- Debbie Abbott
Debbie Abbott's recent interview with 'Tie The Knot Scotland'
Amazing news... Leading wedding magazine “Tie The Knot” approached me for an interview for their main feature article on Scottish wedding music and entertainment - and it’s now out on the shelves! Here’s their questions and my answers…..
Tie The Knot Scotland... "Now that it’s firmly back on the agenda (thankfully), the time seemed right to focus on music and entertainment, and we meet 15 of the country’s best wedding acts that’ll give your guests goosebumps and have the dancefloor jumping..."
How long have you been performing at weddings?
Singing has always been a huge part of my life and I decided to go professional 5 years ago. Ever since then, I’ve found myself busy singing at weddings and other events right across Scotland. In the last few weeks alone, I’ve done weddings at The Golf Hotel and Spa in Carnoustie, the Queens Hotel down near Gretna Green, Durn House up in Portsoy and at Boat of Garten in the Cairngorms.
What made you want to perform at weddings and what do you love about it?
Music is my passion, not just a job, and I see weddings are right up there at the top of the tree. Everything needs to be crafted individually around each couple’s wishes and then delivered perfectly on the big day. I love making people happy and seeing the couples in all their finery enjoying themselves with friends and family, and it’s such a privilege to create special memories for them like the first dance! Another bonus is that I get to perform at lots of beautiful Scottish venues, each with their own unique atmosphere and romance.
How would you describe your performances?
Full of beautiful songs! Full of life and energy! I’m a perfectionist so I do spend a lot of time preparing. That’s the only way to make sure each couple get exactly what they want - whether that’s beautiful stripped back emotional songs for the ceremony, just keeping family and friends entertained during a drinks reception or getting everyone up on the dance floor for a night they will always remember!
What are your favourite songs/pieces to perform?
I love singing a mix of totally different types of music – pop, rock, folk, country, rock and roll, reggae, jazz and traditional - across all the decades from 60s to current. We have so many brilliant Scottish artists too like Annie Lennox, KT Tunstall, Amy Macdonald, Dougie Maclean and Lewis Capaldi. My favourite genre has to be country, both traditional and modern, just because it makes me feel so happy.
Can you take requests? How far in advance do these need to be submitted?
Having now built up a repertoire of over 200 popular cover songs, I can offer clients lots of choice and real personalisation in their setlist, while making sure to keep the right balance across age groups and the right flow through the evening. Taking requests for particular songs, artists or genres is a key part of my advance planning with every client, and I also take requests on the night. I’m always happy to learn one or two special songs from scratch if I don’t already know them, without charge, although I do ask for a few weeks notice.
What makes you stand out from other acts in this category?
Clients typically say that I have an amazing voice – warm, rich and strong – think Annie Lennox, Karen Carpenter, Billie Jo Spears and Amy Winehouse style. They also tell me that I have a fantastic range of songs, that I got everyone singing along and up dancing, and that I went the extra mile to make their day really special. Along the way, I’ve built up a solid base of lovely reviews from previous clients plus lots of YouTube and Facebook videos of me performing live, all of which give couples the visibility and reassurance to choose me as their singer.
Any interesting anecdotes/what’s the strangest request you’ve ever had?
A few weeks ago, I was asked to sing Rabbie Burns “A Man’s A Man and A’ That” in the rocky style of Paolo Nutini – not the usual choice for a first dance! I’d never heard the song before but I’ve now fallen totally in love with it and it went down a treat!
Tell us something about working in your area of the wedding industry that you wish more people knew?
Having a top-end sound system and lighting is vital for the high-quality sound, reliability, and smart look appropriate for beautiful wedding venues of all sizes. People often don’t realise that for every hour spent singing in front of the microphone at a wedding, it takes at least 5 hours of work behind the scenes in order to deliver everything flawlessly and smoothly on the night - discussing and planning everything with the client and the venue beforehand, learning any special songs, drawing up and rehearsing the perfect set list, setting up and taking down all the kit, travelling there and back, and keeping everything in tip-top order. Doing weddings all over Scotland, I often get back home at 2 am or later after a 12 hour stretch and I’ve become an expert on the service stations along Scotland’s motorways! But it’s all part of a job that I love and it’s totally worth it.
Anything else you’d want couples to know about you?
Singing runs in my family! I grew up listening to my Mum and Dad playing the classics like Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong, country artists like Johnny Cash and Frankie Lane, and to the Rock and Roll greats. Hey, my Mum even tried to run away from home to ‘find Elvis’ when she was fifteen! My Dad had thousands of records and CDs and we used to sing through them together. At Hogmanay, the extended family would get together in the living room and take turns to sing a song. My own era was the ‘80s so I just love everything about that decade. My cousin Billy MacKenzie became famous with The Associates, was signed by Sony and performed on Top Of The Pops.