The Art of the Interview

Inevitably, all EntreMusicians will need to interact with Multimedia to Promote an Event or Project. I have been blessed to be able to have access to Radio, TV & Print in my region due to my involvement as a former Radio Producer for the legendary, late Dan Ryan Talk Show on WKBN’s 570AM. Although this has been decades ago, the Tips & Tricks I picked up by being on “both sides of the glass” have been invaluable in helping me spread my message. Here are a few things I have learned:

1) Have a Voice. 

Be Able to Stylize a Tone, Sense of Enunciation and a Presence that whether People are Able to See You or Not, they are Sure that You are You! I will Never Forget the Excitement that My Brother-in-Law, Phil The Beat & I felt as Teenagers when we heard our hero, Roger Troutman being interviewed on Cleveland’s Power 108, WDMT. And, he had his Talk Box with him on the Radio! This left an Indelible Impression on Us and We Could Not Wait to get his New Album and go to the show. Listening to Bootsy Collins was More Exciting than hearing Frankie Beverly interview, although Both of their Music remains as some of the Most Enduring of the Soul era.

Also, Intelligence Does Not supercede Style On the Air – if this is in line with Your Overall Imagery. Some Artists prefer to appear Downright Stupid, ala Favor Flav, because their image is what Moves the Sales. The important thing is to Know Your Voice and Always employ it while Branding Your Art.

I developed a “Radio Voice” before going to work on the Dan Ryan Show, as I was previously an On Air Gospel DJ at WGFT 1500-AM. When I am being interviewed on Radio, I often, ‘go there’ by default – but it sounds trite on Stage and on TV, so I’m more comfortable in my natural voice.

2) Possess a Look

Tape (Hard Drives) & Cameras are most unforgiving. Ditto everything I said above, but apply it to the Visual. Have Your Concept DOWN and make sure you get plenty of opinions and a consensus if you can’t afford a fashion designer. Not all Colors, Blends and Fabric are You – again, unless Your Act is Stark, Shocking or downright Disgusting. Making Absolutely Sure that You are Captivating on TV is far different than Your Stage Persona (unless you’ll be performing live on TV!) often EMs dress according to the Artisry, just keep in mind that People will be Looking a Lot Closer to You on their Big Screen, Deciphering Everything about You – a mole, crooked teeth, earrings, etc., because these features/flaws either bring Your Fans closer to you or alienate them. 

I recall how crazy I looked going on TV once to Interview with Sunglasses on. I was Naive. It Was Stupid! I think I destroyed the VHS!

3) Have Fun!

Once You’ve Established Your Voice & Your Visual, it’s time to Relax, Have Fun, Be Confident and Engage Your Artist. Too Many Musicians come off as if their Guitar Chops are as Serious & Important as the next missile strike in the Middle East. They present themselves as aloof, unapproachable with devoid of a funny bone. These decisions contain poison that both the Interviewer and their Public repel. It’s Not That Serious! Your Mission is to Make a Connection, not Create a Chasm. Even Prince learned to smile.

4) Share a Story.

Personal. Profound. Transparent. Everything is Not Perfect in Your World and No One Expects it to be. Identify Your Humanity and Relate to Others. Reveal  Mistakes that have happened on Stage or in the Studio, Your Daughter’s Favorite Artist (which is definitely not you) or why your Bass Player really needed stitches right after the show are all great topics. By All Means, Share Your Dreams. I Always Do. They Compel Others to Dream With Me!

5) Ask Questions

Yep. The forgotten Secret. Every Interviewer wants to be Involved in the Process. Some will out talk their guests. Others will be straightforward and just fire away (after all there are time restraints), but Don’t be Afraid to Trade Places. Don’t Make the Interview just about You & Yours! Expressing a Genuine care in those kind enough to give You Airtime gets You repeated visits, puts all the participants at ease and provides the Audience additional insight to the program’s host.

I frequently turn tables on Interviewers, especially when I am feeling nervous. It causes me to build some confidence when I see how others handle the unexpected question. I am able to Relax.

6) Know What You Are Talking About

There’s Nothing Worse than Radio Silence or the Proverbial Deer in the Headlights look. You Avoid these discomforts by knowing Your Art, Abilities and Industry. Keep the Dialogue Limited to What You Do Know and If You Don’t Know, Do Not Pretend. Also, Do Not Avoid the Question or Play Politician, Be Honest and Say You Don’t Know, You May Not Have Heard or are Simply Uninterested in Answering that Particular Question. And Smile.

I put my Size 10 & A 1/2 in My Mouth Twice On Radio when I Pretended to Know More about the subject matter. I tried to Play Expert in a Den of Experts and the World knew (at least that one) I Was a Fraud. I Avoided Mirrors for Two Weeks. 

7) Don’t Lie

Ever. 

This includes Exaggerations. Read My Experience Above – Again. 

If You’ve Only Sold 1000 Downloads, don’t make it 2000. How Many Accurate Unique Hits do you get per week? Be Accurate. Stay Honest. Avoid Hype.
8) Get Over Yourself

At the End of the Interview, the Conversation should not be “about” YOU, albeit concerning You, Your Projects, etc. You’ll Gain More Ground and Respect by Intentionally Making Your Airtime about Your Host, Sponsors, Fans and Most Definitely other Artists You Admire and have influenced Your Career. If there is a Ministry, Charity or Cause You Champion & Support, mention them. Always Be Charitiable & Generous in Your Positive Comments of Others.

Hope This Helps. Below are a few links to Interviews I’ve done, including my Very First TV Interview.

Explaining SounDoctrine on Loose Change: http://youtu.be/zHfaHWvnEzc

Once Upon A Madonna: http://youtu.be/h7dqD3k3lGw

My First Time: http://youtu.be/B8xE7aF8-zw

Radio – Randy Allar, The Fusion Show: http://youtu.be/oK7hSbenFHo

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