A Musical Interview with Mallorca’s Wedding Entertainment Expert, Jay
We have a real treat today for bridal-couples-to-be who are looking to get married in Mallorca! Jay is a super talent when it comes to wedding guitar, sax, and singing – making for truly memorable wedding entertainment. It was great to have the opportunity to chat with him about the very special energy he brings to a wedding in one of the most popular and idyllic locations in the world:
Mallorca has to be one of the most beautiful locations for a wedding in the world. What first drew you to live and work there?
You play instrumental guitar, which makes for a wonderful backdrop as guests arrive at a wedding. When did you first learn to play and at what point did it become a career choice?
I started to study music when I was 8 at the local music school. I studied sax for a few years, then did a couple years of piano and joined a band at 14 where I played those two. When that band broke up and I was looking for a guitarist to form a band of my own, I couldn’t find one, so I learnt just enough until I found a permanent guitarist. I ended up getting hooked on it; I was 16 and studying electronics which I quit and moved to Barcelona to study guitar at a school there.
You can also provide vocals and have frequently sung the all-important entrance and departure songs for a wedding ceremony – up and down the aisle. Can you tell us a little more about that, as well as how and when you first got into singing? And are your guitar playing and singing two things that have always gone hand in hand?
I started singing when I was a kid, as my mum was a professional singer. I don’t think anyone really thought I would be a singer at home, as my sister also sang, but it was just very normal in our house to sing. I have to say that my dad was a drummer and that’s how my parents met, so I come from a very musical family. I started writing songs very early on, at 13 I think, so I always sang and played. I don’t sing without playing guitar, that’s for sure, I feel very exposed; I leave that to the proper singers.
We just love the flexibility you offer as a wedding musician. It’s really refreshing. You often play light background music to suit a drinks reception, too. Tell us more about your repertoire and some of the songs this includes…
I love playing all kinds of material. With guitar I play tunes that suit my voice and that I feel I can perform well and comfortably. For the ceremony the couples choose the songs, of course, but for cocktails I will try to accommodate requests (however occasionally it can be tricky if I’ve got a lot of weddings and gigs on). If I’ve heard the song, I can learn it easily, so it’s a matter of a little flexibility on the couple’s behalf. I like to do guitar/vocals for songs by Bryan Adams, Jason Mraz, Maroon 5, Ed Sheeran, some good oldies like Van Morrison or Paul Carrack, etc. In general, it’s about being subtle, controlling your volume and sound and enjoying the moment. Cocktails are about people chatting, introductions, catching up and so on. I think my part is to put music to that moment and be unobtrusive.
Another thing that makes what you do so versatile is the way you can switch between instruments – offering up an hour of saxophone for the drinks reception – or perhaps a bit of guitar and sax.The guests must be so surprised and impressed by all of these skills… how do they react?
I’m not sure about impressed but I think people welcome a change. The ear is very picky about sounds, especially when it’s background music, so change is good, I think. Sax and guitar are both instruments people like, so I have it good in that respect. As per repertoire, when I play sax I play with backing tracks and there’s two options, mainly. One is to play jazz standards, which is very classy and relaxed. The crowd tends to know loads of the tunes but, as there’s no vocals, it lives more in the backgrounds. I also do pop covers with sax, kind of what I sing but I can include some different tunes that wouldn’t suit my voice. It’s really a matter of taste, I love doing them all. Of course, as you mentioned, I can do a mix of them all, but I find people have a set idea of what they want and tend to choose one of the other.
You have also been known to collaborate with DJs for a party sax set later on in the evening, joining the wedding guests on the dance floor to inject extra energy into the party! Is this your favourite part of the wedding? What type of songs are on the agenda then?
I love playing with DJs. I don’t get a chance to party much and, when I do DJ sets, it’s my job to party, so I can get stuck in. Repertoire is pretty standard party stuff and varies depending on where the guests are from, but sax classics with a DJ would be ‘This Girl’ by Kungs Vs. Cookin’ on 3 Burners, Mr. Saxobeat, ‘Edge of Glory’ by Lady Gaga, ‘Thrift Shop’ by Macklemore, etc. But I generally play sax over almost any tune I’ve heard before, as long as it’s mainstream. Part of the fun is figuring out how to fit sax into tunes without it.
Finally, you are part of a Motown and soul band that begins with a 5 piece. We would be fascinated to hear more about that…
I cut my teeth playing “chips”, as we say, in a Motown show that went around Havens! There were some weird gigs, I’ll tell ya, but I loved the tunes and playing them made you analyse what they had that made them timeless and still relevant today. I’m lucky to work with a great band who understands the genre and also enjoys playing it. For weddings we mix in a few modern tunes, too, unless the client wants straight ahead Soul/Motown. It’s great fun and, especially with a British audience, everyone knows the songs and sings along. As I said, Timeless; it’s what I would have at my wedding.
Wow. What a fabulous interview! A huge thank you, Jay. Sunshine Weddings Spain really cannot wait to work with you in the up-and-coming wedding season in Mallorca.