Extra! Extra! Read All About You!
By Carla Hall, MusicDish.com
What the hell is a press kit? It's your demo, photo, and bio. Who
needs a press kit? You do. Also known as a promo package, a press
kit will open doors to a record deal, gigs, and press interviews.
Create your own marketing ruckus, and the industry will be on you
like stank on sh*t.
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Since your press kit is your calling card, you better
take the time to decide what you want people to know about you.
Ruff Ryder's Eve makes sure that her photos are tight. She says,
"I want the photos to show that I'm sexy, strong, and feminine."
And way before Nelly Furtado hooked up with Missy and Timbaland,
she walked into soon to be manager Chris Smith's office with a package
that reflected her personality. "She took a lo-fi approach to her
kit, which was about $9 worth of photos from one of those booths
in the mall, and an essay which was just stream of consciousness
writing of what she thought, and how she felt about music," says
Smith, "It wasn't about 'This is the best shit since such and such,
and I'm gonna take over the world because I'm good.' The photos
were very spontaneous, and the free form writing thing was just
touching, and people fell for it."
Get Your Paper. Imagine an A&R person's desk,
covered with tapes and press kits. Which one will get listened to
first? To create inexpensive stationery, have a creative friend
design a letterhead for you and take it to a copy center like Kinko's.
Or for a special touch, bring along paper from www.paperaccess.com.
Some of the hottest kits are color folders with your materials in
the pockets. According to Ariel Hyatt of Ariel Publicity, whose
roster includes Parliament's Bernie Worrell, "Stationery makes you
look more professional. Would you take a company seriously if they
didn't have any letterhead?"
And You Are? Your bio is next, and should read
like an article. Many editors are swamped for time, and may quote
your bio word for word. No longer than one page, it should say who
you are, while avoiding a lot of hype. Describe your music in a
unique way early in the bio, so editors don't have to search for
it. If you decide to write it yourself, have someone else check
it for misspelling and over-hyped clichˇs. But Ariel adds, "You
may be a great musician, but you may not be great at capturing how
you sound on paper. If you hate writing, or you're not down with
it, get someone else to do it."
Smile Pretty. Whether you're a thug Romeo or
a downtown diva, your photo is an opportunity to show your personality
as an artist. When you're trying to get press in your hometown newspaper
or Billboard magazine, it's important to have a clear, professional
quality photo. A black and white, 8 x 10 picture will do the job,
just make sure that your music and your image are consistent. Jonathan
Mannion, whose portfolio includes Ja Rule, Jay-Z, Eminem, and others,
believes that it's not difficult to find a photographer that fits
in your budget. He says, "Be resourceful. Sometimes the assistants
of the heavy hitters are incredible photographers in their own right.
You can also find people at art schools that have a good eye."
Weed it Out. Filling up your press kit with
club ads of your performances is a waste of space, and no one wants
to read them but you. If you only have a bio, that is enough to
start. When you start getting press, limit your clippings to about
five of your best, and work on getting more new ones. Ariel continues,
"Press clippings should be no more than four pages of white double
sided press clips, and leave it at that."
Work It. Take the time to present a consistent
image. Says Chris Smith, "You need the music to back it up, but
you should be well-rounded. The photos, your music, and the information
you give about yourself should be connected."
by the MusicDish
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It 2004 - Republished with Permission