- A World of
stands for Mickey and Grace. They have worked in the
entertainment business for the past twenty years and now work
with some great artistes and musicians.
At MG productions you can book Mickey and Grace as a Duo (or
Solo), or using their contacts they can supply you with
different scenario Trios, Tributes and Cabaret shows. With
their vast knowledge and experience of the entertainment
industry they can guarantee a professional and friendly
approach plus top quality entertainment with attention to
detail and planning.
Here Digger talks to Grace about what makes MG special.
Digger: Hello Grace. It’s Digger.
Please tell us about your and Mickey’s backgrounds.
I was in the school choir and fell in love with drama and
acting. Sunday school and different classes that my mum sent
me to – a proper little showbiz kid encouraged by my mum.
Then I did a drama course when I left school and got involved
with Theatre In Education where we went round and did
productions for schools – history and that sort of thing.
Glad to hear you got some encouragement from mum. So it was
pioneering work ahead of Horrible Histories?
That’s right. So I was doing that back in the eighties. So from
there I did a lot of ‘am dram’ and joined a repertory
company touring with a couple of shows. Acting was my first
love, then the singing side of things came in my twenties. I’d already done the choir, but then
I was hanging out with
different bohemian people who told me about their experiences.
And I used to do old jazz quartets made up of old boys - in
their seventies and eighties I would imagine. One of them was
blind and I would get up and do the odd song with them now and
again and the singing just went from there.
It sounds as though you had quite a grounding – you’ve
covered everything haven’t you?
Yes. (Laughs) But more - then I went on within rock bands and
different duos. Mickey and I met kind of later on in life –
Mike has always had a background in music. He was in his
school band and played trumpet and then he went into DJ’ing
and was very popular doing that but it didn’t really satisfy
his need for performance and creativity. But unlike myself, he
hadn’t had the exposure I’d had. And his parents were much
more conservative and less supportive than mine had been. So he
met me and used to sing to me in the kitchen or wherever and I
thought “Do you know what? He’s not got a bad voice.” So
I entered him into a talent competition, unbeknownst to him, and
he got into the semi-finals. He didn’t win it or anything
but it kind of really gave him the hunger to go on. And he
started getting his own sound together – he’s a real
crooner – he sings the Rat pack and Nat King Cole just
because both of us love the golden era so he has gone that
route. But when we sing as a duo we sing absolutely
everything. He was lucky enough to support Jane McDonald at
The Lakeside Country Club. I went off into cabaret as a solo
singer and then got to my early thirties and went solo there
and worked with a lot of the old stars like Freddie and The
Dreamers and Frank Carson and Lionel Blair on the cabaret
scene. Unfortunately, they’re all going now aren’t they?
I think Lionel’s still holding on. We lost Freddie a while
Freddie really took to me and he said I was like a younger
That’s very complimentary. Are you tiny like Lulu?
Not any more! I was very much like her when I was working with
Freddie and there’s a passing resemblance I suppose and with
the way I belt out songs. Freddie let me use his equipment,
which apparently is unheard of. He was quite staunch at people
bringing their own equipment in but he warmed to me and
couldn’t do enough for me.
It’s always good to hear when these people are human.
Absolutely. I found him to be lovely and he was very nice and
left a lasting impression.
I still remember him on Blue Peter doing that funny dance.
He still did it later.
How and why have you created MG Productions and Event Crashers?
MG Productions came first and that was myself and Mike out
there doing our thing. To get ourselves established as a
due we started to do quite a few showcases. And on the showcases
we kept meeting the same artists over and over again. We
started chatting and finding that we all liked the same things
and so on. There were two artists in particular – Karen
and Steve - she was a Karen Carpenter tribute and Steve an
Elvis tribute. We got together and put a show together
called Step Right Back. We toured the Step Right Back show and
because it had such big dance numbers and so on we started to
break it down into smaller cabaret shows and to cover that we
created MG Productions.
Sounds very grand – sounds like something from Hollywood!
Do you know? I hadn’t even thought of that! MG is Mickey and
Grace and we liked it because it’s got the connotation with
the car and a bit of a retro feel. So that started and then it
gave us an umbrella to put our shows on – we don’t purport
to be agents and we don’t try and compete with agents
because we’ve got very good relationships with all the
agents we work with. But obviously we do take bookings from
people and we do self-promote and go round to the wedding
fairs and so on. We do take on our own work as well as getting it
And a lot through your website as well I suppose?
That’s right. We saw a gap in the market here in the south
with Event Crashers and also it puts our acting skills to work
which is something I’ve been angling to do for quite a
while. To get back with the acting, so that covers our
skill-set which is acting and singing. Unfortunately,
Steve who was Elvis and who was also the fourth member of Step Right
Back moved to Florida. So we lost him for our Abba show and our
Bee Gees show as well. He was so versatile and the point of the
show was that we covered a lot of styles and that’s why the
four of us got on so well. Because Steve wasn’t just an
Elvis impersonator – he was a really good singer who could
sing falsetto and harmonise and there’s not that many good
Elvis acts that can also do all this other stuff. So when we
lost him that put Step Right Back on hold for the time being
and Event Crashers took over. Event Crashers is much easier to
sell – it can go anywhere, it can be big or small, we can
bespoke it to the clients and their audiences and it’s a
very flexible act.
That’s the important thing these days – you have to be
able to be really flexible.
Absolutely and I think we are. We do retro shows for
care homes for people of eighty or ninety right through to
pubs and clubs with the younger crowd. You’ve got to have
quite a wide range to make people happy. And you have to read your
audience. I think that’s something we’re very good at
doing. If we do go somewhere where we think “We’re going
to go this tack.” And you get there and it’s totally
different then we’re able to change it quickly.
Sometimes the performance area and equipment night be
different to what you expect as well as the audience too.
Why are vintage and retro so popular?
We think because it brings back memories of happier times,
hopefully, doesn’t it? That kind of nostalgic warmth and
music is so emotive at bringing back memories, especially of
childhood and our formative years. It’s one of the reasons
why it’s so popular. And, of course, now a lot of artists are
trying to emulate the sounds of the fifties and the sixties.
It’s a massive retro movement at the moment.
There don’t seem to be many new styles actually do there?
No, but I actually quite like the music at the moment because
it is nostalgic. We’ve had all the new stuff and we’ve
been in a wilderness at points but I love British pop because
it’s always moving and always fresh. We keep quite
up-to-date and even if we don’t sing the songs ourselves, if
ever we have a younger audience then we try and keep things
up-to-date and play things they want to hear. Even if we
can’t sing it then our iPod is full and we’re forever
buying new music, new music to keep ourselves current and
fresh. Even if it isn’t your bag that’s not what we’re
there for – we’re there for other people.
When Mickey did the DJ’ing I don’t suppose he liked every
track he played either?
No, I mean I must have been singing Hi Ho Silver Lining for about thirty
years and there comes a point where you think “Oh my God not
again.” But there are times when you’ve got certain
audiences and you know as soon as that song has started their
arms are going to be in the air and they’re all going to be
singing or dancing along and having a great time. And who am I
to say otherwise? (Laughs)
People sing along to that but I’m sure we don’t know what
the lyrics are about. Please tell us about the shows and
packages offered Grace.
We bespoke most shows to our clients’ needs so with Event
Crashers we’d go over with them what characters and
scenarios they want. With the Event Crashers and Wedding
Crashers we liaise very closely with them about the music, the
characters , the scenario for their event and if they don’t
have any ideas we will suggest things until they’re happy
with what we’ve come up with. And that’s what makes it so
What sort of feedback and comments are you getting from audiences
Absolutely fantastic. People are rushing up and kissing us,
especially at weddings. Because a wedding day is such a big
event in people’s lives and they spend so much money on it
that they want it to be absolutely perfect. And, touch wood, we
have never let them down yet. We have made people cry (Both
laugh) But with joy!
I knew what you meant. There’s a very funny video of a
wedding reception where the best man does a speech and asks
any men who have been boyfriends of the bride in the past to
queue up and hand back her flat keys. And every man and boy in
the hall gets up, joins the queue and hands in a key. The
bride buries her head in the table. (Both laugh) It may take a
special sort of person to be able to take a joke like that.
Grace: Yes, obviously you’ve got to consider the
dads, the aunts and uncles and you do have to be careful not
It can get quite emotional when families get together and
haven’t seen each other for a long time.
Thankfully, with Event Crashers, we’re there during the
wedding breakfast so that’s when that particular
performance takes place. And that’s perfect because it’s
such a great time. You’ve had the wedding and the elation
and then it all calms down, the pressure’s off and in that
lull we bang in and all of a sudden the party’s back! If
ever I’m a secret guest I won’t eat a great deal – I eat
enough to look as though I’ve had something but you don’t
eat a lot because you know you’re about to burst into song.
Can you tell us the best aspects of what you're doing Grace?
It has to be seeing the enjoyment that we give to people. It’s also
satisfying when you hear you were recommended. We take pride and professionalism in what we do and we always try and keep
it fresh and are upgrading what we do. We don’t stick with the
same old same old. Even if we hear a better backing track we
may incorporate it –
sometimes with piano and sometimes with brass and with drums.
It depends who we’re working with.
Some people are funny about using backing tracks or hiring
people that use them. Yet, if people wanted a live orchestra they
would have to book fifty musicians, some of whom might not turn
up for one reason or another. Plus you have to pay a premium
for these musicians who may not even get the sound as
authentic or accurate as a well-crafted backing track can be. So backing
tracks are often the best answer.
The one thing that we pride ourselves on is that the tracks
we use are quite precise to the sound and they are all musical
instruments. We do not use sampled or synthetic sound. We
go around to different events with different shows and there
is nothing worse than seeing a Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin
and they’re singing along to what sounds like a Bon Tempi
organ. It sounds awful – they’re standing there, looking amazing in their suit and then you’ve got
(Grace sounds like a chicken
impersonation – Digger laughs) and you think “What the
hell is that?!” And that’s one thing Mike and I are very
staunch on the fact that we really research our music. Because
we love our music so we don’t want to be sounding like The Chipmunks. As you say it does annoy me that as a vocalist
you’re not considered to be an artist. But look at Frank Sinatra
and Barbra Streisand they are vocalists and yet
they’re revered. If you go out and sing to a
backing track there is some snobbery. Luckily people that we
work with do see the value.
Digger: You can tell people they can have a big orchestra but it
will cost them a lot more and I suppose most will then be happy with a
Absolutely. And especially if you do someone’s party which they
seem to be having a lot more at home these days. And they might have a
big conservatory or big garden and they still get the big band
sound but at a vastly reduced cost. It's quite easy for
us to get our gear in and out, set-up in twenty minutes and it
doesn’t take up much space if they are a bit limited on
space. They are getting the best of both worlds.
What are your Retro passions?
I’ve got a Karmann Ghia which is being done up at the
moment and that’s been on hold for some time but we’ve
finally started to work on it.
Is that part of the image so when you turn up at a gig you
are already in Retro mode?
Yes, we’ll definitely have some photographs taken in it.
It’s nice to be whizzing around Portsmouth in it but it wouldn't
really get us to a gig. There's no room to put
anything in it either. We’ve got two people carriers and we
can take the seats out of the back so they’re like vans,
aren’t they? We do like our cars and Mike’s quite
interested in getting a Lambretta at some point. Mike is a bit
cool for school and he’d look good on a Lambretta.
So what about the future Grace?
Just to maintain our high standards and stick where we are
but keep changing and keep up with the times. We already do
Adele and Duffy and poor old Amy Winehouse who just died. And
she really turned British music around – I loved her and didn't
like seeing her falling apart. It was tragic. It
didn’t come as a shock, but it's still an awful thing. We discovered
her when Back to Black first came out which was
2005/6 and we’ve been doing her for that long.
She opened the doors for Duffy and Adele and others.
Absolutely, and turned British music cool again and brought
female singers to the fore again because let's face it what
did we have before then? – The Sugababes and The Spice Girls.
British music was floundering and it was kind of that pop no-man’s-land and then all of a sudden Amy came along and
you’re saying “What the hell was that? That’s bloody
amazing.” I wasn’t that keen on Rehab because of the connotations
but you couldn’t help hear the artistry behind
it and when Back to Black came out it’s full of angst
and so emotive.
Yes. So more of the same? Which doesn’t mean standing
No, always moving forward and listening to the clients.
We’re too old to want to be famous – we want to stay where
we are but maintain our standard because that’s a difficult
thing to do. Staying fresh and keeping up with current trends.
You’re in one of the hardest businesses I know.
Yes and a diminishing business because so many pubs and clubs
are going out of business. It all has a knock-on effect.
But when you come through this climate you’ll be a lot
Yes exactly and MG Productions have something called The
Ultimate Party Night which is where people can choose what
they have for their evening and they have a choice of one, two
or three tributes and even a game show like Play Your Cards
Right. Mike is Brucie and I am a Dolly Dealer and we do a
nostalgic quiz or whatever the client requires. We worked for
Bayer and they supplied all of the pharmaceutical questions!
It’s what they wanted and it’s all great fun with the
costumes and wigs. We always try and add a little bit of
comedy if the clients want it so that it’s not just the
I like a bit of comedy in between the music – a bit of
Yes, I have just had a new item launched and have had some
cards done. Rather than be called Mickey and Grace it’s
called All In The Swing because we love the forties and
fifties and the crooning and it’s all about retro and
vintage but also some contemporary singers who sing in the
swing style – Paolo Nutini and so on.
Good stuff. Well thanks Grace for letting us know all about
what you and Mickey are doing.
Thank you Digger.
- A World of
|Mickey and Grace have
a selection of exciting and entertaining Tributes and
Shows including The Rat Pack, Swing, Sixties, Abba,
Motown, The Carpenters, The Scissor Sisters
9am - 9pm / 7 days a week
02392 614 212
07760 177 579
Event Crashers - Make YOURS
the event everyone is talking about
|Based in Hampshire
and covering the South of England we offer a
professional service in entertainment, specialising in
Hidden Staff and Secret Guests.
Included in our service is the
installation and use of a professional P.A. system.
Background music tailored to your event. A microphone
for your use, ideal for speeches etc. We go that extra
mile for the personal touch. We carry ten million
pounds PLI and all equipment is PAT tested.
02392 614 212
07760 177 579