Broken Records Magazine’s Markos Papadatos gives insights to college students, aspiring writers and journalists on how to interview their favorite musician or band.
Whether it is a country singer, pop sensation, r & b, rock, heavy metal or world music artist, interviewing your favorite celebrity for a music magazine (whether it’s a print, online, or digital or college newspaper publication), may be one of the most rewarding moments of a new freelance or veteran journalist’s writing career.
From my own personal experience and many years of conducing phone and on-site interviews, here are a few things to keep in mind before doing a phone interview or in-person interview with your favorite musician or band.
If you want to interview a specific artist, let your editor know, and they will put in the request out for you, or give you the permission to do so on their behalf.
If the interview request is granted (most of which are via phone), do some research on that artist/band, by reading and looking through the press releases, artist bios, and photos that were sent via the publicist or manager.
Once your interview is granted and confirmed, make sure you have the correct time slot and date for the interview. Double check with the time zones (EST, CT, PST), since the artist may be in a different part of the country than you.
Be prepared for at least half an hour before, in case they call you early. At the same time, if you don’t hear within 15-20 minutes after your assigned time, contact your editor, and they will get in touch with the publicist who organized the interview for you, and they will tell you what is going on.
It is recommended to always have a recorder with working batteries, and possible a back-up recorder, in the event that anything were to happen to your original recorder. Also, have 2 to 3 working pens with you, to jot quick notes down, as you are doing the interview. (If you use a recorder for your interview, always have two spare new batteries, just in case).
When the musician or band member calls you, thank them for doing the interview with you, and ask them if it is okay to record them on tape. (99% of musicians would NOT mind to have their voices recorded; that way you do not make any mistakes as you quote them).
In your article, make sure to include quotes from your conversation with the artist/band.
At the end of the phone interview or in-person conversation, thank the musician again for taking the time to speak with you.
It recommended that you do not procrastinate. Write the article within 2-3 days after your interview. That way, it is still fresh in your mind. (If you wait weeks to type it up, it’ll seem confusing and you will have most likely have forgotten the majority of what you spoke about).
Most importantly, kick back and enjoy your interview!!!
In the end, once the article is published, always make sure to send a copy of the interview link (or if it’s a print publication, a hard copy) to the publicist, or manager, who helped organize the interview for you.
That way, you showcase your professionalism, and you establish a good rapport and relationship with that PR firm.