Valentine, Project Liaison Director and founder of TopTributes
has a history in event management. With an impeccable pedigree
in live entertainment, Jack was London's first solo
Sinatra tribute, so nobody knows the business better - And
experience has taught him that entertainment is
about much more than just hiring a room, a band, and hoping
for the best. Jack's clients now benefit from this time-served
experience which Jack provides in the form of complete entertainment
and events packages, all available from just one phone number,
the booking office of the TopTributes Organization.
caught up with Jack for a breathless interview in the London
Savoy Hotel's Skyline Bar where he was 'taking five' between
rehearsals for another of his annual 'Evening with Sinatra'
tribute shows in the Savoy ballroom. In illustration of
the entire ethos and complete service which Jack's company
TopTributes famously provides, Jack doesn't just sing at
these concerts - He personally books the Savoy, fixes the
entire 35-piece orchestra, markets and runs the event, and
sells all the tickets himself, resulting in a packed house
of screaming, swooning Sinatra fans who have just enjoyed
a five course dinner prior to the show, the catering also
fixed by - guess who?
a total event management package, typical of the logistical
entertainment solutions he offers to all clients wanting
an event with bling in spades...
early, but Jack
Valentine offers me a drink and
I plump for a Martini. Jack downs an orange juice but holds
it like a scotch. He lounges on the bar stool in the kind
of retro golf-style slacks and crisp polo shirt we'd have
seen Frank Sinatra sporting between takes at the Capitol
studio in the fifties, but aside from Jack's outward profession
as a Frank tribute act, there's something in him that's
actually more of the Peter Lawford - The Rat-Packer with
his feet on firm ground, the one who always knew when it
was time to sober up and do the deal. Consort to immortal
blonde Hollywood megastars, brother-in-law to the President.
Jack Valentine swaps Lawford's quiet Lake Tahoe menace for
an upbeat personal choreography of body language that hints
he is a man who lives well, and magnanimously wants you
to live well too. His manner seems to say “Hey, I'm having
fun, come over and join me”.
not about just
hoping for the best” says Jack. “In planning your event,
whether it's a wedding, stag, birthday party or corporate
launch, you've gotta want to BE the best! Know that you're
worth it, and then plan on that basis - On the day, you'll
obviously dress to impress - So why stop there? To 'impress'
means 'to leave an impression'. And when we plan an event
for you, we aim to leave your guests and participants with
an impression - a memory of an impressive event."
technology, leisure and buoyantly creative economy of today
allows us to do things that once upon a time were only enjoyed
by Hollywood movie stars and royalty - But this is 2008,
and we can now deliver services that make your fantasies
young enough for the punk generation, so why choose Sinatra
as a career inspiration?
“Frank's known as 'The Voice', and
for good reason. I was seventeen when I first sat down and
listened to him properly, and was just hooked!"
"Frank was a winner and still at the top of
his game in his 70's when most punk bands were coming and
going like yesterday's yoghurt. "They were just pop
- Sinatra was permanent, and a professional worth learning
from. Actually my mother used to lambast me for even listening
to Frank, let alone singing like him. She told me
Bing Crosby was much more wholesome but that Sinatra clearly
came from a pretty bad family because when he sang he bent
the notes and lagged behind the beat.”
mother's cautionary lessons in musical taste and was so
struck by 'Ol Blue Eyes that he began busking on West End
streets, not for money, but just for the fun of it, to feel
the buzz at the pointed end of live entertainment. That,
and an early face-to-face encounter with his idol instinctively
taught him a lot about showbiz which he says still apply
to the business today, and always will do.
was just eighteen when he staked out the stage door of the
The Festival Hall to see Sinatra exit after one of his rare
London appearances in 'the autumn of his life':
the applause and the door opened. Two big men emerged and
opened the door of a Mercedes that had stealthily appeared.
A third, shorter man in silhouette preceded them and got
into the car immediately. As it swept forward the light
in the back went on and Frank Sinatra looked right into
my eyes with his own blazing blue lamps, and in that instant
I understood how he had made it. The Conquerer. From then
the dream ignited. I sang in pubs at every opportunity,
I was driven, fearless."
were terrible, duff musicians in pubs
and clubs at fifteen quid for each bandmember. Didn't even
keep me in cigarettes. But then, in the late eighties, karaoke
came to the UK from Japan, and I immediately saw how this
could revolutionise the live entertainment industry. So
I sorted myself out some backing tracks and got my first
break in a Balham pub performing as a solo artist. It was
a knockout, and overnight I quadrupled my fee, and that
was just the beginning. I was the first solo Sinatra tribute.
Nobody else was doing it.”
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