By Jasper Anson | Managing Director of NovaCurrent Creative Solutions
As a publicist, I have helped music clients earn over 200 interviews and features from television, online, and print outlets across Canada and in the United States.
While a current release, an engaging music video, upcoming shows, and a first-rate online presence will increase the chances of getting media coverage, a successful music interview also depends on what an artist can bring to it through storytelling, confidence, and preparation.
Ready to get media savvy? Here are five ways to rock every music interview!
Use Anecdotes to Your Advantage
Focus on talking points and stories that can tie in with what you are promoting.
If you’re releasing an EP, think of key inspirations, people, and moments that brought it to life. Also note key opinions, experiences and ideas to mention about other common topics like live shows, future plans, and the music industry in general.
Honest and quirky storytelling can make even the most generic interviews become memorable. I had a client who found it challenging during media training to talk about memorable live shows. Eventually, they remembered an outdoor show that was interrupted by a storm, but when made the choice to keep playing through thunder and lightning, the crowd went wild. It was an entertaining story that also presented them in a positive and enthusiastic light, making it an instant interview keeper.
Be an Authority
People are drawn to those who lead with confidence and can inspire them. After all, this is what makes music so magical – it’s the soundtrack of our lives. When we find a song that speaks to us and for us, we’re hooked.
If you can be strong and relatable in your interviews, fans will have a greater respect for your music and they will be more loyal.
With that in mind, be an authority. Speak with confidence, maintain authenticity, and be brave enough to be vulnerable. People out there are just waiting for someone to inspire them. Let it be you.
If you want to start being an authority right away, lose two words from your interview vocabulary: “actually” and “hopefully”.
Don’t say, “Actually, we have a new EP. Hopefully, you’ll really like it.” Do say, “This is our new EP. You’ll love it.”
Create Connections with Your Audience
Connecting is everything and every interviewer and media outlet offers its own audience to engage with.
By looking at past interviews from the journalist who will interview you, you can get a sense of what they are likely to ask. Beyond that, look for ways to build a rapport before and during the interview. If you can do this effectively, they will be more interested in you and you will be more interesting to everyone else.
Take it further and study the audience who will see your interview. Think of what they’re about, where you fit, and how you can speak their language. If it’s a local outlet, talk about your favourite venues or what you love about the city. If it’s a national outlet, get into what being a Canadian artist means today and the artistic imprint you want to leave on someone who hears you for the first time. Get into topics that matter – to you and to them.
Be in the Moment
As a musician promoting your latest release, you are bound to have a lot on your mind, whether it’s your next show, your next chance to sleep, or the next call from your publicist.
Nevertheless, every interview is a chance to make a first impression on new fans. You’ve got to be at your best. It’s imperative to turn down distractions and stay in the present moment.
A few years ago – just before a live television appearance, a client grabbed a coffee, only to return upset from being yelled at for accidentally breaking a plate. The segment went on without any issues, mostly because they regained their composure by keeping their focus on the immediate task at hand.
At the end of the day, an interview is one of the best things that can happen for an artist. After all, someone wants you talk about what you love the most – your music.
If something else is on your mind, let it go.
Social media is a must to bring into the equation of every interview. If an interview introduces you to people who might be new to your music, the onus is on you to be easy for them to find.
Mention your website and social media handles at least once during an interview. You may not be asked for your social media info, so the key is to bring that information into your answers at logical points. Your website might have your new shows listed, your blog could get into the inspiration for your EP, your Instagram is where you post selfies with fans, and Facebook is where you do weekly live videos on the road. Keep it natural and you will guide your audience to find you, so they can follow your adventures.
Remember to share each interview later. It will remind your fans about what you’re up to and keep the buzz going for what you are actively promoting. Tagging each outlet and interviewer and thanking them sincerely in each post also lets them know that you value the support that they have graciously offered you.
It takes time, effort, and patience to be comfortable and confident in music interviews. Having prepared many clients for interviews, I can say that what feels initially awkward eventually becomes second-nature.
Your music is the key to your success and failure, but if you can master a music interview, you will inspire new and old fans, command respect from your industry peers, and be rewarded for your preparation, execution, and dedication. It’s worth it.
Jasper Anson is the Managing Director of NovaCurrent Creative Solutions, a Canadian publicity and personal branding agency for music, film, and television clients.