Here’s a special interview for all the vintage lovers out there. Today we are very privileged to bring you an exclusive interview with Madeleine Cooke, aka, The Vintage Singer.
Firstly, thank you for speaking with Penny’s Wedding, we’re very honoured. Please tell us more about The Vintage Singer?
Well my name is Madeleine Cooke and I am the singer. Nick is my pianist otherwise called Nicholas Agnew. We perform the music we both love from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s. I am also an actress; I trained at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts in London graduating in 2005 and this was where I met Nick. I am also the singer in an acoustic rock band called Redwood Falls and I am, of course, absolutely bonkers about all things vintage!
How long have you been performing for?
I have been performing for as long as I can remember. I must have been singing in the womb because I feel like I didn’t have a starting point. I began performing professionally 8 years ago. Me and Nick have been performing together for the last five years but began calling ourselves ‘The Vintage Singer’ a little over a year ago.
How many events have you performed at?
Well we have performed at lots of different types of events over the last five years from weddings to pubs, Theatres to Tea shops. We like to think we cannot be fazed!
Can we hear a sample of your work?
Of course you can. There is a demo of The Vintage Singer on our website, youtube and myspace. We have recently recorded a new song, the Vera Lynn classic, ‘I’ll be seeing you’ which people can listen to on the website now.
What style of songs do you perform?
I like to think our style is a bit of Jazz, a bit of Swing and a dash of Musical Theatre. We perform the classic romantic songs from the period like ‘Someone to watch over me’, ‘Bewitched bothered and bewildered’, ‘Fly me to the moon’ and many more timeless beauties!
Will you perform specific songs requested by guests?
Yes, of course. This is something we often get asked to do. Many people like us to sing their first dance which is often a modern song which we are very happy to do. Whatever people want we are happy to perform.
How can you advise a couple who are undecided about musical styles and formats?
I can of course offer my opinion as I know what suits us, the style we prefer and what sounds really great but ultimately it is up to the client to say what they like and enjoy.
Can you describe a typical wedding format so our readers know what to expect?
Well there are normally four main parts to a ceremony where people like to have live music: The gathering of the guests, the entrance of the bride, the signing of the register and the reception.
Many people like gentle background music as their guests gather at the start of the ceremony. Then people often like a ‘special’ song performed as they walk down the aisle or during the signing of the register. They can either choose from our song list on the website or we would be happy to perform a song of their choice.
Nothing retains the romantic atmosphere of the ceremony like gentle vintage music; entertaining guests while they are sipping champagne and photos are being taken. We will make sure the sound is chic and bright, whilst remaining unobtrusive. Live music during the wedding breakfast is becoming increasingly popular. We will provide discreet background music, simply setting the scene whilst not interfering with conversation.
The vintage music can continue right up until the speeches at the end. We are happy to make the couple’s first dance truly memorable by performing a song of their choice. The vintage music would be a unique and personal touch to an evening’s celebration. Each wedding package is uniquely tailored for each bride and groom.
What areas of the country do you cover? Would you travel overseas?
Both Nick and I are very happy to travel and have performed at events all over the country. We are both very much at home when we are on the road. We as yet, have never been asked to perform overseas but if we were asked and were able too, of course we would. We’d love to!
What would happen if you were sick or unable to attend on the day of the wedding?
Touch wood! That hasn’t ever happened to us. We are both healthy people and have been lucky. I suppose in a very serious case we would of course offer a full refund and advice on another singer that we know is good and reliable. I do have others pianists that I can use and have played with if Nick can’t make an event.
What equipment do you provide?
We bring with us a full PA system and small piano. The PA is often very useful for speeches at weddings. Although that may sound like a lot of stuff, we can be surprisingly compact and often don’t need bags of room to perform.
Do you carry liability insurance?
Yes of course. That’s a must have with this type of performing.
Explain what is included in your wedding packages and the pricing structure
The pricing is always different depending on how long the bride and groom want us to play and if they want us to play songs we haven’t done before, there might be a small charge.
For a full day we will perform in the ceremony, possibly during the signing of the register and as the bride walks down the aisle. Then normally whilst the drinks and photos are going on as this can sometimes be a time that needs a bit of a lift.
During the wedding breakfast it nice to have live music as an elegant backdrop while conversation is going on. Later on in the evening we are happy to perform the bride and grooms first dance and can offer them a recorded CD of whatever song they have chosen.
Finally, how can we book you?
Thanks for speaking with us Madeleine!
Penelope x x