IN THE BIZ – ELEMENT MUSIC
Events by RHC partners with the best and the brightest of the events industry in NYC and beyond. For this installment of “In The Biz” we had the pleasure of sitting down with Marianne Bennett—CEO/FOUNDER of Element Music, an internationally recognized music production and live entertainment company. Element has over a decade of experience providing events all over the world with bespoke and incredible live entertainment.
RHC: Marianne, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today!
Marianne Bennett: Of course, this is so exciting.
RHC: Let’s start with an easy one. How long have you been working in the events industry and what was the journey of entering the business like for you?
MB: I have been in the event industry for 30 years. I started as a wedding singer for a band here in NYC. At that time, I was pursuing a career as a recording artist. A great opportunity had been presented to me at one of the major record labels, which was really exciting, however, something didn’t feel right about it so I decided to pass on the opportunity. Soon after that, I went to a wedding at The Pierre Hotel in NYC. I saw a great band performing. The following week, I called my friend who had the wedding and got the name of the band. I went to an audition and got a job singing for that band. The rest is history!
RHC: In your experience, what role does food play in the success of an event?
MB: Food plays a major role in an event. I truly feel the food and how it is served or presented is an important component as it makes people feel good. You can tell when a host/hostess puts a lot of care and thought into their menu. I think all the foods at an event, including the cocktail hour, elevates the experience for the guests. Food can also be fun! This is why the service and presentation are so important. I always say you have to please all of the senses when planning a high-end event. If the food is bad, people walk away with that memory.
RHC: Absolutely! How do you encourage clients to prepare for an event? Similarly, what is your process in getting ready for an event? Any vocal tips and tricks?
MB: I encourage clients to tell me about ALL the music they love whether it be music they listen to at home, in the car or at the gym when working out. I very often hear from clients that the music they listen to would not work at a party. I let them know that knowing all the music they love helps me tell their story. As far as vocal tips, I stay away from cold beverages, I do a quick warm-up before I start and then I just have fun!
RHC: What is your favorite part of an event day?
MB: When doing a wedding, my favorite part is right after the first dance. It’s such an important moment for the couple. I like to see them through that moment and then kick into a great party!
RHC: Love that answer – it really is such a special part of a wedding day. What are some qualities in a dream client? What kind of people do you like to work with?
MB: I love to work with all types of clients. Getting to know them is the most fulfilling part for me. It is so important for me because I get inspired musically. It’s that inspiration that helps fulfill their dream! In the end, that’s the dream, making people happy.
RHC: Do you think there are elements that can make or break a party?
MB: YES YES and YES, The most important piece is the family being secure in the people they hired to execute their event. A great team will create the most amazing experience. Anyone giving an event must feel heard and understood and at the same time allow the experts to bring their ideas to life. When this happens, the event will be an amazing experience for all. I truly believe the collaboration is of the utmost of importance.
RHC: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
MB: Stay true to myself.
RHC: Who are some of your biggest mentors/inspirations in the events industry?
MB: Harriette Rose Katz was a huge inspiration to me as she was this incredible woman with so much presence. Seeing her in action made me see what was possible for myself. I also got a lot of inspiration from event designers. The artistry is just amazing and through the different designers that were at the top of the field I could see that each event was a unique piece of art. I wanted to create that with music.
RHC: Anything else you’d like to share?
MB: I just feel extremely blessed to be a part of the event community. It has been my home for a long time and I look forward to all the experiences yet to come in this industry!