Q: Tell us a little bit about Sam Hill Entertainment and how you found yourself working there?
A: I met Hank Wells, the owner/founder of Sam Hill Entertainment, when he had just formed the company in the mid-90’s and he was booking bands for fraternity parties at UVA on the Rugby Road scene. I was one of his early clients, a social chair for my fraternity, and I booked a lot of our bands with him in the early days. We formed a quick friendship over music. I graduated in ’99, worked a “real desk job” for 2 years that I quit in 2001 and I went out to California where my girlfriend (now wife, Jenny) was living, and was figuring out my next move. That was just when Hank was expanding Sam Hill Entertainment in exciting ways, and he was looking for somebody to help him around the office and do a little bit of everything …but back in Charlottesville. There were only 2 people working there at the time – still a very “small business.” On a whim, I left California, moved back to C’ville, took a job that paid little but had the promise of big things. Here I am, 15 years later, as a partner in the company.
Q: Favorite part about your job?
A: My favorite part of my job is meeting people years after their wedding or special event, and they say “hey, I used Sam Hill Entertainment to book a great band years ago”. Alas, they’re often somebody I worked with over phone and email but never got a chance to meet in person, but I ultimately get to share a moment and memory with them of one of our bands showing their family and guests an amazing time. That always feels really good.
Q: Your hidden talent?
A: My hidden talent …and favorite party trick …. is being able to conjure in my brain what day of the week a certain date was years ago or will be a year or more in the future. Since our business revolves so heavily around Saturdays in the calendar, people are often amazed when a date is mentioned far in the future, and I can say, “hey, that’s going to be a Thursday.” The honest reason I know that so quickly is its basically my job, but it still never ceases to impress people who themselves can’t remember what day tomorrow is going to be.
Q: Why book a band or DJ through Sam Hill Entertainment?
A: Sam Hill Entertainment specializes in 100% “live” music. There are other entertainment companies that also represent DJ’s, or magicians, or jugglers or whatever. That’s not us. We’re all about live bands and bringing the live music experience to special events. Our bands are all curated to be more than just uniquely talented on stage, but also extraordinarily client-focused off-stage. Our bands “get it” and approach events with clients in mind, first and foremost.
Q: You can only watch one late night talk show for the rest of your life, do you choose Jimmy Fallon, James Corbin or Jimmy Kimmel?
A: Ha, that’s a tough one. I love late-night TV. Grew up idolizing Letterman. Of today’s talents, I think Fallon is amazingly funny and hip, and James Corbin impresses me as well. But of those three, I probably identify with the overall brand of humor of Kimmel, so I’ll go with him. But honestly, I think I might appreciate Conan O’Brien the most. But he’s on TBS, so it barely counts.
Q: What is one question that brides/grooms should ask before booking a DJ/Band?
A: I would recommend asking how the communication and interaction will go and making sure a band’s (or agency’s) communication style is going to be a good fit. A client will spend a lot more time thinking about their event in the months prior and working in advance with their vendors than they will at the actual event itself. In many ways, how the communication and preparation process goes is just as meaningful to the overall experience as how things unfold on the big night. Sam Hill Entertainment as a company and all our bands try to be responsive, helpful and trusted stewards of the responsibility for entertainment at an event. We know that it often starts on the phone or through email, and want to make sure our clients are comfortable with the experience throughout the entire process.