that a lot of artists neglect, but if you take the time to find out as much as you can about the person and/or company that’s writing about you, you’ll be much more prepared. I guarantee you that you were researched extensively before you were offered an interview, so you should do the same. If you’re going to be in a Magazine, pick up a copy beforehand. Read a few of their artist interviews and get a feel for the style and content. It’ll give you a rough idea of what to expect, and that cuts down on the pressure considerably.
Same goes for a radio show or a podcast. Listen to a few episodes and pay attention to the pacing, tone, and questions being asked. Look up your interviewer’s professional career as well. Does he or she have a lot of Twitter or Instagram followers? Do they work for any other companies you could potentially connect with? Sometimes even knowing something personal about them can work to your advantage in an interview. As the old saying goes, knowledge is power.
Dress to impress and be on time
There’s no need to put a suit or dress on in most situations, however, looking clean and presentable should go without saying. It shows the world you respect yourself and want to make a good impression. More importantly, you’ll feel at your best and speak more confidently as a result. Visual branding has become a big part of the music industry, which is why you need to look the part.
Being on time is essential as well. I’ve seen so many artists lose jobs and opportunities because they “slept in,” “just forgot,” or were so overwhelmed with other things that they simply didn’t time their day out. Not only is this disrespectful, it makes you look like an amateur, and that’s definitely not the impression you want to leave. So plan ahead, even if it means being a little early.
Relax and have fun
This might seem contradictory after stressing the importance of professionalism, but lightening up and letting your guard down is one of the best pieces of advice I can give you. Being professional and having fun aren’t mutually exclusive, so don’t be afraid to laugh, smile, and share your enthusiasm for your music. Good energy is contagious, and people love to work with outgoing, friendly, talented individuals who amount to more than big egos with press kits. If you keep all these things is mind, you’re sure to win over a lot of new fans and make each interview a memorable experience for anyone tuning in.