Husband and wife Benjamin and Chloe-Jean Grey have turned their dream, to give talented musicians a chance to grow, into a thriving business
As a pianist and a singer, husband-and-wife duo Benjamin and Chloe-Jean Grey dreamed of creating a business out of their passions. Envisaging a musical collective where each member felt part of a family, they wanted to give talented musicians a chance to grow their talents, while earning money in a notoriously hard-to-break industry.
Not only did they want to showcase these talents to the masses, but they wanted to demonstrate the wealth of talent both from and to Birmingham. From this, Elegant Entertainment was born – and since then it has grown over the last six years to perform close to 5,000 sets. What’s more, the group has started to offer services beyond performing, planning parties, weddings and other memorable occasions as part of its repertoire.
Launching with just two performers in 2012, Elegant Entertainment has just celebrated the signing of its 42nd musician. With residencies in some of the region’s best-loved hotels, bars and restaurants, including Malmaison, Radisson, Clayton Hotel and Marco Pierre White, the Birmingham-based group is proving it’s more than a one-hit wonder for the city.
EE has also just launched its newest act, Keep Off The Brass. They’ve enjoyed a hugely successful month-long residency over Christmas, playing at Be At One and MPW, among others, and they are looking to tour them in Ibiza this summer.
Even with this rapid rise to the top, co-founder Benjamin is focussed on ensuring that the community-feel remains front and centre. He said: “We are a huge musical family and, in that respect, we all sing from the same song sheet – excuse the pun! Every member of Elegant Entertainment is integral to maintaining this ethos and we always recruit with this in mind. As a result, not only do we all enjoy coming to work each day, but we’ve attracted and retained the most talented musicians in the city!
BRUM IS BUZZING
“We’re totally biased being Brummies, but the truth is Birmingham’s entertainment scene has got everything. Wonderful theatres, a vibrant classical music scene, comedy clubs, and – of course – fantastic live music venues.”
EE’s aims over the next year are to provide its musicians with regular work at the most iconic venues in the city, while growing to have a team of more than 50. Chloe-Jean said: “Last year was a stand-out one for us having won contracts with the likes of Hotel du Vin, as well as having more than 350 performances booked over Christmas alone! We also performed at the BBC’s annual Christmas party, which was really exciting. We can’t wait to keep up the musical-momentum for both our clients and our performers in 2019!
“EE is going international this year. We’ve had a property in Italy for 10 years now and speak the language. Last year, we were approached a number of times to do weddings over there so we’re focusing on “Britalian” weddings – for people who want their big day in a stunning place like Italy, but also quality live music from English musicians.”
So, just out of interest, what’s it like working so closely with your other half? Benjamin says: “Really fun actually! We’ve spoken to so many people who say : ‘God, I couldn’t work with my partner; we’d end up killing each other’.”
Chloe-Jean adds: “To be fair, there are days when we want to push each other into the canal but for the most part we get along really well.”