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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Music to Get Married By...

Last year I was cruising around the Internet doing research for The Wedding Planners when this amazing and beautiful music started flowing from my speakers. Transfixed, I ended up returning to the site later that day (and yes, I had to purchase a CD). The musician responsible for that extraordinary sound was Jamie Lawrence who is our guest today. Jamie and his wife, Lori (our guest last week), run Tropical Maui Weddings. To hear a sample of Jamie's music, click here and page down to the green "Listen" button. Here is the interview:

How long have you been singing professionally?
Ever since the 7th grade I guess. My friends and I had a garage rock band and we played for school functions, dances, etc.. I was the drummer back then and tried to sing as much as I had an opportunity to.

As a wedding singer, what song or songs do people request the most?
The song that gets requested the most is Maunaleo which is a Hawaiian song. Of the non Hawaiian songs, I get a lot of requests for the classic “The Wedding Song”, “When You Say Nothing At All”, and “Cross My Heart”.

What are some of the places you've traveled to professionally?
I have been to so many places as a result of my profession. I think the first wedding I was hired to do away from home was in Stillwater, MN. I was asked by writer LaVyrle Spencer to perform at her daughter Amy’s wedding. Since then I have been invited to sing at weddings in California, Arizona, Washington, Nebraska, New York, Washington DC, Canada, Germany, and even a castle in Southern France. I never thought that my work would take me on so many adventures. I have been blessed!

As an author, I get asked what my favorite books or authors are all the time. And while I do read a lot of romance, I also read many books completely out of my field. So…when you're not singing for weddings, what types of music do you like to sing or listen to?
This is going to sound a bit strange I think, but I rarely listen to any music at all. Even in the car, I seldom have the radio on. My wife and I have an office together in our home and she’s always got something playing. I think she plays the songs that she wants me to learn, hoping that I’ll start liking them the more she plays them. It works most of the time. When I do hear a song I like, it takes hold of me instantly and I know I have to do it. I can’t explain it. I get possessed and have to hear it a hundred times. Mostly it is the emotion of a song that captures my attention. By the time I pick up the guitar, I can already play it.

What's the biggest challenge you face as a wedding singer?
For me the challenge is to exceed the expectations of the wedding couple and their guests. Guests at a wedding want to feel romantic! They expect that. Through my music I am able to create the right romantic atmosphere. I think that’s the reason I have been so successful at this. Don’t ask me how I do it….. it’s not something I work at…. it’s just something I have been blessed with…. somehow.

How far ahead of time should people contact you?
Of course the earlier the better, especially if your date is set in stone. I have some availability as close as next month, but on the other hand, I have bookings as far as 2 years out. So earlier is definitely better to guarantee your date.

How involved are the bride and groom in the process of choosing music?
I am surprised at the number of couples who have no preferences when it comes to their music selections. I am often called upon to suggest music or to simply “play whatever I feel like playing.” I’m completely comfortable with that. I seem to get the best feedback from guests when I do pick the music. Of the couples that do get involved in song selection, the majority of song picks are made by the bride. I think the ratio may be somewhere around 70/30.

If you could plan the perfect musical experience for a bride and groom, what would it be?
This is one question that has many answers. I have had the pleasure of performing for thousands of weddings (wow, that’s a scary thought) and each one has been so different, so unique. The perfect musical experience would have been different for each of them. That experience is a “work in progress” that’s influenced by the desires and personalities of the wedding couple and their guests from the very beginning and continues throughout the wedding planning process. It is continually being adjusted and “fine tuned” right up to the end of the evening’s performance.

What are some of the best musical moments you can remember experiencing, at weddings or otherwise?
I have been blessed with so many great moments that I can hardly choose… Singing in that castle in France (Castlenou) was pretty memorable.
Also very special was a concert I was invited to perform at in St. Christoph, Austria, in a stone church built in 1386! The acoustics were amazing. The people and the food made it even more special.
My wife knows that I am a big James Taylor fan, so for my birthday, she gave me a trip to Syracuse, NY along with a couple of JT concert tickets. It was a magical evening!

What else would you like readers to know about you and your music?
Well…. Let’s see…. I’m currently going through the song selection process for my next recording project. It has been a long time since I have done a recording, so I’m actually looking forward to going through the process once again. My website is at http://www.jamielawrence.com/
and any information regarding future recordings will be posted there as it becomes available.

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Blogger Shirley Jump said...

What cool information! I remember choosing my band for my wedding, lo these 18 years ago. I chose them simply because they sang "our song" so well. Other than that, I was a pretty easy bride. I just wanted a mix that would appeal to a broad range of people. I told the band the age range of people coming to my wedding (so there'd be no Van Halen rocking out, LOL) and threw in a few special requests.

May 20, 2008 at 5:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is SO interesting. I bet it was awesome sleeping in a castle. (and I love James Taylor, too) As an author, I travel to cool places but never realized a wedding singer could probably write a book on all the places they've been and the stories they could tell!
Simone Elkeles

May 20, 2008 at 5:58 AM  
Blogger Linda Goodnight said...

Oh my, beautiful, romantic, enrapturing music and Jamie has a gorgeous voice-the kind that sets the perfect mood.

Being a HUGE Lavyrle Spencer fan, I am so impressed that Jamie sang her daughter's wedding! And the castle, well, who wouldn't love getting married in a castle!

Great stuff. Simone is right. The stories Jamie could tell.....

May 20, 2008 at 7:35 AM  
Blogger Ellen said...

Did as your suggested and went to listen to Jamie's music. It was so beautiful.

May 20, 2008 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Brandy said...

Wonderful music, really. I bet the Castle Wedding was quite interesting!

May 20, 2008 at 1:03 PM  
Blogger Virginia said...

Great post, great music, checked it out, beautiful.

May 20, 2008 at 7:11 PM  
Blogger CrystalGB said...

Great post. The music is lovely. :)

May 22, 2008 at 5:53 AM  

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