Q&A with Velvet Jazz Band
8 September 2023
We caught up with our Velvet Jazz Band to find out how they love to enchant their audiences, what makes them a unique act to add to your corporate event and what their plans are for the future!
Who are Velvet Jazz Band?
We are a jazz and swing band who specialise in postmodern jukebox arrangements with an injection of soul notes!
What makes the Velvet Jazz Band stand out?
A few things that set us apart, but the main one is probably our range of genres which is quite extensive. Starting right at the beginning with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole we go on a musical journey covering songs like ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ and ‘Sway’, before moving into our vintage arrangements of modern classics like ‘Crazy in Love’ and ‘Careless Whisper’. Then, when guests are ready to really let their hair down and boogie the night away on the dance floor, we finish the set with crowd favourites by Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross. We have the most wonderful brass section, and incredible rhythm section and Emily has a way of captivating audiences with her voice.
How did you get into the entertainment industry?
The band is made up of well established session musicians who have toured internationally playing for the likes of Take That and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. All six musicians have worked extensively across many genres from rock and pop, to jazz and soul.
Emily’s background was musical theatre and that plays quite a big part in her love of the old standards like ‘Cheek to Cheek’ and ‘They Can’t Take That Away from Me’. She first performed them in musicals, before discovering her love of jazz.
How long have you been performing?
As The Velvet Jazz Band, we‘ve been together for almost 7 years now, though we met many years earlier, so we’ve probably been playing together for about 10 years now (and some of us a little longer). Believe it or not, all but one of us, actually met playing together on a Simply Red tribute band. One late night on tour when we were in the middle of nowhere, after goodness knows how many glasses of wine, Emily told the band about her vision for The Velvet Jazz Band. A few conversations later and many brainstorming sessions for the right name and then bang: In January 2018 we went to record our first promo video. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind ever since!
Where are you based?
Our HQ is in Guildford but we travel all over the place for performances. Generally most of our work is in London and the Home Counties but we absolutely love travelling overseas for gigs as well.
Where is the furthest you have travelled for a performance?
I think the furthest currently would have been Jordan! And what a country to perform in!
What’s the most surprising thing that has happened during a performance?
We once played a very luxurious James Bond themed event, and it turned out…totally coincidentally…that the actual real life Daniel Craig had privately hired the upstairs dining room for a private dinner party. Of course, we couldn’t actually see him, as we were downstairs but I knew he could hear us. I have never felt quite so much pressure as I performed all of the James Bond theme tunes, and secretly prayed he would hear them and make a surprise entrance…sadly that didn’t quite go to plan! We didn’t catch a glimpse of him, but it was a very fun evening.
Favourite venue you’ve performed at?
Oh wow…we have a few but Syon Park and Euridge Manor are both pretty incredible venues. Also the reconstructed Control Room at Battersea Power Station has to be one of the most interesting spaces we’ve performed in. We were actually the very first band to perform there after it reopened.
What is your favourite part of performing?
(Emily speaking now) My favourite part of performing is getting absolutely lost in the song, for me that is likely to be something like ‘Come Fly With Me’ or ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’ and being transported to that magical place that only music can take you to, and then catching a glimpse of someone in the audience or crowd who is right there with you. Seeing people sing along, or even when they’re just toe tapping but you can tell from their face they are loving every minute. That’s so special to me.
Apart from my two daughters, nothing makes my soul quite as happy as singing and as soppy as it may sound, I just love to sing. So when people love to listen to me, that’s pretty amazing.
What exciting plans does Velvet Jazz Band have for the future?
We are always looking for a way to expand and make things even more exciting. With a few ideas for our next set of videos, we are looking to make our line up a little bigger and to add something a little different. Collaborations with some of our musical friends are also in the pipeline. We are also hoping to be travelling a bit more with more international events in 2024.