09 Jan Case Study – Writing A Bio with Crystalena
At Pop of Colour, we take artist bio writing seriously. It’s a fine art to blend artist expression and sales copy into the perfectly smooth, proportioned smoothie that is a professional artist bio.
When long time friend and fan Crystalena needed help with her bio, we kept the transcript of the conversation, remixed it into article format, and with her permission, are raising this pop rock queen as the golden standard.
Crystalena is a playful Canadiana twist with classic soulful roots, she takes listeners by surprise in fusing experimental rock voiced moon moods with lush neo-soul grooves.
She outspokenly wears her heart on her sleeve and her voice is rumoured to be soaked in honey. Crystalena’s fiery but melancholic lyrics look to address complex topics in social issues. She welcomes the reign of self-empowerment as she brings listeners on stirring, psychedelic soundscapes.
Who Is This Bio For?
So the first thing you’d likely guess about Crystalena is that she is a heck of a songwriter. This bio put her personal style at the forefront, something which will make current fans fall deeper in love, and press opportunities easy to obtain, as this bio is practically copy-and-paste ready.
However, beneath all the gorgeous poetry is very little substance for a booking agent to judge her on. Remember, booking agents only want one thing (and it’$ di$gu$ting): people to come see her perform.
In its current form, this bio doesn’t tell them what to expect from her live show besides cool music. Is she energetic onstage or laid back? Do her biggest fans stay seated and clap politely or scream her name while having an experience?
Because Crystalena’s bio’s main job was to be used in festival applications at this time, we reworked it to include more concrete descriptions, past quotes to further establish her credibility, and comparisons to other artists, in order to make the job of festival directors and booking agents easier and achieve better results because she was booked in shows that made sense.
Who do you sound like?
Let’s face it, most artists hate to be told they sound like anyone. Don’t worry, you’re all special and unique little unicorns. However, listing some reference points helps booking agents, venues, marketers and your bio writer catch the imagination and interest of potential fans, and get them into the door… Where they can be then wowed by your individuality.
What we did for Crystalena was break down the different facets of who she was as an artist, and find a recognizable artist comparison to those.
So to start with genre, at the most basic description, Crystalena is a female pop rock singer-songwriter. There aren’t too many modern mainstream examples of those, but two huge hits from niche’s heyday, are “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson, and “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne. Underneath her love for cool outfits, Crystalena is a 20-something girl next door telling relatable stories with catchy hooks and confidence.
Next, the “soul” factor. Crystalena is a contemporary singer-songwriter with a huge voice. Comparisons to Adele are inevitable (and justified on talent alone, let’s be honest). But let’s not be too basic, and also name check a Motown legend to truly hammer that “timeless” aspect home. I chose Etta James because she was classy, fun, and bold all at the same time, but not as cliché as Aretha Franklin.
And lastly, Crystalena has a fun live show. She’s confident, empowering, confessional, and takes fans on a journey that makes her concerts a quasi-religious experience. Who are some contemporary solo female artists with a killer live show? Taylor Swift and Lizzo, of course.
What action should your reader take?
The last paragraph should be a call to action. Your bio is the trailer, they want to see you, when are you hitting the box office (Coming Soon, from Crystalena…)? Whether it be a tour, new release, or booking, let’s point the reader to their next action.
And finally, what the heck are “moon moods”?
Last but not least, when creating your own, unique definition of your sound, make sure to define it.
Crystalena is a playful Canadiana twist whom fearlessly fuses fringe-rock motifs, with a self declared theme of soulful warm melodies called “moon moods” which she entrances through lush, sassy, neo-soul grooves.
“Her canvas contains the deep blues of heartbreak with splashes of vibrant reds when her mood shifts into something animalistic.” [Andre Gagne – Ottawa Life Magazine].
She has the pop-rock spirit of an early 2000’s Kelly Clarkson or Avril Lavigne, the timeless soul of an Etta James or Adele and the confidence, playfulness, and fan relationship of a Lizzo or Taylor Swift.
Outspokenly wearing her heart on her sleeve, Crystalena’s fiery and melancholic lyrics look to address complex topics in social issues and emotional justices. She welcomes the reign of self-empowerment as she brings audiences on stirring, psychedelic soundscapes within her enamoured piano and guitar stage combo.
She gained the attention of thousands internationally after releasing her first live video of an original; “Impulse” with [Ottawa local live music production] Shot In the Dark in December 2016, which has quickly become a favourite for audiences. “There is said to be a slow burning love lust in her lyricism [of Impulse], while digging her teeth into words that were filled with passionate throes.” [Apt 613]*
Watch out for her debut single Shelter, off the new album in January 2020.