Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Singer's Interview: Four Preparation Tips for Doing it Right

When singers interview with the media, they might want to bear in mind that today’s overly competitive entertainment market makes both what you say and the way you present yourself important. One simple miscalculated communication can have a lifelong affect on a singer’s career. An entertainer better have a strategy and at least some kind of plan before taking on the mass media.

So, you might ask yourself, how does one prepare for a singer's interview? The answer is simple: decide what you want to accomplish during this interview and then practice until you get it right. If possible, spend time working with a professional media coach; a good one is well worth the money. If a media coach is not an option, there are four tips below that you can do on your own to prepare for media interviews of all types: print, radio, and television.

1. Plan carefully so you are certain to cover all the bases that are important to you during your interview. If you have a new single or album coming out or are going on tour, tell your host that you want to share the story behind the song, the album, or something that happened once when you were on tour. Use your imagination, be creative, plan these stories out, write them out in advance and practice telling them.

Ask if you can provide your interviewer with talking points or give your host producer a list of topics you wish to discuss, but don’t believe for a minute the list will actually be followed. You never know when the host may have their own agenda.

2. If you are adept at improvisation, scan the local newspaper or local news stations of their city for a current or recent event that will help foster a dialog between you and your host. Your interview will be more engaging if you plan ahead and tell tried-and-true compelling stories, paint vivid pictures, make self-deprecating jokes. Practice in front of a video camera by getting a friend to help you do mock interviews. Prepare for the interview as you would any other performance -- because it is.

3. Know your vulnerabilities and plan your escape from difficult questions. Don't be surprised if that day you skipped class in third grade comes back around to haunt you, so make a record of everything you may not want to discuss. Write out your answers and rehearse them.

Keep practicing your responses until they become a believable part of who you are. When a model-thin friend of mine is asked about her weight, her response is always the same, “My father always told me that any woman who would tell the truth about her weight would lie about anything.” By the time the interviewer has digested that paraprosdokian (occurs when latter part of the sentence is unexpected), the door has closed on the subject.

But, if you do get sandbagged by an embarrassing question, either maintain control and confront the issue or simply say, “I think that’s one question I won’t be answering today.” And I cannot emphasize enough, that you should never say anything “off the record.” There is no “off the record.

4. Rehearsing with your video camera will help you become aware of your body language so you can make corrections if necessary. Monitor your practice videos for unnecessary movement such as licking your lips, blinking your eyes excessively, or swinging your legs. Practice being fluid with your movements as you communicate, but be on guard for any tics that make you look nervous. If you look nervous people assume you are hiding something.

Practice makes perfect, so the more you work in front of a camera, the more confident you will feel and the better you will present yourself.

Nashville vocal coach Renee Grant-Williams reveals the trade secrets that have already helped hundreds of aspiring singers become celebrities: Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Dixie Chicks, Miley Cyrus, Huey Lewis, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Jason Aldean, Christina Aguilera...

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For help preparing to interview with the media go to MyVoiceCoach.com or call 615.244.3280 to schedule a private voice session in person, by telephone or by Skype.

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