What Would They Know? Chris Ninni of Evoke Entertainment

by | Entertainment Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Polka Dot Bride

  The best ideas are borne out of wanting change, but actually changing things and putting yourself on the line to make that change happen, takes a special kind of courage. Chris of Evoke Entertainment dreamed of big things – a band of the best musicians in Sydney who played together all the time to create the best possible sound becoming the ‘most dedicated, respected and loved party band’, becoming the catalyst for Evoke Entertainment offering the best possible client service to wedding and corporate clients. Not only providing strings, and bands of different configurations, Emma and Chris also provide DJ’s and MC’s – each act handpicked and owned by them. Wanting the best, being the best and providing the best has driven Chris to where he is today. Here’s Chris’ story.

Please describe your background in the music industry?

I’ve been a professional singer and performer for 20 years with a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Contemporary Vocals & Performance from The Australian Institute of Music. My career has enabled me to morph into many characters and roles from a Bon Jovi impersonator (2006-2010) to a lead role in “Burn The Floor” (2011-12) as well as countless corporate performances both internationally and domestic.

Image by Evoke Entertainment

What is the concept of Evoke Entertainment as a business?

We are a boutique agency who represent a small selection of acts who cater for any style of event with the ultimate focus to ‘Make It Memorable.’ From the most intimate wedding ceremony and reception to the largest corporate affair, our amazing acts are handpicked and owned by us. When booking with Evoke you know exactly what you are getting with limitless help and advice from myself and Emma Mylott (Lead singer of Let’s Groove Tonight and our Creative Events Specialist).

How do you live your ‘Make It Memorable’ motto day to day in your business?

When we are booking and organizing an event, we make it a priority to tailor each and every musical moment. From client’s requests to the different arrangements and configurations of our acts. If our classical Strings can’t play a particular song for example, perhaps we make your special song work by adding a stunning pianist. Another example would be to have a double bass and guitar duo for your canapes out on the deck before walking into the reception where you’re guests are greeted with one of our “Lets Groove Tonight” six piece band’s playing beautiful jazz standards. It’s all about moments and making them memorable, tailored for each client and event.

What are the advantages for the bridal couple booking their band through your agency?

This is easy and there are many. Let’s list them:

  • Entertainment is our passion, not our job
  • Deal directly with us means you’re dealing directly with the artists
  • No third party agents meaning huge savings
  • We can answer your questions or resolve any issue with a rapid response
  • We’re completely customiseable and flexible to each client’s needs
  • Last but certainly not least, we’re there, on site with a dedicated on site coordinator to ensure your big day is simply perfect.

Image by Fiona + Bobby Photography

How does your agency differ from others? What makes it a standout?

To tell such a story we must wind the clock back to 2007-2008. Our lead vocalist and CEO “Chris Ninni” found himself frustrated and disappointed with the quality of the Sydney cover band scene. You see, Chris was a hired hand, the fill-in or feature artist many acts and clients would request for a particular event. This is a great position to be in except for one fact, every night Chris found himself working with new musicians in new configurations that simply weren’t meeting his own personal expectations. Don’t get me wrong, these musicians were all fantastic BUT as a band, they were weak, disjointed and deeply uninspiring. Driving home from every performance Chris constantly pondered the notion “there has to be a better way”, and so in 2009, ‘Lets Groove Tonight” was born!

Early 2009 Chris was on a mission to band together the finest like minded musicians Sydney had to offer. The goal was clear, crystal in fact. “Lets Groove Tonight’ was going to go against the grain and deliver a product like no other for the Australian scene. The days of constant line up changes were well and truly over, this is a new beast, one with a consistent line up that performs week in, week out together. A band that is truly a band, one that can reflect its individual qualities yet react as one.

Chris’s vision and pursuit for excellence has seen “Lets Groove Tonight” thrive at the heights of the Australian corporate, wedding and events scene for many years now. How “Lets Groove Tonight” became Australia’s most dedicated, respected and loved party band is no secret. Upholding the industries highest work ethics, values, is what we’re known for.

This methodology and dedication to every event was the single most important catalyst Chris needed to start Evoke Entertainment.

In 2014, Chris launched Evoke Entertainment. His passion and dedication that was honed in “Lets Groove Tonight” manifested itself into a much larger offering to potential clients, one that can service multiple clients with the same attention to detail and care.

“Our clients understand us. They know what it takes to deliver excellence, they do it daily. That’s why the call us” – Chris Ninni

What extra services do you provide to the bridal couple?

Our business philosophy is built on passion to provide the finest entertainment solutions that exude our customers’ individuality. This philosophy has no bounds. Extra services are simply based around you, our clients.

What is the advantage (to the couple) of offering professional MC services?

Lets be clear, an MC can make or break your wedding reception. I’m sure we’ve all experienced awkward MC moments when Uncle Jack or Cousin Samantha has been put in charge of a family member’s big day. Over the years we’ve heard and seen so many examples of why every couple deserves a dedicated MC.

No matter the event, our Master of Ceremonies know how to deliver the perfect amount of entertainment and professionalism for every occasion. Evoke Entertainment exclusively represent only the finest MCs for hire with unparalleled skills and expertise.

Image by Evoke Entertainment

What do your Creative Event Specialists offer the bridal couple?

In a nutshell, “creativity”. No two weddings should ever be considered the same. For this fact we offer endless suggestions to our bride and grooms to ensure every aspect of their big day is the perfect reflection of them. This is the role of our Creative Event Specialists.

Is the bridal couple able to deal with one specialist throughout the lead up to their wedding day? Absolutely!

How do you select the groups you manage? How do you ensure consistent quality of performance?

Every act we represent, we own.

Why is this important?

Well it means we have a vested interest in ensuring we employ only the finest entertainers to bring to life our artistic vision. Unlike any other entertainment agency, we hand craft from scratch the entertainment that our clients request.

What makes a great band?

A great band is a consistent group of musicians who play together every week. A great band has musicians who complement each other and who can cover various styles to accommodate a diverse audience. A great band are playful and interact with their audience, it’s their job to entertain and ensure everyone is having an awesome time on the dance floor.

Are the bands/musicians you offer, across all music genres?

Yes – each band can play a wide variety of styles in order to appeal to a wide demographic. Certain bands have a particular characteristic which clients gravitate towards. We often ask our bride and grooms the following questions:

  • “If you could have any act perform at your weeding, who would it be”?
  • “Close your eyes and envision the perfect act at your wedding, describe it to me”
  • “Off the top of your head, give me your top 5-10 songs that must be played at your wedding”

The answers to these simple questions go along way to ensure the right act with the perfect repertoire is selected for each client.

Image by Evoke Entertainment

Do the band member lineups remain unchanged – what does this mean for the quality of their performance?

Think of your favourite artists or bands and ask yourself this question: “do they use the same musicians or do they swap every performance”?

We all know the answer and there’s a very good reason why all of our favourite acts for instance Bruno Mars, Beyonce to Bon Jovi and Prince have the same line up on their tours. It’s the best possible outcome both musically and professionally.

Are the couple able to book different musicians – a string quartet for their ceremony and a band for their reception for example?

Of course, the more acts you book the more of a discount we can give you, and what makes things even easier for you is that all entertainment will be dealt with by the one Client Fulfillment Specialist. We’re constantly told by our clients how enjoyable and stress free this process is.

Image by Evoke Entertainment

If a couple prefers a DJ are they able to book one through your agency?

Yes! We only represent 5 amazing DJ’s. They’re constantly booked out so we strongly encourage our clients to secure them as early as possible.

How do you help the couple decide on their music choices?

I think you will find most couples have a strong idea on what music they like, if by chance they are stuck we have blogs on our website listing the best songs we have experienced at a wedding for certain formalities (entrances, bridal waltz, father/daughter dance etc..). It also depends on what act they have booked.

 What is a ‘concept show’? Is this a popular idea?

A concept show is what we also call a ‘spotlight show,’ it is an act that performs for a set amount of time usually 15-40 minutes during a meal service. If a concept show is what you’re after make sure you check out ‘The Vallies’, our very own award winning spotlight feature show designed specifically for the wedding reception market.

What do you most enjoy about your entertainment and now management career?

It’s the fulfillment of a dream, a passion that I do daily. If money was no object this is still what I’d choose to do every day.

Thank you Chris for sharing your story. Loving all the choices for music at your wedding with Evoke Entertainment. Mix it up with strings for your ceremony to Let’s Groove Tonight for dancing! To find out more about Evoke Entertainment visit the website.

Headshot courtesy of Evoke Entertainment.



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