Being interviewed on music blogs is EXCITING! You have received an invitation from a media outlet – music blog, newspaper, or magazine.

I have facilitated thousands of interviews over the years and I have often received responses from my clients that are to be blunt – crap. The reason for this is tour artist didn’t take the time to put thought and finesse into his responses and frankly one or two-word answers to any questions posed to you by a music writer make you look land and sound like a ninny.

I am often shocked when we get a lot of interviews for our artists when they start complaining about the fact that the media don’t ask interesting questions or they get the same question asked over and over.

Interviews Are Your Opportunity to Define Your Brand & Control Your Narrative

Understand that any media interview poses a tremendous opportunity. Even if the questions seem mundane or annoying.

Because people believe what others say about you more than they will ever believe what you say and an interview in any publication is an endorsement from others (namely the publication or blog featuring you) where you get to control your narrative. This is your chance to create responses that allow fans to go deeper with you as an artist. They will also give you the opportunity to be in control of your own narrative. Of course, you need to know what your brand is first but that’s a whole other post.

But there’s another reason to be prepared to put your best foot forward and crush your interview. That reason is GOOGLE. Your responses will be indexed by Google and searchable for years to come. In the future when potential fans or industry folks want to know about you they may very well search for articles. Strong interview responses are seeds for relationships you will be developing in your future that you don’t even have yet.

Convey Your Personality, Feelings & Values

If you are dry-witted, silly, emotionally fragile, a hopeless romantic, or a rabble-rouser, you can show off your personality style in your responses. Interviews are also a place where you can relate your feelings and values. These are probably most evident in your songwriting and recording style and often they get lost in translation when it is time to express them on the written page. Show your vulnerability and create connections to themes and values in your music as they relate to you as a human being.  

Go Deep – Provide Through Responses

Not only is an email interview your opportunity to convey your style, but it’s also one of your best opportunities to give potential fans a reason to hit play on that embedded SoundCloud player or Spotify link that is most probably right there on the page as well. So the relatability is the key to get potential fans to listen to your music. 

Always Expand Upon The Questions

For instance, if you are asked who are you listening to these days? A terrible answer is simply the name of the artist – for example “Blondie.” This tells the reader absolutely nothing and does not give a WHY. Your job is to expand upon questions to make the responses more interesting and full of depth.

A better way to answer is: I recently saw Blondie Live and it made me go back to their records from the 70’s.  It’s amazing how they still stand up today production-wise and admire Debbie Harry because she came up during a time when there were even fewer women in the music scene and she managed to become a fashion icon, a feminist voice, and she supported AIDS research and advocated for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Here are two responses from a band and an artist from the blog Independent Artist Buzz.  Notice how one artist who shall remain nameless took the easy way out and there’s a typo (yes, most blogs won’t spell check – that’s also up to you!) and another artist expanded on her responses:

Q: Who are your musical inspirations; what artists inspired you to start your career and find your musical passion?

Oh I have so many! Inspirations… just a few… are James Taylor, Sara Bareilles, JP Saxe, Lennon Stella, Carole King, Ruston Kelly, I could keep going! I’m really inspired by other artist and how they tell their stories.

Look at this comparatively to Shelby Merchant’s response:

Q: Who are your musical inspirations; what artists inspired you to start your career and find your musical passion?

Amy Winehouse is someone whose songwriting style influenced me from an early age. She’s both blunt and tender in her imagery, and I like the sense of humor she brings to her lyrics. Carole King was also a big influence. Reading about her commercial approach to songwriting and how much time she spent writing every day gave me a sense of the reality of being a professional songwriter at a time when it seemed like an ephemeral dream. I also love her percussive approach to the piano.

Later in the interview Shelby expands on this and we can see why she resonates with Amy Winehouse, it all ties together.

Q: What is the most personal thing you have shared in your music or in your artist brand as it relates to being female?

I’m very open about my struggles with mental health. I have an anxiety disorder, and it’s a pretty big thing for me. I’ve written about it before, in fact my next single “today was good” is about my method of dealing with it. Mental health affects men and women very differently, but isn’t often treated as such. Two times more women attempt suicide than men. Mental health is terrible for anyone it affects, and I wish it was more commonly taught and talked about. In order to make progress with it we have to acknowledge that it treats different people differently.

Don’t Stray Too Far Off Topic

Expanding is good but straying wildly off topic is not.  It won’t make sense for the flow of the interview. So be sure to stay on point.

Showcase Your Tribe & Shine A Light On Others

One of the best ways to show that you are part of a tribe shine a light on others. So, when you’re asked to give some musical comparisons or you are talking about your local scene, mention local venues, and musicians that you know and already have established relationships with – perhaps you collaborate or play on the same bills. Mention artists who are within your reach to play gigs or tour with. Go the extra mile and hyperlink to these artist’s tracks or websites if appropriate. Then when you share the article on socials after it is published you can tag the venues and artists. It’s possible that they will share your posts and their fans may take notice. 

Respect The Writer’s Deadline

I can’t tell you how many times this has happened where we are hounding our clients to get us the responses for interviews we worked really hard to secure. I know you are busy and sitting down to write responses may not feel natural to you. However, you’re making your publicist look awful and you are showing the music writer that you don’t respect them or their publication by not honoring deadlines. Trust me, the writer will remember that you were a pain in the ass to work with and when the next opportunity to feature you arises they may just go to one of the other 600 pitches in their in-box or go with an artist they know will respond punctually. 

Thoroughly Proofread Your Interview

It is not the bloggers or interviewers job to proof read and correct any typos that you may have made.  This does happen of course (as does fact checking) at major newspapers and magazines who actually have copy writing staff on hand but a music blog will not do this work for you.  I advise you ti show the article to a friend or two who have a keen eye for grammar, punctuation and spelling and get their feedback.

If you are working with a music publicist a good one will proof for you but don’t count on her to finesse your responses. You want her spending her tome securing more features not re-writing your responses. 

Thank The Writer

Thanking the writer who took the time to interview you in the first place is a gracious thing to do. Most musicians don’t take this extra step.

This is something you should always do even if you have a publicist. Write a little note to the blogger at the end of the interview and include it in the text that you send to your publicist. If you are working with the writer directly it’s a classy touch to show gratitude. After the interview goes live make sure to post on all of your socials and tag not only the publication but also the writer (and as mentioned the other artists and venues) in your social posts when you share the interview for added acknowledgment. This is a nice way to bond with the writers who took the time to care about you.

Share Your Interview

You (or your music publicist) worked hard to land this interview. Now it’s time to share it.  Not every publication shares every article that appears on their blog or site across their social channels so the interview’s visibility depends on you.

Musician Media Interview

Visualize Your Interviews

Visualize highlights using Canva. See how we visualized Shelby’s quote here. You can also simply take the logo of the publication and create a tile that says “featured in…”

On Your Socials

Share multiple ways and multiple times as assorted tweets, and Instagram Stories. And of course create thoughtful well-tagged Facebook & IG posts.

On your Website

Create a press page on your website and showcase your interview by reposting it.  I advise you not to simply link to it in case the blog goes away or takes your interview down you don’t want to lose a full interview. Repost an article to your socials months after it is featured to keep the interview alive.

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