Bright Young Music

Words by Tamarin Morley
February 19, 2015

We recently welcomed Bright Young Music to The Directory and took the opportunity to talk big day tunes with front woman, Erica Bramham.

The Melbourne wedding band specialise in unique and vibrant live music for each part of the day, from intimate cocktail sounds to a swinging dance floor complete with Charleston lessons for your guests. For weekly wedding music tips, be sure to tune-in to their blog.

 

What role do you feel music plays at a wedding?
I think music is the absolute best way to create an atmosphere. Better than the decorations, props, dessert bars and photo booths, but unfortunately you can’t capture it on Instagram. It’s lovely to have photos as mementos of the day, but if you lost everything in some kind of catastrophe you’d be left with just your memories, including the songs that were playing when you walked down the aisle, signed the marriage register and had your first dance together.

Music is a soundtrack to the ceremony, it makes people smile, laugh and cry, entertains guests during cocktails, meals and unexpected delays, and allows everyone to let their hair down and dance once the formalities are over. I know my own memories of friends’ weddings are always about the ceremony, the food and how much fun I had dancing.

 

Top tips for choosing live music for a wedding?

Listen for natural sounding demos. A natural, minimally processed recording is a good indication of what the band will sound like live. Too many electronic effects, particularly on the vocals, are potentially covering up a multitude of sins. Anything that’s sounding like Cher’s Believe is a sign of way too much autotune.

A lot of couples want to see the bands perform a live showcase set, although we don’t find this entirely necessary to book a good band. If you’re happy with the band’s recordings, videos and photos then you’ll probably be happy with their performance at your wedding.

Look for bands that feature professional musicians; the kind who are professionally trained and play lots of gigs, including their own original music and session work for other bands. These bands will be high quality and versatile.

If you’re hiring a band that doesn’t normally play weddings you’ll have to do a bit more work than if you’re booking one who does. If you want an original band to play covers make sure it’s something they’re comfortable with, and ask for a sample list of songs so you know they’ll play music that’s appropriate to the celebration. Also make sure they know to bring all their own equipment, including a vocal PA, microphone, extension leads and power boards, and ask the venue if they have any requirements such as the band providing their own insurance or tagged and tested electronic equipment.

 

How do you feel wedding music trends have changed in recent years?

The vintage trend has probably had the biggest impact on music, with a resurgence in jazz, which I think is awesome. It’s a great choice for ceremonies and cocktails, and works for both modern and vintage weddings. Our 1920s band Apple Ida gets quite a lot of bookings for Great Gatsby themed parties and functions, which are always heaps of fun to play.

There’s been a bit of a shift away from the standard top 40 cover bands, with couples wanting to express themselves with their music choices or complement their wedding theme. You see this more with ceremony or cocktail music where there’s room for doing something different, as when it comes to dancing most people simply want to hear songs they know and love.

 

What are some of your favourite tunes to perform at weddings?

I’m trained as a jazz singer, so I always love being booked for jazz sets. Picking favourite jazz standards is almost impossible, but Embraceable YouMy Foolish Heart and I Get A Kick Out of You are a few. I also love the old 20s and 30s tunes I perform with Apple Ida. Cole Porter songs like You’re The Top and Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love) have great lyrics, I’m a bit of a sucker for a Cole Porter tune.

For dance sets anything by Stevie Wonder, plus old Motown tracks like Aretha’s Say A Little Prayer For You or Then He Kissed Me by The Crystals.Beyonce’s tunes always go down well, but I have to work a lot harder at her songs because she’s got an amazing range.

For ceremonies one of my favourites is Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me to the End of Love because the lyrics are just so gorgeous. Nina Simone’s Seems I’m Never Tired Loving You is another favourite that most people have never heard. We recorded it for our Bright Young Band demo, partly because I love the song, but also to give couples some ideas for romantic ceremony tunes that aren’t At Last.

Who are some of your musical influences and who would you love to perform with?

I listen to a lot of jazz vocalists. Nina Simone is top of that list, but also Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Anita O’Day and The Boswell Sisters. Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen are amazing songwriters and a big influence on my original music, as are Tin Pan Alley composers like Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Lorenz Hart and Irving Berlin.

Lately I’ve had an album by French singer Zaz on repeat, and I’m so jealous of her husky voice. It almost makes me want to take up smoking.

As for performance, I’d love to travel back in time and sing with the big bands of the 30s and 40s. It was an amazing time for music, and I can only wistfully imagine what it would have been like living and working as a musician back then.

Credits


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Erica Bramham 5 years ago

Thanks for the chat Tamarin, it was a pleasure. Hope we’ve inspired a few couples to consider live music over a DJ or iPod. There’s nothing quite like dancing to a live band!

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