Storytelling For Musicians: The Backstory

We learned in our last post that storytelling is an important marketing tool which we need to incorporate into our music marketing. One way a DIY musician can do that is through their ‘backstory’.


A backstory is a series of events which has happened leading up to this moment in time.  When a magazine or blog first covers an artist, they have to pass on an artist’s backstory. This gives the reader a condensed history of events and circumstances which caused the subject to arrive at their current destination.


How did you arrive ‘here’? That’s what your backstory should tell.

Backstories are used heavily by singing competitions such as American Idol.  With an endless parade of musical talent out there, how can the audience empathise with a contestant? How can we ‘connect’ with the talent on display?

Well, by telling their ‘backstory’, by highlighting the hardships, struggles and their journey so far the audience can contextualise their journey. In doing so, we all get to know the contestant a little better and begin to take an interest in their attempt to progress through the competition.

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TV talent shows are great at telling a backstory

One way to tell your own backstory is though our artist bio.  You need to tell people about YOUR journey to this moment in time. One thing your backstory shouldn’t be, is an endless list of facts: you played your first gig here, and you released your first single or album on that date and that year etc.


Instead, you need to think like one of those ‘talent show’ contestant videos.  You need to be clear in telling people WHY you are making your music. What has happened in your life to make you want to do what you are doing?  What hardships and struggles have you had to overcome to get where you are now? What about your story and your journey makes you unique?

You might need to amplify some details of your story and omit others.  If you’ve seen the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody you get a good sense of a musical career that has had to be edited to work as a good story!

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Got any questions about this post or how you can better market yourself?

Twitter: @60secondmm