A lot of artistes, especially upcoming ones, don’t know how to do media interviews (radio/tv). Some just feel ‘I have to be on radio or tv and just answer yes or no to questions and that’s it’.
Hmm. Well, if that’s what you think then you will have to relearn or unlearn and evolve.
While driving in traffic, I listened to an interview on Beat 99 FM Lagos and I realized I would feel bad if I didn’t touch on this topic.
Only a few artistes especially the upcoming, rising ones, are able to do radio/tv interviews that people can find interesting enough to check out their work. Most of them assume their work (talent/song/album) will speak for them. But they fail to realize that a good/great interview has the capability to bring you new fans, as well as open new doors personally and for your music. It also gives listeners pertinent information about you or your brand that they ordinarily would get elsewhere.
Some artistes aren’t able to do good interviews because they don’t know how and are too embarrassed to ask questions so they can learn. Most refuse to ask for coaching or pointers so they can have an idea of how to respond or answer radio/tv interview questions. Others are either too full of themselves to answer the interviewers’ questions properly, or they aren’t fluent or eloquent enough to express themselves, so they resort to giving short replies or yes/no responses to questions.
An interview on radio or tv is supposed to give your fans information about you that will tell them who you really are, enough to keep them interested in you as well as gain you new ones. The purpose of every interview is to tell the listeners/viewers about you, your works as an artiste and if you are currently promoting any new work, give them detailed insight about whatever project(s) you are working on or song that you are promoting at the time of the interview. It helps you promote not just your music but you yourself as well as your views too.
Every time an interviewer asks a question, the goal for an artiste should be to respond in a way that will not only answer the question in depth but also give listeners/fans food for thought. It’s either you are letting them know you are working on a new project (single or album) or to give out information about you that your fans would like to hear or know about. But some artistes give monosyllabic answers leaving the listeners with more questions. Some aren’t able to express themselves fluently in English so it inhibits them and limits their answers.
As an artiste if you cannot express yourself in English, find a way to respond in a language you are eloquent or fluent in.
Always speak into the microphone, make sure your voice is audible and clear from the studio monitor speakers(another reason to come early so the level of your mic can be checked) Rehearse before every interview or find a coach or someone who can help put you through the paces. That way you will be prepared. If it’s possible, try to find out the kind of questions you will be asked or that the interviewer is most likely going to ask you. Or simply have your team, where possible specify the kind of questions you can be asked.
If all that isn’t possible then come early for the interview so you can talk to the presenter/OAP/interviewer and find out the likely questions they will ask you. It’s also known as ‘prepping the guest’ before the interview. Most presenters/OAPs will always give you hints about the kind of questions they will be asking you or sometimes there’s a pre-interview off air to help you relax and catch your breath before going on-air/live for the interview proper.
Often times all the above cannot/don’t happen simply because the artiste doesn’t come early for the interview or runs late and so the presenters/OAP is in a rush to get the interview in and so fails to prepare the artiste. This is another reason it is advised that as an artiste always try to get to the venue of any interview at least 30mins before the scheduled time. That way you won’t be out of breath, harried, or too flustered to answer questions calmly and eloquently.
Remember the reason for the interview is not to test your English speaking skills or fluency but your eloquence in answering the questions you are asked.
Yes, being fluent in English helps but the aim is to pass information and impart knowledge about you and your craft to listeners and fans alike. So clear your mind, don’t get ahead of your thoughts, because at times it makes you too unsettled to answer questions succinctly. Monosyllabic responses don’t help you nor does it allow your listeners to feel like they gained knowledge about you from the interview.
Give responses that will allow the listener or your fans to know a bit more about you each time. Tell them about your vision and the reason for doing what you do, help them gain access to your music and life.
Help to intend fans discover you and your music by drawing them in, with straight-to-the-point answers. Sometimes you can tell a joke before answering a question and then take time to respond properly. If possible and where necessary give detailed replies or instances. Always respond to questions directly and remember most times you have just 60secs for each question.
So while being elaborate make sure to be as precise as you can without being abrupt or boring with your repliesInterviews are one of the ways fans gain insight about an artiste they like/love. It is also one of the ways that help artistes keep their already existing fans, gain new ones, and show people their personality.
So always be prepared like a boy scout because it helps your fans and people who hear you understand your perspective beyond your artistry. It also shows them that you are human, interesting, and much more than what they see on social media, hear in the news or see on tv.