wedding singer perth
Wedding Singer Advice
A wedding singer should not be something that you choose based on price alone. Of course this has to be within your budget but if you are planning a wedding you should have a considerable budget to work with. These days it’s not enough just to be a wedding singer, you need to have the skills to get people on the dance-floor as a DJ as well. It’s not so important to beat-match as it is to read the crowd and play the appropriate kind of music at the appropriate time.
The wedding singer you choose should be somebody that you speak to on the phone rather than just email. As everyone knows, email has no tone so it’s not as easy to get a feel of someone’s personality. If you phone them and have a quick chat about your wedding, you will get a feel for them and find out if they are socially comfortable. Because even though you would think someone who is an entertainer would be comfortable speaking with people, you might be surprised to learn that some of them are not. This can be a sign that the performance may be introverted. So on the phone you will get a feel for them and find out if they are socially comfortable. Therefore you need to find someone that you click with personally.
You will find a lot of different kinds of wedding singers, those that play a lot of Aussie classics. They are the type of musician that has been doing many pub gigs. You will find more jazzy singers which can be appropriate for the early part of the evening. And you will find all-rounders. Those are the type of musician that have been doing weddings for a long time and have perfected their playlist.
As the wedding singer myself, and as someone who has won many awards in this industry, I find that a solid mix of young and old songs to try to please everyone at some stage is the best formula for being a successful night. Also a side note, if you make the performer feel comfortable at the wedding by at least smiling to them or coming over to say a quick hello, that can really help the musician relax and be comfortable in front of a crowd of people they have never met. Although we do this all the time, it really does help because every gig is different.
Being a great wedding singer is only half of the battle though. What clients really want is a good time on the dance-floor. They want all their friends to get up and dance all that nervous energy away. This is when you need to draw on your DJ skills. It does seem easy to simply press play and turn the volume up, but I can tell you from experience it really does take experience and a lot of common sense to choose the right songs. Not only the right songs but there are lots of intros to songs that are quite long so it’s important to start from when the beat kicks in. Because a full dance floor can be lost within 10 seconds so you have to be on your game.
I enjoy DJing and getting everyone pumped and into the mood having a great time, but my real passion is acoustic guitar and vocals. I started out 12 years ago as a wedding singer in Perth and I have loved it ever since. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I added DJing into the mix. Becoming a full package for clients and their music needs on their wedding day. I have had my share of mistakes and misread crowds but as I grow and learn, after a decade of doing this full-time I have honed my craft to hit the mark 95% of the time. No one is ever going to have successful gigs 100% of the time. There are too many variables that can interfere with a great gig. But I always make sure I am there with plenty of time to set up, I always make sure I have all the information and song choices from the clients clear and on a timeline that is understood. I always have a playlist that is filled with songs from the client. All of these details add to becoming a successful wedding singer and DJ in Perth.
Ceremony Music Advice
MUSIC FOR WEDDING CEREMONIES:
Ceremony music is an important decision. Music is so emotive so choosing the right songs for the right moments is crucial. Invest a little more time thinking about this than perhaps your music playlist for the reception. Don’t rush into this because you have a favourite song, think about the feel of the ceremony. A ceremony is a very formal affair. An important half hour and quite a dramatic thing. (In a good way).
THINK ABOUT THE EVENT ITSELF
When choosing the music, whether it be live or from a CD or iPod, make sure you factor in the emotional feel of the event itself. This is arguably the most important few moments of your life, so make it powerful. Music can create an atmosphere like nothing else. As a musician I would offer this advice. Select something that means a great deal to you, but also something that has a rhythm and feel conducive to an epic event to set the ‘dramatic’ tone of the ceremony, especially for the walk down the aisle.
WHAT NOT TO CHOOSE
Try to avoid choosing your favourite party song or anything that is too ‘happy’ or fast. Although this is a very happy event, having happy music can often make light of an event which deserves more serious reflection. I would suggest using your favourite party song for the first song after the bridal dance at the reception, when all the formalities are over and it really is time to party.
LIVE OR CD?
Live: It is nice to have a live musician to play for the ceremony, it adds not only the live sound, but a visual addition to the ceremony. It is also a nice feel for when guests arrive. A little tip: Make sure you ask your musician to start playing prior to your arrival as some will just play from the walk down the aisle. Specifically ask them to ‘warm up’ your guests with some nice background music that isn’t overpowering and just sits nicely behind the excited chatter of your guests. The only downside of the live option is that it can be expensive for this option because the musician has to take time to set up and play for just a few songs, so they will generally charge a few hundred. I charge 3 – $400 for ceremonies depending on location.
CD: If you have favourite songs that are from divas such as Mariah Carey or Celine Dion, it may be best to choose the CD option. Similarly if you want something that is highly produced or requires a big sound such as an orchestra, it is impossible for one musician to recreate that kind of sound so go with the CD. If you are timing your walk because you have a few in the bridal party and you want to arrive at a certain climax of the song, it may be best to rehearse with the original track so you know exactly where you are and when.
WHAT SONGS FOR WHEN:
I have done hundreds of ceremonies and it almost always breaks down into 4 song choices. 1: The Processional. (The walk down the aisle). This song needs to be the most dramatic, emotional and powerful song of the bunch. 2 and 3: The Signing. Many couples only choose one song for this but it usually times out to be one and a half songs. These songs can be nice love songs with a positive vibe. Not as emotional as the first, but more emotional than the last. 4. The recessional: This is when your celebrant will announce to the world those famous words, “I now give you, for the first time as husband and wife, Mr and Mrs Johnson” The music needs to jump in right at that moment and be a very up-beat, happy tune, preferably something that most people would know.
Remember these are just guidelines from my experience as a musician and there are no hard fast rules. If you want to walk down the aisle to The West Coast Eagles or Dockers theme song, then go for it. It is your day and you are the boss so go with what you think will make a memorable wedding ceremony to remember for all time.
John McEnroe on Same Sex Marriage
John Mcenroe, the self appointed commissioner of tennis has a bone to pick it seems. A video has surfaced on YouTube of Mr Mcenroe having a swipe at Australian tennis legend Margaret Court. It is quite well known that Mrs Court will cast a no vote in the plebiscite on same sex marriage and John has something to say about it.
JOHN MCENROE V MARGARET COURT
Margaret Court is Australia’s most successful tennis player of all time. Technically she holds the record for most grand slam singles titles of anyone in history, making her on paper, the greatest single player of all time. This however is very arguable because it was before the open era but nonetheless a champion.
She has recently been in the news for a very different reason and she’s not so popular this time around. Margaret is a staunch opposer of same sex marriage. A christian traditionalist who voiced her opposition on TV and has since received some harsh criticism from same sex marriage advocates. She has also been dumped as a board member of her local tennis club in Cottesloe and banned from the club.
McEnroe uses a light hearted tone in his quite funny video but his disdain is obvious.He states that given the controversy over renaming or not, Margaret Court Arena, once same sex marriage is legal in Australia, he will call his good friend Elton John, fly to Australia with him and host the biggest same sex marriage mass ceremony ever seen – wait for it – in Margaret Court Arena.
Somehow I don’t think John and Marge will be doing brunch anytime soon.
Wedding DJ – What to look for
Your reception will be subliminally orchestrated by the music. Just as you don’t really notice the music in a movie, without it, the whole thing would be simply boring. The same is to be said for wedding music. Choosing the right DJ can make your wedding instead of breaking it. Here’s what to look for when making that decision.
Being a DJ is synonymous with cool. But don’t take it for granted. You don’t want someone turning up who thinks they are cool but they are caught in a time vortex and turn up looking like Boy George. Make sure they are dress appropriate for a wedding by checking out their pics. You also want to make sure their equipment looks presentable and they are neat and tidy, with up-to-date equipment. Some are messy and some are clean. You can usually tell which is which by the way they handle their cables. Choose one who has some attention to details and knows how to set up in a presentable way.
Wedding DJ’s are paid quite well so being professional and respecting that pay-cheque is a must for any wedding supplier. It’s quite easy to get a feel for this even on email. If your wedding DJ is prompt with their replies, friendly and eager to please on the phone, then this is a good sign that they will deliver. A ‘nothing is too difficult’ approach to song requests is also a positive sign. Different clients have different requests. Some clients are happy to just choose a couple of songs for first dance or cake cutting, while others request a long list of songs from their guests or from their own taste. It is preferable for a DJ to have creative license but they also need to be aware and accommodating to multiple song requests.
Tip – A good DJ will know that a lot of the requested songs may not work on the dancefloor so they will request from you the discretion to override that and use something they know will keep the vibe up.
THEY ARE APPROACHABLE
Having a snobby DJ with a serious ‘don’t approach me’ face can sometimes get people offside. So a friendly and happy looking person behind the console can make guests feel comfortable to approach if they have requests.
READING THE ROOM
This one is probably the most essential. Some people have large egos and if they are in charge of the music, you may be in for a lucky dip. These people will play whatever is cool in their mind, which may not be cool in yours, or your guests. Reading the room may not seem like it, but it’s a skill. It’s not as easy as it looks and when you are trying to please all ages with music, you are not going to. So your DJ must have the ability to play a little bit of everything during the evening to please these tastes. As a general rule for me as a DJ in Perth, I will generally start with some up tempo 60’s music. Early in the night and particularly after the first dance, almost everyone is on the d-floor. So to start with some heavy hip-hop may not be the best idea because you will lose anyone over 40.
The 60’s was a light hearted, fun and energetic era which seems to strike a chord with all ages. Now this will work for only so long, so it’s important to read the crowd and gauge the age of everyone that is left. Usually moving onto 80’s music which seems to have the same effect on most ages. Playing this early also gives the more mature guests a chance to dance before they sink into a chair and enjoy a chat with a glass of red. From here on in I base it on age and just do the math. What were these people listening to as teenagers? This is a good formula and tends to work pretty well. All weddings are different and a DJ will never please everyone, but as long as we connect with most people, our job is done. Sometimes if I can feel it’s not working well, I will ask someone on the dancefloor what music their friends like. This can also help.
Just as a good DJ will know what to play on the dancefloor, they should know what to play for speeches and ‘dead air’. Sometimes a client will choose songs for speeches and sometimes not. When they don’t, I think it’s important to have generic and humorous songs, (or snippets), for the walk of the speaker from their seat to the lectern. This eradicates that awkward dead air and can give a little comic relief to the audience. For example I always play Darth Vader’s Imperial March for the father of the bride. It never fails to get a laugh.
KNOWING WHEN TO TONE IT DOWN
A wedding reception goes for quite a long time so it’s important for your DJ to be aware of some light and shade. Music is great but at certain times needs to be ambient and give people a little space from it. Such as when people are eating. A good DJ will instinctively know when to lower the volume and what kind of background music will suit. He will know that it’s not about him, it’s about them, and the atmosphere to create. If people look like they are leaning in to speak to the person next to them, it’s time to turn down.
CUSTOMIZING TO SUIT
Every client will have different musical requirements. One size does not fit all and it is important for your DJ to know what your tastes are. While one couple might love R&B and Rap, another might enjoy Pop and Country. A good DJ will listen carefully to what you require and will make notes. I for one have many weddings in a row and can forget which client wanted what kind of music. So I will make sure I write everything down. I source the music a few days prior to the weddings so they are fresh in my mind and I make playlists to go with my notes. This is a fail-safe recipe for a successful night. I will also print out emails if I have not personally met with the client to ensure I haven’t missed anything. With the resources today on the internet, it is possible to source almost any song, so a patient and organized DJ is a good DJ.
A LOVE FOR THEIR JOB
It shouldn’t matter how many weddings a DJ has done, they should always try to enjoy what they are doing and realize that although this is just another night for them, it is the happiest time of someone else’s life. Someone else that is paying good money for you to play music. A great DJ will be memorable not only because of the great music, but because of the level of enthusiasm they have for what they do.
Take time in considering who you will choose to DJ your wedding reception. Some DJ’s are musicians, like myself, and provide a live portion of the evening, usually early on over meals, and switch into DJing for later on when the mood turns to a party. Either way, my advice would be to choose someone with experience and a normal ego, not a large one. This way you will know that they will be doing the right thing by you and have your best interests at heart. Good luck!
Wedding music has connotations of being a little cheesy and tends to bring to mind images of long walks on the beach, picnic blankets and happily ever after sunsets. But being in the wedding industry for over ten years, it really isn’t like that at all. Requests from clients have ranged from Del Shannon to Metallica and on more than one occasion, favourite footy team theme songs.
The wedding music of today does not have a genre. More and more wedding couples tend to choose songs for the important moments of their weddings from their wide ranges of tastes, and can be vastly different from the next couple. I guess this means one thing – music has changed drastically over the past few decades and the choice for the listener is almost infinite.
If we go back just a few decades to the 50’s when rock and roll first reared it’s headbanging head, that’s when it all started. With memories of Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry jumping and gyrating around on stage to a group of screaming girls on the Ed Sullivan Show, the world could sense that a musical revolution was about to explode. And explode it did. When Beatle-mania hit, it sparked a massive interest in pop stars and celebrity which has continued to grow and grow to this very day.
So at this early juncture in modern pop music, there was only one real genre apart from country music, and that was pop. Originating from the coined phrase ‘popular music’. So on the radio it was either hip swinging rock ‘n roll or beautiful ballads sung by boy bands to begin with, then girl bands as well. Usually featuring 3 or 4 singers that would have rehearsed dance moves in sync. This was an explosion that led to mowtown where many groups had hits throughout the late 50’s and 60’s.
So fast forward through the amazing 60’s and then rock lost it’s roll and became simply rock. Electric guitars were becoming evermore popular and the advent of distortion bred the first generation of rockers. Some music began to take on a slightly darker side from this point. Louder, faster, more aggressive. If you listen to early rock the message started out as love but some bands took advantage of the intensity of the music and began delivering a message of the outlaw. It became cool to be a bad ass.
Then came the 80’s. Wow, what a transformation. Brightly coloured clothes and high hair. Lot’s of strings and saxophone. What a great era. I grew up in the 80’s and have great memories of extraordinary songs from that era. With bands like Wham, INXS and Dire Straights. Songs such as Footloose, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go and Bohemian Rhapsody. Who can forget this music and it is probably the most popular genre of music that I play as a wedding DJ.
Rock became glam rock. Tight lycra pants with huge permed hairstyles and electrifying guitar solos. Many a hotel room was trashed by these bad boys on tour. Poison, Bon Jovi and Guns ‘n Roses come to mind. So music had changed considerably in 20 years and the choices of the listener seemed to be growing by the year with different genres of music popping up and spawning offshoots of other styles such as punk rock. From there it evolved into alternative rock once the 90’s came around.
Toward the end of the 80’s a new kind of genre altogether exploded onto the world music stage. This is of course rap. Rap was huge and found an audience and massive fan base with blacks in America. Pretty soon everyone loved this kind of rhythm and it became a culture within itself. Hip Hop evolved from rap, gangsta rap evolved from hip hop and it continues to evolve. It is interesting to look back at where some genres evolved from. I’m not sure where disco has it’s roots but R&B certainly evolved from disco and definitely the bebop of the 60’s. It has given rise to some amazing vocalists over the years. R&B also merges with Hip Hop as rock merged with rap thanks to Aerosmith and Run DMC. Now even country is beginning to merge with other genres.
Pop has always remained steady at the forefront of music. Pop is the most mainstream of all genres and I guess draws the straightest line back to those days of Elvis and The Beatles. The formula of pop has generally remained the same with a verse chorus verse chorus bridge chorus chorus chorus. It seems to be the most identifiable genre in all of music, however the differences between musical styles, artists, fashion and culture vary so much in todays world that we are literally spoilt for choice.
This brings me back to my main point. Wedding music. Time goes by so fast it is easy to forget that the music you took for granted as a young person as being so cool, is very dated now and that trend will no doubt continue. So it is not surprising that the choice of wedding music these days is not as cliché as one might think. I have done weddings in a cave to goth music. I have done all sorts of cultures. African, Bosnian, Filipina, Jewish, Irish, Italian, Greek. Every culture has it’s very own tastes.
When it comes down to Aussie weddings, although the tastes are also very varied, there is always one or two constants involved. These are songs that are usually played at the very end of the night, when everyone has had a skin full, the good times have rolled and it’s time to say goodnight. It is my duty as a wedding singer and DJ to play the appropriate Aussie wedding music. This comes down to two songs. You’re The Voice by John Farnham and Horses by Daryl Braithwaite. These two classics seem to get any true blue Aussie up onto the dance floor, singing at the top of their voices. I wonder how long these will stand the test of time before some other classics are born and take over.
Perth Wedding Singer
So it’s time to get organized. It’s been a few months since he proposed and the happiness and butterflies have quietened down a little bit and the reality is sinking in that you have to do some organizing now rather than dreaming. There are 3 or 4 ‘must do’s’ that come to mind straight away. But before you can even think about who you are going to invite, you must have a plan.
The Venue: That’s a given. You want to get in early because Perth is a bulging city and it’s more than just you and him in this moment of matrimonial bliss, so get in quick because all the front seats are going to be taken by the most organized. A quick list I would suggest in no particular order would be as follows:
Just to name of few of my favourites who I know always do a great job. Click on the links for some independent video reviews of these venues.
But this blog is about finding a Perth Wedding Singer. Ok I am biased yes, because guess what? I happen to be a Perth Wedding Singer and I know a thing or two about what makes a wedding go smoothly when it comes to playing the right music. I haven’t won 7 ABIA awards for sitting on my hands. Music is evolving. The older we get, the younger the married couples seem to get and things are not always going to remain the same.
So the main thing is to please the bride. She wants to know that whatever you play is going to suit the vibe of her wedding so make sure you have a close look at the repertoire of the wedding singer you are looking at. Because keep in mind, wedding singers are not always playing weddings. They are first and foremost musicians for hire, so they tend to play at all kinds of events. Some play in different line-ups, depending on the work. Some do a lot of pubs which is great, but if they are predominantly doing pubs all the time then their rep is often going to be saturated with Aussie Rock, or all up-tempo stuff which will please the punters and keep them employed at the pub, but their ballads are going to be rusty as opposed to someone who predominately plays weddings for a living. I would suggest speak to a wedding singer and try to catch them at a public event but choose a couple of songs from the rep to throw at them at the pub, to see how well they may sing them.
I play at least one wedding a week, sometimes 3 in a row in summer so my repertoire is very well suited to playing those kinds of songs that work well over the early part of the evening and are not too intrusive on the ear of the guests. Nice ambient, background love songs with a few feel-good tunes in there to lessen the cheese factor a little and keep it kinda cool. You are also going to want your wedding singer to be familiar with the Perth music scene because he has grown up with what you have, (if you are Aussie), and if you are not, at the very least, a lot of your friends attending will be able to relate.
Another thing to look for is someone with the ability to lift the mood from background ambient mode to pre-dancing, feel good, mid-tempo type tunes that will start to get people in the mood. So check the repertoire over a couple of times and make sure that they are capable of playing these types of tunes and haven’t just added them in to impress you from the sheer volume of songs they do. They may have them in their rep, but they may not have played them for years. Take nothing for granted.
The last thing to consider from a live point of view for a Perth Wedding Singer is that he or she has the ability to keep people on the dancefloor with the live rep. Sometimes your guests will get up early and want to get the dancing underway even before dinner. At this stage you don’t want to go into DJ mode yet because you have hired a live singer (hopefully one that also DJ’s), but DJing changes the whole atmosphere and if you bring it in too early, and can feel odd. So make sure your musician has at least an hour of up-tempo dance songs that will keep people on the floor from their live sets.
Now anyone can DJ you say? Especially at a wedding? Well I’ve done over 600 of them and I can tell you this is the most challenging part of the evening. Finding the pulse of what your guests are going to feel good dancing to is a skill that takes years to learn and even then, sometimes you just cannot please a non-dancing crowd.
A wedding has all types of ages, tastes and dance appetites so pleasing everyone at the same time is NOT going to happen unless you can get a vibe going amongst everyone to the point where they are having such a good time, it doesn’t matter if they are Hip-Hop fans, they will jump around to ‘Come on Eileen’ because their friends and family are all having a good time.
There is an art, an order and a process to DJing a wedding. If you play the wrong song at the wrong time you can lose everyone. A wedding DJ has to be diplomatic to guests who really want a particular song but you know from experience this song will kill the dancefloor so there is a lot of negotiating going on behind the scenes and when alcohol is involved, this can be difficult. So you do want your wedding singer to also be an experienced wedding DJ who can handle a little bit of that pressure and not say yes to every request because your job is to keep people on the floor. The only exception to this is if the Bride or Groom requests a song, then you are locked in, even if it’s the Macarena. It’s their day, they get what they want.
Finding a wedding singer in Perth is not difficult anymore, there are many acts that are transitioning from pubs to weddings simply because of the money they can make. But when you think about it, music can make or break the event. This is a skill that goes beyond just playing music. So my advice would be to book an experienced wedding singer and DJ to avoid a possibly embarrassing night for your guests should you choose an inexperienced, uncaring or unprofessional wedding singer in Perth, as this job takes a lot more than just a musical talent.
One more tip, phone them. Sometimes people are nervous to phone a wedding service provider because they may feel a little obligated. But you are not obligated at all. If you phone someone you can glean a lot of information about them and their personality. One very important aspect is if they are going to be socially adept. Some may have the greatest talent in the world but absolutely no connection with the audience and a sour look on their face all night. You want someone who sounds friendly, professional, flexible and reliable so have a quick chat or set up a meeting to get a feel for your wedding singer. You ultimately want someone who is going to bring a fun atmosphere while also being skilled musically.