In the 20 or so years that I've been playing live, I have accumulated a wealth of experience in how to entertain an audience. I will stop short of calling myself a wedding singer, as I offer much more than that and I don't want to go all Adam Sandler on you but I have chalked up quite a number of weddings and have honed my craft into a highly professional art. Note that I have not lost any sense of humility in the process either. My purpose is to alleviate the management of your musical entertainment for the entire day and will play for as much or as little as you require. This could include:
Given enough time, I can learn any song you need for whichever part of the day and organise play-lists for when I am not playing myself.
Understandably, some people need a little convincing that one guy with an acoustic guitar can actually get people dancing. The simple answer to that is, "Absolutely, I can!" If you have a willing audience, then I have the songs, the experience and, most importantly, oodles of energy to get you and your esteemed guests onto the dance floor and keep you there.
I would always recommend that you come and see me play live somewhere before you book me. The mp3s on this website are enough to give you an idea of the sound of my vocals and guitar but you won't get the true vibe of a live performance from them. You have to be there, as they say.
This package works just as well for CORPORATE FUNCTIONS and BIRTHDAYS, too. Of course, I'm more than happy to sing a first dance for you and your boss if that's your thing but I've yet to come across a company that is that intimate with its staff. Whatever the event, I use high-end equipment to achieve the best sound and best look possible and can bring along radio mics for any speeches that you have planned. Whilst I only offer my DJ set as an integral part of the live package, I can cater for most musical tastes and I have a good number of LED lights and lasers that would rival even a full-time DJ.
I believe that the music is such an intrinsic part of a party, that you need to make sure you get it right. I will make time to meet you in person to talk through your ideas and to get a feel for what you like. If you're uncertain, I might suggest bringing along some of my musician friends and family to make up a duo or, if we're all free, I can call upon the excellent services of the Chapmen to form a 4-piece party band. And if after all that, you're still not convinced, I will happily recommend alternatives that I think might fit the bill.
Either way, there's really no reason not to get in touch and I'll very much look forward to hearing from you.
My Dad gave me my first guitar when I was 8 and by the age of 13, I had done my first paid gig with him. This trend developed throughout my entire teens, saw me through my degree, accompanied me for 3 years in Italy, a further 2 in Germany and distracted me, on more than one occasion, from the maddening process of understanding my purpose on this planet. So after having been through the usual motions of getting myself a decent education, a little bit of life experience, as well as a few years of a so-called "normal adult" existence (whatever that might be) under my belt, I gave up my "proper job" in the semi-conductor business to become a full-time, professional musician. I was 28 and the year was 2001.
All in all, it has proven to be rather a good decision. Since that fateful day, I have enjoyed an immensely pleasurable existence. Playing music has taken me on many an adventure: it's introduced me to a plethora of fun and interesting people and has generally been my passport to some fabulous places. None of this would have come about had it not been for my decision to sing for my supper.
As with any profession, however, this strangely unique position does have its idiosyncrasies. I don't know many jobs, where strangers come up to you at the end of your working shift and tell you what they thought of you. Good or bad (and I'm happy to report most of it has been effusive), people don't seem to feel the need to hold back; it is a particularly un-British thing to do and an altogether odd concept. There are many more people, such as nurses, teachers, parents, bin men, spouses and the like, who are more deserved of praise for their work than me and probably end the day feeling undervalued. It's probably why so many dream of becoming a rock star, a comedian, an actor or, as seems to be the ridiculous mode at the moment, just plainly "famous"; I can certainly see how that many people showing you adoration becomes addictive.
I try and see the praise for what it is, though. Ultimately, I am responsible for someone's enjoyment of an evening or event and if, in the excitement (and invariably, drunkenness) of it all, people pat me on the back and shout, "good show, good show!" at me, then I am grateful for it but mostly, I am content: it simply means that I have done my job. That said, and in recognition of the fact that I am granted more than my fair share of appraisals, I do endeavor, as much as possible, to acknowledge a job well done wherever I go.
Across the years, I have played and continue to play a myriad variety of venues but possibly the most liberating one of all is the street. Yes, I am also a busker And not just a fair-weather busker at that. In fact, you're more likely to see me busk in the Winter months than in the Summer, for the latter is my busiest time for official bookings and I don't have the space to go busking.
Although to do well you need to approach each session with the same degree of professionalism as you would a normal gig, the atmosphere on the street is that much freer. I think this is because there is no expectation on anyone's part. At a commissioned gig, I am being paid to be there to entertain the audience in front of me and, rightly so I hasten to add, the expectation is that the entertainment will be of a certain quality and include certain songs. By contrast, that expectation doesn't exist in the middle of a pedestrianised city centre, only pleasant surprise when quality entertainment is received. I pitch up, play some wistful tunes and hope that people will appreciate it and, perhaps, drop a coin in the bucket. And many people do.
Whether or not people make a monetary donation, the feedback I get is instantaneous: a smile from an elderly lady, who's reminded of her youth; a nod from a dude, who "digs your toon" but is too cool to let his guard down; a middle-aged chap with downs-syndrome, who comes up and enthusiastically starts telling me how much he loves Girls Aloud, right next to the microphone - even though I'm in the middle of a song by Elton John; a bemused stare from a toddler, who seems to like the sound but doesn't quite know what to make of it or if I'm going to eat him or her.
The music has an effect on so many types of people and any response I get is raw, as these are people going about their normal business. They have no idea what they're going to encounter and the only expectation is to get to the bank on time, to grab that sandwich, to find that special dress, to not bump into so-and-so, to get that toy that Mum and Dad promised, or to meet up with their mate. So when good music wafts into their consciousness, it opens them up unexpectedly. No matter the person, the response is almost child-like, unadulterated in every sense of the word. It shows people in their natural state. They have chosen to respond freely, rather than felt the need to respond due to a contrived environment in which they find themselves; paradoxically, where there is an expectation that fun will be had, it invariably freezes our natural, childish sense of joy and has the opposite effect.
I can bring these observations with me back onto the salaried stage. I see it as my job to break down those inhibitions and imbue a sense of freedom in people because only then can they dance unselfconsciously, laugh unforcedly and talk candidly. I know that's what alcohol is for and Lord knows I enjoy my fair share. But music, aside from being my livelihood, has opened many more a door for me than any amount of inebriation could ever have achieved. For that, I am eternally thankful and hope that I can continue to grow within its sanctity and pass on even more of the love it has afforded me.
|Age:||In Oak Barrels|
|Height:||Verging on dizzy|
|Waist:||Just below the belly button - Why, isn't yours???|
|Inside Leg:||All present and correct!|
|Hair:||Pretty much everywhere - blame it on my mother, she's Italian, you see!|
|Eyes:||Almost always crossed|
|Favourite Food:||My Grandmother's homemade lasagne: to die for - she's Italian, you see!|
|Least Favourite Food:||YukDonald's|
|Least Favourite Colour:||Magnolia|
|Favourite Cheese:||Stilton or goat's cheese|
|Least Favourite Cheese:||Mild cheddar|
|Favourite Song to Play:||May You Never|
|Least Favourite Song to Play:||Brown-Eyed Girl (Well, can't anyone think of anything more original!?!? ... and anything by Oasis (some great songs, chaps, but why are you both so oafish!?!|
|Least Favourite Word:||Nice|
|Most Precious Thing:||Trust|
|Pet Hate/an excuse for a rant:||Well, it used to be people who insist on driving in the middle lane on the motorway but I've now got a new one: traffic lights on roundabouts. What pillock dreamed up that one??? The whole point of a roundabout is to increase the flow of traffic at a junction. So, let's stick a set of traffic lights on there to stop it all flowing, and turn it back into the type of junction it would've been anyway had they not built a roundabout. The really clever bit is that no-one knows how it's supposed to work because it's neither a junction, nor a roundabout, so you get double the mayhem. Fantastic idea! You queue to get on it. You queue to get around it. And you queue to get off it. And when you do get on it, you can't even make it to the next bloody set of lights because there are cars backed up, stopping you getting there. All the while, engines are idling, sending even more unnecessary fumes into the atmosphere. And what's more, they've spoilt all the fun of driving round the roundabout just for the hell of it! Godforsaken meddlars!|
|He Says:||Focus on the now, give it all the love you have, then yesterday and tomorrow will be just dandy!|
|They Say:||Get a proper job!|
|Other:||Oh, yeah! Did I mention that I sing and play the guitar rather well and have been for about 20 years? Gizza gig!|