Whether you’re being interviewed on a podcast or interviewing artists as a podcast host yourself, you want to come to it prepared.
Having been on both sides of the mic, I’ve put together some guiding principles that have helped me deliver better interviews. I hope these tips will help you too!
How to prepare for a podcast interview as a musician:
1. Research the podcast
Do your homework. Listen to a few episodes to get a sense of the host’s style. Then you’ll know what kinds of questions they like to ask.
2. Develop talking points for the interview
Review the key things you want to get across to your audience. That way what you most want to say will be top of mind.
3. Ask what to expect during the podcast
If it’s your first podcast and you’re nervous, feel free to ask the host if they could give you an idea of the questions that will be asked!
4. Be YOU during the interview
Don’t aim to be perfect; aim to be yourself! People will connect with you if you’re being authentic. If they don’t connect with your authentic self, then they’re not your people — and that’s okay. We can’t please everyone!
5. Don’t be afraid to request edits
In the event you end up sharing something you wish you hadn’t, get in touch with the host and ask them to omit it. Once I had an artist ask me to edit out every time he said “um.” This is not reasonable. On the other hand, I’ve had many artists reach out post-interview and say something along the lines of “I realized I’m not ready to share the story about X publicly; do you mind not including that when it goes live?” I’m always happy to take those things out, and any podcaster worth their salt will be too!
6. Send press assets to the podcaster
Podcasts hosts (or their team) will need artist assets (usually 1-2 press shots, short bio, social links). Why not send it over before they ask?
How to prepare for a musician interview as a podcaster:
7. Investigate the artist’s web presence
Start by looking at the artist’s bio, social accounts, and website. What jumps out at you? What questions come up for you?
8. Personalize the podcast interview
What is the focus of the artist’s career right now? An album release, tour, video series? While it’s nice to have a few standard questions you ask every guest, you want to make the conversation about what’s most relevant to this artist now.
9. Go deeper into the artist’s story
Listen/watch/read other interviews with the artist! As you do, notice what the artist lights up about. Also take note of things they don’t seem interested in discussing. If you build an interview around the topics the artist is already interested in this will naturally make for a more engaging conversation!
10. Be real, not flawless
This is subjective, but personally I prefer an environment that is conversational, flexible, and organic both as a listener and as a host (i.e. feeling like it’s a real conversation over tea, rather than a stiff question/answer style).
11. Collect press assets up front
Make asset collection simple. In a single email, ask for everything you need (bio, photos, release form, etc.). I do this as soon as the artist is confirmed and then upload the assets to a Dropbox folder so they’re easy to find.
12. Help the artist prep for the podcast interview
Send the artist links to past episodes and/or give them a sense for what types of questions you might ask! If it’s someone you don’t know personally, ask what they would like to talk about and incorporate that into your questions.
Above all, let things flow organically and have fun!
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12 String Guitar