The general idea in society is that only the super famous get media training. Funnily enough, when they completely botch interviews or post legit dumb statements both publicly and privately, the masses flock to blame the publicists. The truth though, lays within the artist’s own ability to read the room, foresee the consequences of their answers, and contextualize them properly as to avoid damaging their brand image. With that being said, here are 5 hard questions you will often face as an upcoming artist and how to dodge them like Gianluigi Buffon.
5. Why was your latest release so long ago?
Usually “long ago” means anything over 6 months in industry terms. That’s when, by general thumb rule, the interest in a song dies out. And of course, as an independent, seriously underfunded artist, you will find yourself in this predicament way more often than you’d like to admit. Well, telling the truth will be deemed as boring. Media publications and bloggers will say you’re just making excuses for your lack of creativity and laziness. Whereas you’re just ridiculously low on money. We don’t know any unsigned artists who have money but are not putting out music. One way to deal with this question would be: “I don’t focus on quantity. I focus on quality. That way, when I do put out something, people pay attention.” Another equally powerful, direct synonym would be: “Familiarity breeds contempt. So I space out my releases.”
4. What do you think about X artist?
Or being compared to X artist. The media LOVES throwing shade where there isn’t any and pitting both men and women against one another. For no reason under the sun should you ever be definitive in giving a negative answer about someone else. NEVER generalize, never speak bad of others even if you truly think they are bad people. Music is very political in its public affairs. You have to have diplomacy, integrity of character, and a fair moral compass to dodge these heavily-charged questions. Be like Whitney and compliment the other artist while clearly separating yourself from them.
3. What did you achieve so far?
We’ve noticed many of you make the transition from a Rap artist to a Pop-infused-Trap commercial sound. That inherently makes your brand seem like it was born yesterday. And even many more of you stumble badly when asked about past achievements as those usually did not come certified or publicized, or worse yet, happened before the internet era. Well, take a note from Eminem: generalize your past work and mention one title or two to solidify your credibility. Achievements are not just Grammy awards or millions of YouTube views. They’re also the many contests you engaged in, the number of CDs you managed to sell out of your trunk, the cumulative number of all the lil’ showcases and open mics you attended, the times somebody important liked your song and followed you, etc. When asked about your success, you decide what you want the interviewer to focus on. NEVER give a negative answer. Compile a list of every small and big thing you’ve done as an artist and memorize the most important ones so you can repeat them off the cuff when asked about it. It’s called knowing how to sell yourself.
2. What do you hate about X thing?
Do NOT, we repeat, do NOT say anything bad about any country, any place, any nationality. Dua Lipa dodged that very provoking, almost disturbing question from the interviewer by addressing him heads-on saying: “I know you really want me to say something bad but my experience in Australia has actually been pretty good.” When someone is trying to corner you and you feel it would be a high risk to truthfully answer that question, refrain from doing so! Answer like Dua Lipa and keep it nice and polite.
1. Insert any offensive, ridiculous question that would get your blood boiling.
When sh*t hits the fan and somebody is straight-up rude to you, you deflect the question by questioning the interviewer’s ability to do his job. Such as Rihanna did with this ignorant lady during a conference press about the movie Battleship. “What a disappointing question!” and smile largely. This question was truly misplaced as it distracted the entire attention from the movie and Rihanna’s co-stars to her private life. Imagine you and your last job’s coworkers went to promote the company’s product and the people watching the presentation ask you if you’re married yet. Pretty dumb, ay?
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