Reader Question: What are some questions to ask musicians during an interview?
Answer: If you're a music journalist or are going to be interviewing a musician for whatever reason, it's important to ask the right questions. The right questions will make the musicians look good, as well as make for a better interview for your magazine, blog, video, or whatever medium it is you're doing this interview for.
Below I'll share with you some of the best musician interview questions I can think of. These questions will be suitable for singers, rappers, producers, and music artists of all sorts.
Before that though, I want to give you some tips on how to carry out a great interview with a musicians. As you'll see below, it's important you personalize the questions you ask to each specific person you're interviewing.
So read on to the bottom for all the info.
How To Do A Good Interview With A Musician
Before I go into the set question ideas you can ask, I want to give you a very important tip:
Adapt to the musician in front of you!
What do I mean by this? Simple, research your subject and what they're all about!
Learn what songs and albums they've released before, look into what gigs they've performed at, and find out if there are any big ‘talking points' surrounding their name.
For example, if you do your research into them and find out they've been dating someone who's also in the public spotlight, you may want to ask them about this.
Or if you've found out they've had a falling out or ‘twitter beef' with another artist, you may also want to inquire into this.
It's important you don't cover anything that will make the musicians walk out of the interview though or anything they'd hate you for, as you need to remember that part of the reason they're doing the interview is to promote themselves.
Therefore they won't want to talk about anything that will tarnish their image, or that they're not comfortable with. Not only will this harm them, but it'll often harm you if word gets out that you're someone to avoid when it comes to interviews.
I'd still encourage you to get personal and find out the ‘real musician' though. This will help you stand out from the crowd, and allow you to conduct a interview that their fans will actually want to see.
If all your interview consists of is “my album is out in”, “I love my fans”, and “buy my album”, you won't get many people paying attention to your interview or sharing it around.
How To Make A Musician Comfortable During An Interview (And Why You Need To)
Most medium to high level musicians are pre-trained to have set answers during an interview. It's your job as the interviewer to break down these barriers, and get them out of the routine of answering with their premade answers too much.
How can you do this? Well while there are a number of ways, some of the best ways are to:
Make The Musician Laugh
If you can make the person you're interviewing laugh, there's a good chance you'll have them being the real them. Even if they've prepared, real laughs can't be forced or held back; if you find something funny you find it funny.
This also makes it more likely that they're react to the question or whatever is happening based on emotion. This is ideal for you.
Ask The Interviewee Random Questions
As I mentioned, you need to try and steer them away from their premade answers, and have them really giving you a two way conversation. One of the best ways to do this?
By asking them random questions they never thought they'd ever be asked. I've put a couple of examples of the type of random questions under the ‘Top Ten Questions To Ask A Musician In An Interview' section below, so check that out for an idea of what you can ask.
Get your subject to feel fully comfortable, and usually it leads to a much better interview.
Music Journalists, Be Respectful Of The Musicians No Go Subjects
Before the interview starts, you may find that you get given a list of things the musician doesn't want to talk about. If this happens, it's important you're respectful of these wishes and don't touch on any of the mentioned subjects.
If you do, not only are you betraying the good faith these people had to agree to do an interview with you in the first place, but you'll also be spoiling your own reputation as well.
If you ignored a list and made your interviewee uncomfortable, how many musicians do you think will want to get interviewed by you in future? That's right, not many.
So respect any ‘no go' areas, and make your interview work without them.
Note: Sometimes a list won't be given, but you'll do research and find an area you won't be sure if you should cover. Use your best judgment to work out if this subject is worth bringing up during your interview or not.
Top Ten Questions To Ask A Musician In An Interview
Ok, so on to the main event. Here are 10 great questions you can ask musicians during your next interview.
Remember, the aim is to not only find out more about their music, but to find out more about the person. This is what people listening to this interview are going to want to find out about, so give the people what they want.
You can use as many or as few as you want, but just be sure to personalize them to your singer, rapper or producer using the above tips:
- If you didn't become a musician, what would you be doing right now?
- What is the weirdest or funniest question you've ever been asked in an interview?
- What do you feel is the best song you've ever released and why?
- Which musician would you like to collaborate with next?
- If you can have your fans remember one thing about you, what would it be?
- *A random funny question, such as* ‘If you could be a fruit, which one would you be and why?'. Or ‘On a scale of 1 to 9401, how good is your new single compared to your last one?'.
- What got you into music?
- If you could date any other musician (Or celebrity), who would it be and why?
- Do you think you could get any better as a musician? And if so, how would you achieve that?
- If you had one message to give to your fans, what would it be?
As I mentioned before, these are just a guideline of what you can ask during an interview. To get the best results, I suggest you do some research into what the musician is all about, and ask questions based on that. This will give you the most revealing interview, and ones that fans will really enjoy. And the more people enjoy the interview, the more they share it round. The more it's shared, the more popular you'll become, and the more interviews you'll get in future.
So there you have it, how to get the most out of an interview with a musician. Feel free to use those above questions if you like.
Remember though, the best interviews are ones with personalized questions that get the real info fans want to hear about. So put some time in to research the person you're interviewing, and create some questions based on that.