Ross Sykes started his love of entertainment and entertaining people from a very young age, playing the piano or electronic organ, as it was known in those days, to family celebrations. His passion led to him working onboard the world’s finest cruise ship in the world; Queen Elizabeth II or famously known as the QE2. He started as a trainee waiter in the finest restaurant on land and sea “The Queens Grill”, the most awarded restaurant in the world. He was put into a singing competition of Crew versus Passengers, a weekly competition with a panel of four judges, The Captain, The Cruise Director, Hotel Manager, and the Food & Beverage Manager.
After a long week of performing and rehearsing, the grand final was announced between Ross and a 78-year-old lady from The Queens Grill Restaurant. The lady went on first and as I listened to her backstage my first thought was this is the voice of an angel, this is not the lady from the restaurant and indeed it was, she sang “As Long As He Needs Me” My song which got through on every round was from Frank Sinatra “My Way”, oh and by the way some useless info for you readers is that My Way was the song as I always finished my show on.
I sang for the first 20 years of my career and I was honored to perform for some of the worlds most prestigious guests, such as The Royal Family of Dubai, The Royal Family of Bahrain and I will never forget my first ever booking when I was shocked to see who was in the audience but the most gracious lady I was honored to sing for her, on another 2 other occasions was the HRH Princess Margaret who invited me to sit with her at the end of my show and to have glass champagne with her. I also had the greatest honor to perform with on many occasions, John Mills, who was knighted towards the end of his life Sir John Mills, any shows he was booked for he would also try and get me in, even for just the one song, “My Way”.
I have seen a lot of changes within Showbusiness, Entertainment and Music Industry, not so much within Performing Artists, as they still maintain the standards of actors and actresses to only have just one agent, where today the entertainment and music acts have many some I know have 11 Agents because they feel that they will get the most work, but it never works out like that and they still come to me to see if I take them on and with that many agents it’s a no immediately.
What Does A Booking Agent Actually Do?
Most of those working in the entertainment industry are often confused about what the various agents do. A booking agent is an agency that just deals with bookings, nothing with the bad press or the performer’s image. A booking agency is like a theatre promoter who will promote their swing acts, pop, house, human background performer, they just offer you bookings if you are the right kind of performer a client is looking for. An Entertainment Booking Agent is a whole different ball game and the difference is they represent you 100%, they ensure your image in the public eye is clean, they will promote you, they will always work with you to get your career to the next level.
If you go back 40 or 50 years ago to become an agent you had to be interviewed by the official Entertainment Agents Association, and you were interviewed by 3 or 4 council members to ensure your working practice was in line with the association. You had to work within the high standards of being an Agent as well as knowing how to take on the very talented acts that you see because every agent was up against each other with the amazing show they used to put on throughout England and especially London, the West End had to be packed because of their amazing theatre shows producers used to put on and thankfully that has not changed within the theatre or musical theatre, the shows are the highest show you can go and see, with amazing celebrity names.
Sadly, that didn’t happen to the entertainment Industry. The agents started getting lazy, the numbers of members of the agents association were becoming lower and lower and today three-quarters of them would not be accepted as agents back in the great days, due to poor standards, imprisonment and low quality of talent!
This is why I work so hard in my agency, making sure I have the very best in entertainment, it’s not about judging them on their talent, it is a bunch of other area’s I look at like the quality of their stage materials, especially in the specialty walkabout acts, is top quality material or cheap material. Singers I look at their breathing techniques, do they do it with calmness or do they show the public, do they sing with ease or is it like a heart monitor up and down!
What I can absolutely promise you dealing with me will like be dealing with a member of your family not only do you want the entertainment to be perfect but so do I. I want my client’s guests to really say wow what a great job you’ve done providing this amazing entertainment. With all bookings, we don’t just provide any, we will look at our list that fits in 100% to your briefing, we also do a search on the old internet to see if there is something that will absolutely be stunning for the occasion and once we do we sign them up to our agency and email you for you to also consider this performer. Will all our recommendations, we will email you links to the suppliers who fit your brief, for you to take a look at all the performer’s profiles and put the decision into your hands.
I celebrated my 40 years working in the entertainment industry on 7th December, and I promise I run a very tight ship and so dealing with Mike Russ Entertainments (MRE) Group Ltd. I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed. Our company was awarded The Top Corporate Entertainments Agency in London in 2021 and The Best Corporate Entertainments Business for South West 2021. These are two huge top area’s, and it proves that how I operate my company works is what people are looking for.