parcelsOnce upon a time we used to make folders containing lots of paper with this information, and we’d pay a fortune to the Post Office to send them out with our CDs or cassettes.  Oh boy, now I’m really dating myself!

Nowadays, there are many ways to do this online.  You can create your own WordPress site, set up a site through Reverbnation, or create an electronic press kit through Sonicbids.  Whatever you choose, your press kit should reflect the quality of your music — which hopefully, is high! If it’s not, you should continue to study and practice your skills until you are really ready, otherwise you will be wasting time and money.  Remember – there’s no second chance to make a first impression! Venue managers are bombarded with this stuff, and may make a quick judgment based on glancing – or listening – to your press kit for a few seconds.  If you send them something that looks amateurish, it may be years before they are willing to give you a second look.

So here’s the checklist:

___ Brief Description (elevator pitch).  This is a few sentences that describes your music referring to specific genres so that people know what to expect.  Don’t use hyperbole like “wonderful” “great” etc., and don’t cop-out by saying that your style is indefinable.  Do cite specific genres that people understand, like jazz, folk, etc., or combinations (my favorite is Goth-Country!).  Do compare yourself to artists that people are familiar with (i.e., a cross between Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald!).

___ Professional pictures.  These could be headshots or pictures of you singing with a band, but they should be taken by a professional photographer using good lighting.  You should have a make-up and hair artist on hand as well. Change your picture about every three to five years: representing yourself as you looked twenty years ago does not cut it.

___ Audio.  A professionally produced full-length or demo recording that is high quality but also reflects what you can deliver on stage. In other words, if your recording has a full rhythm section, background vocals, and a horn section but you actually just perform with piano accompaniment, you may have a problem.  Ditto, if you use a lot of auto-tune so your voice sounds amazing on the recording but not so great in person, you are misleading your potential bookers.

___ Video.  A professionally-produced video is optimal, but you can go a long way with a good live video of a performance.  Do have a professional shoot it and edit it.  Most videographers will run a cable directly into the sound system to get the best sound.  The best ones will use two cameras and edit it down so that they get a variety of close-ups and full stage shots.  If they are also experienced sounds engineers (like Dave Jamrog) they can edit the sound afterwards for optimal results.

___ Bio.  This should be a few paragraphs or one page at most which details the highlights of your career and training.  Be sure to talk about where you’ve performed, awards you’ve won, as well as who you’ve studied with.  You should also insert a few interesting personal details or anything that makes you unique as a performer.  Again, stick to facts and avoid hype.

___ Quotes.  It is much more convincing to have other people rave about you rather than to rave about yourself.  The most credible quotes are from press, the next best from actual presenters (club or venue managers).   If you don’t have any of those yet, try to get one from another artist with a recognizable name.   If you can’t get any of those, ask your friends or fans!

___ Calendar.  This should list any upcoming performances you have.  Showing previous performances is also helpful as it shows a track record.

 

These are the basics for your press kit.  Each one of these elements can represent a significant investment in time, money and energy, but will pay off in career dividends over the long run.  Be sure to get expert advice and feedback before you go “public” with it.  Have fun, be creative, and enjoy the process! After all, the business of music is a creative endeavor which allows you to express you unique individuality and can be considered an extension