Happy Friday everyone on what has been a funny old week! This Friday sees the...
The world of wedding bands can be big, confusing, hold some gems and sometimes be downright awful but this afternoon we welcome Harriette Hale of The Chocolate Box Music Agency who might be able to assist those of you currently looking to inject some rhythm into your big day. She tells Boho all about how Chocolate Box Music Agency started, what she can offer and a little bit about her ideal day below. I hope you find it useful in your planning!
Serial entrepreneur, musician and business consultant Harriette Hale runs a seven-figure business empire combining the worlds of music, artistry and education. A graduate of City University and The Guildhall School of Music, Harriette is a recognised vocal expert and coach. She continues to mentor young musicians and leads the way in music education and artist development, running The North London Music Academy, The Chocolate Box Music Agency, Academy Mews Dance studios and Industry Inspired Artists, with help from world-class musicians and teachers. She is also a business mentor and offers free and paid resources for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers. To find out more visit www.askharriette.co.uk
What made you start your business?
Frustrated with poor pay for musicians, music agencies who were robbing musicians blind, and the lack of professional quality bands & musicians on the wedding circuit, I decided to take matters into my own hands!
When did you start?
Chocolate Box made its debut in 2007 whilst I was still studying music at university!
Where are you based?
We are based in Camden, London (the music capital), but serve a worldwide audience and client base.
What were you doing before?
Studying music at university. Chocolate Box was the first of my music companies, so I was a self confessed entrepreneurial novice when I started out!
How would you describe your style?
Musical, personal or entrepreneurial style? As far as Chocolate Box goes the three are actually pretty similar! Feminine, indulgent, luxurious, bespoke, detailed, fun, fabulous and completely unique!
What is your biggest achievement so far?
We managed to recreate the amazing music soundscape from the film ‘Love Actually’ for a clients wedding with a full gospel choir, funk band, brass and woodwind instrumentalists sat amongst the audience in the pews of the church, and a celebrity singer. It was simply magical!
What makes you different to your competitors?
We have access to the worlds best musicians. It’s not even a sales pitch, it’s true! All our musicians are the same professionals chosen by the greatest music artists on the planet including Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Omar, Stevie Wonder, Rhianna, Tinie Tempah, Daniel Bedingfield, and countless more. We are a music agency run by musicians, not music lovers, and between us we’ve toured with pretty much every celebrity you could think of. If it’s good enough for Bey then it’s good enough for our clients too.
We’re also (I believe) the only music agency that can create bands and ensembles completely from scratch to a brief. We don’t rely on pre-made, pre-formulated bands that play the same old tunes every time. We love responding to creative briefs, the most recent of which was ‘Jazz in the jungle’, to which we pulled together some of our finest swing jazz musicians, manifested a set list to the brief, and even wrote some bespoke melodies and songs in line with the clients personal tastes and preferences. It was an incredible event and such good fun to create what could only be described as a ‘film score’ as the sound track to the day.
Where music is concerned we thrive on our mantra that anything is possible and so we make it happen!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Making magic, making music, and making a difference on the most important day of a couple’s journey together. Music is the universal language, and for me one of the most fundamentally important assets of our lives. To share that magic with our clients, and transform their day into something spectacular makes all the hard work more than worth it! Plus I get to do what I love all day every day! I make money making music and facilitating musical experiences for others. What’s not to love? I’m blessed!
What sort of couple do you think you attract?
Music lovers. Not every one has the same passion for music that I do, and some will still never understand why you’d choose a live band over a DJ. But, when some one does understand the power of music, and appreciates the professionalism of the craft, then that’s my perfect client!
What would be your ideal wedding to work on?
One that demands music all day haha! My favourite weddings are those which challenge me, the ones which demand something completely bespoke. I love the weddings that integrate a mix of different cultures so we can draw on musical influences and sounds from all over the world and pull them together in a completely unique sound scape which we can create to be played live, just once, and never to be heard at another event ever again. Those projects are precious. That’s real art!
Can you give me some information on your pricing structure?
Generally speaking we start at £600 per musician so we can cater to every budget. We’re not cheap, but we’re certainly not the most expensive. There are bands who will play a wedding for less than £1000 for a four or five piece, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. With our pricing structure, if your budget is under £2000 then we would happily provide a three piece who could outperform any amateur run-of-the-mill standard wedding band. If however you want music to play a huge part in your day and you want that ten piece, then that’s entirely possible too (for £6000 plus PA and any requested extras)! We also do packages for couples who want to have lots of different musical performances throughout the day; at the ceremony, during the drinks reception, and after dinner for example.
What is your ideal way to spend a day off?
In the recording studio or on my piano. I’m a true musician, I’m addicted haha!
What can you never leave the house without?
My phone… I run my whole life off that thing, I swear it never leaves my hand!
Who would be your 5 dream dinner guests dead or alive?
The musical greats of course… Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Freddie Mercury, Jocelyn Brown (she’s my vocal idol), and Prince.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
Given my entrepreneurial and musical passions, invest in music, musicians, music businesses, the music industry… all after I’ve invested in a few fineries for myself of course!
If you weren’t running your business, what would you be doing?
Making music, all day every day!
Attend our open Studio Day on Saturday 10th September. It’s completely free for couples to attend and gives you the opportunity to come chat to the team, the musicians, and see what’s possible for your special day.
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