NAME: Russ Madry
COMPANY: RAM Entertainment
TITLE: Founder, Event Producer
YEARS IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY: 25+
NAME: Russ Madry
As you browse through many of the finest weddings in Louisiana, you’ll find that each event distinctively reflects the tastes, dreams, and personalities of the individual brides and grooms. Beyond stunning dresses, beautiful flowers, and touching ceremonies – each one of these dream weddings has a common element that creates unique memories for the bride, groom, their families, and all of their guests – professional, live music.
To explore the latest trends and get tips for finding and hiring the best live musicians in Louisiana, we turned to Russ Madry, Event Producer and Founder of RAM Entertainment. Over the past 25 years, Russ has provided first-class, live entertainment for thousands of weddings and special events all over the Southeast and beyond. This past year, RAM Entertainment produced over 500 weddings, including many in New Orleans and all of Louisiana.
Q: WHAT ARE THE LATEST TRENDS IN LIVE MUSIC FOR WEDDINGS?
A: We’re seeing a lot more requests for versatility from the bands. For example, play a more relaxed, traditional dinner set; then let the party loose for the rest of the night. For a lot of weddings, we’ve added DJs for continuous music with no breaks all night. Some weddings are now even incorporating party hosts to keep the dance floor active and fun.
Q: HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT BAND?
A: Today’s weddings are big events, and you need professional musicians who know what they’re doing to expertly create the celebration you want – one that you and your guests will remember forever.
We’ve put the best available bands in Louisiana on our website: http://www.RAMentertainment.com/NewOrleans — including video, audio, and sample song lists that make the research easy and fun. A typical process: Bride contacts us via website, phone, or e-mail; we get a feel for her needs (musical tastes, date, venue, budget) and vision for the event; we respond with a tailored list of artists within budget (e-mailed); client chooses a band; contract executed; we handle all advance details right up to wedding day.
We also provide turn-key service to clients looking for nationally-known acts for private events.
Q: HOW SHOULD COUPLES BUDGET FOR LIVE MUSIC?
A: The band will be one of the larger line items in your budget. But consider you’re hiring up to a dozen or more top-notch, professional musicians who play instruments, sing, dance, provide sound and light, transportation and perhaps even more – it’s a lot of bang for the buck.
In New Orleans, it’s also very common to also hire a second line. We’ve identified all the best second lines in NOLA, and we’ll also book that for you.
Live musicians create a certain ambiance and energy that cannot be replicated by recorded music. A live band makes an event. It is the most talked-about aspect of the whole wedding reception.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR SUCCESS?
A: Only work with professionals. Always use a contract. As event producers, we offer expert advice and coordinate key details well in advance so there are no surprises. The FAQ section on our website is a great starting point for anyone who’s interested in the live music booking process for weddings.
So as you plan your big day, remember the trends and expert advice. And make lasting memories with live music. Russ added at the end of our recent interview, “We consistently get feedback from couples and parents that the band made all the difference for them, and they felt a magical experience they’ll cherish forever.”
“Just wanted to let you know how wonderful Dance Street Band was Saturday night at our wedding!!!!!! We loved the way they entertained as well as great music!! I can’t tell you how many people said how much they enjoyed the band.”
– Sheila Groshart (Mother of Bride) – Wedding Reception
“WOW, what can I say, The SoulSations were a hit. They had the dance floor rockin’. I am still getting calls about what a great party it was and how good the band was. The bride & groom were very pleased. Thank you so much for all of your help!”
– Becky Hawkins – Wedding Reception
“The band was great and fun was had by all. They were very professional. I will spread the word about The Party Jammers. They were fantastic! Thank you.”
– Marietta McElroy – Wedding Reception
“RAM Entertainment was great to work with, and the Memphis Soul Revue did an outstanding job. Their energy was contagious, and the dance floor was packed. They did an excellent job reading the crowd and playing the right songs at the right time. The band rocked. I would highly recommend them!”
– Lesley A. – Fundraiser
“You guys ROCKED our wedding tonight. You blew everyone away with classy song selections infused with as much energy as the room could handle. And then you added more. I’ve never been to a wedding with a better band, and I am SO glad you played ours. You took our night over the top.”
– Chris & Beth – Wedding Reception
Thank you so much for the suggestions, and working with you guys was unbelievably easy. I will certainly recommend RAM and “Dance Street” any time! Thanks again”
– Jill Iglehart (Mother of Bride) – Wedding Reception
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Growing up, Ernest Williamson Jr. sat on the ront pew of his father’s church watching the organist play soulful gospel music. That was the old Olivet Baptist Church on Calhoun in Memphis, where Williamson dreamed that one day he might be able to play so effortlessly.