Now we’re pretty sure that the life of a wedding singer is second to none. Going from wedding to wedding, making people smile doing the thing you love most seems like a dream, but just to make sure we caught up with Tom Carpenter of Carpe Diem Entertainments to talk about life on the road, performing on The Voice in front of Sir Tom Jones and singing at Chris Evans’ daughter’s wedding!
How is life on the road for one of the UK’s most in demand wedding singers? Do you get to hang out at some huge wedding parties?
It’s brilliant for me because what was a hobby has now become a job. It’s great to explore different parts of the country whilst I’m on the road and I get to hang out at some of the UK’s top wedding venues, as the resident supplier at a few. Not so long ago, I did a gig at an incredibly grand private house where there was a fairground in the back garden! It was a treat to enjoy some band bonding time on the bumper cars and snacks of candyfloss and popcorn before the performance!
Have you sung for any major celebrities?
I was fortunate enough to make it to the televised stages of BBC1’s The Voice. During this, I met and sang for Sir Tom Jones, Rita Ora, Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs) and Will.i.am. I was thrilled to receive comments like ‘freakin’ awesome’ from Will.i.am and ‘you’re a talented inspiration’ from Rita Ora.
Also, when I was younger, I was surprised to hear that Jamie Cullum and Dizzee Rascal had commented on my talents on Sky 1’s Must be the Music. They said that I had a ‘great voice and a promising career ahead of me’. In Dizzee’s own words, I apparently ‘blew da roof off, man!’
Britain’s got Talent was another exciting experience. I managed to reach the live auditions where Alicia Dixon, Amanda Holden, David Walliams and Simon Cowell listened intently to my performance of Michael Buble’s take on ‘Feeling good’. David said that I was a ‘striking performer, exuding confidence’ in front of 5000 people in the ICC in Birmingham. Simon said that I had ‘great potential and he’d like to work with me’, although I’m still waiting for that phone call from him 2 years later!
Finally, I had the honour of performing a set at Chris Evans’ daughter’s wedding at his house. Because I have a passion for cars, I had a sneaky look around his private showroom with his mechanic, which was amazing.
Are there any songs that are guaranteed to get everyone on the dancefloor?
A couple of my personal favourites, which always seem to get people up on the dancefloor, are Queen’s ‘Crazy little thing called love’ and Elton John’s ‘I’m still standing’. Also, the song ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams is guaranteed to have a crowd of waving lighters and couples smooching in the corner!
What is the most over played song at wedding receptions?
‘I got a feeling’ by Black Eyed Peas or ‘I’ve had the time of my life’ by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.
Do you get any strange requests?
Yes, the strangest request that I’ve ever received was from a gentleman in a pub; he asked me to announce that he had a proposal to make to his girlfriend. So, in between songs, he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. I’m pretty sure that she said ‘yes’ but I was disappointed that they didn’t book me to sing at their wedding!
What’s the cheesiest song on your iPod (it’s ok, we won’t tell a soul, honest!)?
I’ve had to have a little look through and I’d say that Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’, Will Young’s ‘Evergreen and Rick Astley’s ‘Never gonna give you up’ are my top 3 cheesy numbers.
What’s the best/most original idea you’ve seen at a wedding?
Although it has become a bit of a trend now, I’ll always remember the first time, a number of years ago now, I saw the bride and groom go from their traditional first dance into a full on synchronized dance routine, which consisted of ballroom as well as hip hop moves.
Do you have any great tips to help people pep up their party?
‘Seize the day, seize the night’ (Carpe Diem Entertainments)!
What are the biggest differences between having live music and just having a DJ?
Having live entertainment, in general, produces more of a party atmosphere compared with just having a DJ. I definitely think that having a DJ is essential at events as they can hold the evening together and easily fill the blanks with background music or dancefloor fillers depending on the time and mood. With a live band especially, everyone ‘feels’ the music and seems to get totally absorbed in the moment. There is a ‘buzz’ surrounding live entertainment.
How do you get yourself in the mood and ready to go on stage? Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I listen to my headphones, which play my favourite current songs (for example, my playlist at the moment consists of Mayer Hawthorne, John Mayer and Frank Ocean). I use my ‘Doctor Nelson’s Improved Inhaler’ to clear my airways before I sing, and I use ‘Vocal Zone’ lozenges too. I’m not adverse to accepting a pint now and again as well!
Do you have a favourite song?
A childhood favourite of mine, which I always start my gigs with, is Michael Buble’s take on ‘Feeling Good’. I saw him perform it live on the ‘Caught in the act’ DVD and it inspired me to get into swing and jazz. My current favourite to perform with the band is Wild cherry’s ‘Play that funky music’. I was lucky enough to grow up watching a function band (whilst touring around with my Dad who DJs) called Groove Juice. The lead singer, Llew the fly, recently passed away and I have a fantastic memory of him performing this song so I now do it as a tribute.
What is the one song you’d like at your own wedding reception?
It would have to be the slow version of DJ Sammy’s ‘Heaven’ as it is my girlfriend’s and my favourite song.
Have you ever seen anything really weird/unusual/bonkers at a wedding?
This one guy was really going for it on the dancefloor, trying to go on tiptoes and the sides of his feet really quickly. Somehow he managed to snap his Achilles and he had to wait on the dancefloor for almost an hour before the paramedics arrived to assist!
And finally… Anything to declare?
I have Tourette’s but it completely disappears when I sing, which is why I started performing in the first place.