What is a Soul & Motown band?
A Soul and Motown Band is a group of musicians performing music originating from the African American community in the US that was especially popular during the 1960s and 1970s.
Soul music combines themes and sounds from African-American gospel music, rhythm & blues, and jazz.
Motown Records was one of the most successful record labels of the time, and became famous for championing the Motown Sound, a style of soul music with strong influences from pop music. (Incidentally, Motown is a combination of motor and town, referring to Detroit where Motown originated)
Famous Soul artists include James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Etta James and Otis Redding.
Famous Motown artists include The Temptations, The Supremes, The Jackson 5, and Diana Ross.
What types of Soul & Motown band are there?
Soul & Motown bands range in size from small bands of just 3 musicians, to massive bands with 10 or even 12 musicians.
Full Motown Band
If you’re looking for the full Motown experience, than a large band with backing singers and brass section is the closest you can get to the real deal.
A full Motown band of 12 musicians could include:
- Lead Singer
- Three Backing Vocalists
- Bass Guitarist
- Two Trumpeters and Two Saxophonists (Brass section, sometimes referred to as “horns”)
A band like this will put on a spectacular show, with a big sound and truck-loads of energy. If you have a big enough venue and a suitable budget, we can’t recommend this option highly enough!
4 or 5-piece Soul & Motown Band
If you’re hosting your event in a venue with limited space, or if you’re working to a strict budget, you can still put on a great show with a smaller band.
A 5-piece Motown Band would typically include:
- Lead Singer
- Bass Guitarist
With a good sound system and a proper soundcheck, a live band of this size can create a spectacular sound and get your whole wedding party up on the dance floor.
Motown Soloist or Duo
If space is tight or you only have a few hundred pounds set aside for live music, we recommend hiring a solo singer or duo to perform for you.
A solo singer can either perform with backing tracks, or they may accompany themselves on piano or guitar.
A duo will create a bigger sound with their harmonised vocals, and the interaction between the performers will add more energy and interest to their performance.
Which events are Soul & Motown bands suitable for?
A Soul & Motown band is suitable for any type of event, especially an event where you’d like your guests to get up on the dance floor and sing along to the music.
Encore customers have booked Soul & Motown bands for:
- Birthday parties
- Corporate events
- New Year’s Eve parties
- Pub & Bar entertainment
What music can Soul & Motown bands play?
Below is a sample song list from one of our top Soul & Motown bands, The Sleeke Chix:
I want you back - The Jacksons
Heatwave - Martha Reeves
Do ron ron - The Crystals
Higher and Higher - Jackie Wilson
Think - Aretha Franklin
Dancing in the Streets - Martha Reeves
Can’t Hurry Love - The Supremes
Jimmy Mac - Martha Reeves
Stop in the name of love - The Supremes
Baby Love - The Supremes
Come See About Me - The Supremes
The Locomotion - Little Eva
Set me Free - The Supremes
Rock Steady - Aretha Franklin
Do you Love me - The Contours
Signed Sealed Delivered – Stevie Wonder
Why Do Fools Fall in Love - Diana Ross
Proud Mary – Tina turner/Ike turner
Ain't no Mountain - Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell and Diana Ross version
I'm Coming Out - Diana Ross
Hot Stuff – Donna Summer
I will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
Use It Up and Wear It Out - Odyssey
Blame it on the Boogie - Michael Jackson
Shake Your Body Down To The Ground - The Jacksons
Jump for my love - Pointer Sisters
Dancing Queen - Abba
Everybody Dance - Chic
I'm So Excited - The Pointer Sisters
You Should be Dancing - Bee Gees
All Night Long - Lionel Richie
We Are Family - Sister Sledge
How Will I know - Whitney Houston
I Wanna Dance with Somebody - Whitney
Le freak – Chic
How much does it cost to hire a Soul & Motown band?
You can expect to pay between £300 and £500 per band member when hiring a Soul & Motown Band, depending on how good the band is and how in-demand they are. When you submit your Encore enquiry, we’ll show you a graph of expected rates to guide your budget selection.
Typical prices for a professional Soul & Motown Band performing two 45-minute sets:
Typical band prices (based on 2x45 minute sets):
|4 piece band||£1500|
|8 piece band||£2900|
|12-piece band (with brass section and backing singers)||£4200|
The exact price quoted for your event will depend on several factors, such as how far the musicians will be travelling to your venue, and whether there will be extended waiting periods between their sets.
The easiest way to compare quotes for your event is to fill out our short enquiry form, which we’ll then use to send you prices from available soul & motown bands. You’ll see quotes which are based on your exact event details, and they’ll only be from musicians with confirmed availability on your date, so it’s the easiest and quickest way to find and book a Soul & Motown band!
Set up details
How much space does a Soul & Motown band need?
The size of space required by a Soul & Motown Band depends entirely on the size of band. Here’s our rough guide:
- A 3-piece band needs 3.5 metres wide by 3 metres deep
- A 4-piece band needs 4.5 metres by 3 metres
- A 5- or 6-piece band needs 5.5 metres by 3 metres
- A 7-piece band or bigger needs a minimum of 6 metres by 4 metres
The bigger the space, the better, as this allows the band to spread out a little and get comfortable. However, bands are used to squeezing into smaller spaces if they need to, so it’s best to ask your venue about the sizes of bands they’ve hosted in the past.
If your venue has a raised stage, even better!
How long does a Soul & Motown band need to set up?
A good band will need roughly an hour to unload, unpack and set up all of their equipment, as well as thoroughly soundchecking. If you’re booking a larger band, expect this to take 90 minutes.
How long can a Soul & Motown band play for?
Typically, a band will perform two sets of 45-60 minutes of music, with a break in between. Performing live music well with lots of energy is tiring, and bands need a break to avoid damaging their voices or straining their hands.
Most bands will gladly play background music from an iPod or Spotify through their PA between their sets, so that there’s always music throughout the evening.
Some bands can also provide a DJ Service after their live performance, where they will put together a playlist of songs and take requests from guests throughout the evening. This can be very cost-effective, as they’ll use the same PA and lighting as they did for the live set, and saves you needing to hire a separate DJ.
What equipment do I need to provide for a Soul & Motown band?
Almost every professional band is “self-contained” meaning they provide all of their own equipment, including PA, lighting and mixing desk. If your venue regularly hosts live music, it’s worth checking whether they already have a sound system that the band can use.
It’s courteous to provide plenty of water for the band, and some friendly hosts offer the band a meal before or after their set, which is always gratefully received!
Can a Soul & Motown band play outside?
Soul & Motown Bands regularly perform in marquees, which provide cover from the elements and tend to have adequate extension leads and power supplies.
If you would like the band to actually perform outside, it’s important that you provide them with some cover, just in case it begins to rain, as even a few drops can cause hundreds of pounds of damage to their equipment.
Can a Soul & Motown band take song requests?
Of course! Professional bands loving learning new songs, and it’s very common for bands to learn a special song as a first dance song. If you’d like your band to prepare something for you, make sure you give them several weeks notice so that they can fully prepare and rehearse the song for you. Be aware that some bands may charge a small fee for this.
It’s unlikely that your band will be able to take song requests on the night, but if a guest asks for a particular motown track, it’s likely that the band will already know it!
Booking a Soul & Motown band on Encore
Does Encore have any Soul & Motown bands in my area?
At Encore we have over 300 professional Soul & Motown Bands on our books, so we can almost certainly find you a local group, wherever you are in the UK. You can browse our roster of Soul & Motown bands in your area here: Soul & Motown bands for hire.
Our friendly and professional team are experts in Soul & Motown band hire, so you can also give us a call on 020 3111 1480 Monday-Friday 10am-6pm, and we’ll be happy to help!
How far in advance should I book?
We always advise customers to book as soon as possible, ideally shortly after you’ve booked your venue, as the best bands get fully booked up months and even years in advance. That said, we handle last-minute musician bookings all the time at Encore and can easily find a Soul & Motown band at short notice.
Soul & Motown bands are particularly busy during wedding season (May to October) and Christmas, so if you would like a Soul & Motown band to perform at your wedding or work christmas party, we recommend booking as soon as you have your venue arranged.
If you're looking for a Soul & Motown band for an event within the next few weeks, get in touch with our team! [email protected]
How do I handle contracts and payment?
The easiest way to handle contracts and payment is to book through Encore. Our bookings process is extremely straightforward, and once you have confirmed a booking with your chosen quartet, contracts and payments will be handled painlessly and effortlessly by our secure payment system.
You can learn more about the Encore booking process here or email [email protected].
Can you recommend me a great Soul & Motown band for my event?
The best way to make sure you find the best group for your event to match your event is to complete our enquiry form. You’ll then receive quotes and recordings from available Encore musicians near you. But if you’d prefer to go directly to a musicians, some of our most popular string groups are: