Live music can greatly enhance an occasion and we are delighted to be able to showcase some fabulous talent at Hotel La Tour.
Among our regulars are Benjamin and Chloe-Jean, co-owners of Elegant Entertainment, a husband and wife pianist/singer duo from Birmingham. They have lived in the city for seven years and have played at some of the city’s most prestigious venues.
What do you love about your job?
CJ: I love being able to take a song and mash it up with something else,
changing itss structure, sound and context. Then when you start to sing it, watching the look on someone’s face as they recognise it like an old friendthey’ve not seen for while. Their faces just light up. I love those moments. Plus I get to work with my husband and best mate – bonus!
Benj: I’m privileged to be able to work in some of the most beautiful places in the city. There’s something about sitting down at a polished gloss black grand piano in a stunning place and starting to play. People are often surprised that I don’t actually read music! For me this is an
advantage as I never play a song in exactly the same way. It keeps it fresh.
The music becomes a malleable thing that moulds and changes to suit every venue and atmosphere.
What are your musical influences?
CJ: my career started in the West End so I have a lot of musical theatre
influences like Boublil & Schönberg (Les Mis) Stephen Sondheim & Jason
Robert Brown. Pop wise I grew up listening to James Taylor & Michael
Jackson. I was also a huge classic rock chick! Queen, Rainbow, Def Leppard, Aerosmith & Guns n Roses were my favourite bands. On my playlists these days you’d find everything from Back in Black to Beethoven with a pit stop at Phantom of the Opera.
Benj: as a pianist … Jools Holland & Boogie Woogie style. I grew up
listening to a lot of rock n roll, Little Richard & Jerry Lee Lewis. More
recently I’ve been mixing down fast dance chart hits by Calvin Harris &
David Guetta into soft candlelight remixes. I also have massive respect for
singer/songwriters like Elton John and big diva singers like Aretha Franklin & Celine Dion.
What’s your favourite song to sing?
CJ: We do a very sweet, mixed down version of Wonderwall – which I love. I always enjoy Ben playing Superstition by Stevie Wonder… It shows off what a fantastic pianist he is. I also like our mash up of Mercy, Rehab, Stuck in the middle with you and the theme tune to Only Fools and Horses…. Trust me it’s great!
Benj: That’s such a tough question for a musician! I reckon my top five
songs to play would be Ain’t Nobody (Chaka Khan), Your Song (Elton John), Do Your Thing (Basement Jaxx), recently Get Lucky (Daft Punk) and lastly a mash up of Hit The Road Jack with Fever, Jailhouse Rock and a little White Stripes! It never fails to get people on their feet.
CJ: Where do I start? We perform in some beautiful venues in the city. Elegant Entertainment is all about the highest quality musicians in the finest places that Birmingham boasts. Also, I really do love singing at weddings – especially for the first dance. It’s so personal and emotional singing a couples’ “song” – you are forever attached to that memory of their big day. We’ve recently done a wedding where the two grooms wanted a three-woman West End Diva show complete with grand piano and a gospel choir flash mob during the ceremony – that was a pretty incredible day.
Benj: playing an exclusive private event at The Roof Gardens in Kensington High Street (next door to Simon Cowell’s office!) was pretty spectacular. Just myself, CJ and our singer/guitarist Amy – it was fantastic.
CJ: I’ve fallen flat on my face on a London stage at the feet (and amusement) of Sir Trevor Nunn. But together we’ve not really had any nightmare gigs so far… Although we have been held up in traffic en route to sing a bride down the aisle – we ended up right behind her car! I remember pulling up to the church and racing her inside. Thank goodness she stopped for photos in the grounds.
Benj: a particular wedding up in Bolton – we arrived to perform a beautiful, gentle arrangement of Just The Way You Are, Bruno Mars, but the bride and groom had gotten so drunk that they could barely stand, let alone dance!