How to Write Your Artistic Biography
These seven tips will impress your audience with your accomplishments and endeavors.
By Sabrina Valles
Directors and artists are often called upon to submit an artistic biography (or bio) for themselves or their group whenever they participate in large productions, festivals, or projects. If you have never written an artistic bio before, this request may catch you by surprise. COVID-19 truly is the perfect time to draft and refine your artistic bios; preparing you for your future opportunity once the world reopens. These seven tips will help you brush up on your writing skills in preparation for the big moment.
- Before submitting your bio, request the required word count.
Every communication medium requires a different word count depending on the usage. From my experience, I have seen requests for 50-word, 100-word, 150-word, 200-word, and 500-word bios. Since we are preparing you for your future opportunity, I recommend writing a 500-word bio first and repurpose it to fit the 50-word and 100-word requirements.
- Write in third-person.
Professionally speaking, writing in third-person is most often preferred. The first reference of your name should include both your first and last name. If the organization is prestigious and tends to write in a professional tone, I recommend referring to yourself as your preferred pronoun and your last name. If the organization writes in a more casual tone, referring to yourself by your first name should suffice. You can also refer to yourself as your preferred pronoun throughout your bio.
- Define your artistic purpose to introduce yourself or your group.
Just like your English teacher recommended in your middle school and high school English class, your topic sentence or lead sentence should be direct and strong. Please do not begin with the age you were when you started your artistic career. Instead, you should define yourself as an artist. Why do you dance folklorico? How are you fulfilling your calling in the art form? Which descriptive words best describe your work as a choreographer or a dancer? Use these questions as a way to brainstorm your first sentence. If it is easier, you can also draft this sentence at the end.
- Share your current position at your company or organization with your accomplishments at the organization.
You were most likely requested to participate in a gig, festival, or performance due to your current position and accomplishments. Share a brief statement about your organization’s mission as well as three top accomplishments that you or your organization has achieved. This is a great opportunity to wow your audience with your current top projects.
- Make everyone’s jaws drop with your most impressive awards and career highlights.
If you were recognized as a leading pioneer for your art form by renowned local, regional, national, or international organizations or awarded an artist-in-residence scholarship, brag about this information. If you happened to have performed at well-recognized venues, festivals, events, or with celebrities, write this information here too. Maybe you have worked with a different well-known organization in the past or received awards while working for those organizations. These accomplishments help build clout alongside your accomplishments with your current organization.
- Have more room? Share additional relevant career history, awards, and highlights.
This doesn’t mean you should share every organization you have worked with since you were five. Instead, select five to seven relevant organizations you have worked with as well as awards and scholarships you have received. Organize these lists with a semicolon. These accomplishments tend to be worthy but not the highlights you would include in a short 50-word, 100-word, or 150-word bio. You can also share your history working in other mediums as well if you wish.
- A second pair of eyes is necessary for editing.
To write this article, I reviewed and edited it myself a day after I wrote the first draft, used the free editing software, Grammarly, and shared this article with my supervisor to review. No matter what you are writing, I always recommend having someone else look at your work – even if they are not involved with your organization. Look out for misspelled words, incorrect grammar, and the over usage of commas. Fortunately, the organization requesting your bio most likely has someone else reviewing your work too. However, in cases that they don’t, it is best to submit the perfect bio without any errors.
About the author . . .
Sabrina Valles prides herself in delivering creative, quality work that helps organizations achieve their marketing and public relations goals. She is excited to return to the marketing and events industry after a short hiatus as an English teacher and as a Chinese language student in China. Currently based in Hangzhou, China, Sabrina volunteers with Danzantes Unidos as its public relations and marketing coordinator, manages the Hangzhou Craft Beer community WeChat group, and facilitates monthly craft beer and homebrew meetups. Some of her work has appeared in the Hangzhou-based expat magazine, REDSTAR and her blog, Simply Crave Beer.