If you are a music lover, you may have heard the term, “dueling pianos”. For those who haven’t, dueling pianos is almost exactly what it sounds like: two entertainers, playing piano and singing, laced with some comedy and audience participation. If you’ve witnessed this entertainment phenomenon, you know how hard it is NOT to dance, sway, or tap to the beat. It’s as if it awakens something in your soul and brings out your inner funk. Needless to say, I 100% recommend checking out a dueling piano bar this Saturday night; or better yet, BOOK one for your next event! Greg Coffey, owner of the Cleveland Keys, walked into a dueling piano bar in Nashville (The Big Bang Dueling Pianos) and was inspired to bring that soul to the heart of Cleveland. For this post, I had the pleasure of interviewing Greg about his business, what got him started, and the common misconceptions about the entertainment industry.
All Events Planned: How did you get started in the wedding/event industry?
Greg Coffey: It was kind of one of those things that just happened. I had a request to play a wedding here in Cleveland for a really great couple. After we played that first wedding, I just knew we had something incredibly special that we needed to share.
AEP: How you describe your style and/or your brand?
GC: It's tough to put down everything you want your brand to be in just a few words, but I like to describe our brand as taking the engaging features of Dueling Pianos that I fell in love with in Nashville, and pairing that with a high-level customer/guest experience. Customer/guest experience is everything to us, and I really think that is what our brand represents.
AEP: What questions should couples be sure to ask when selecting a DJ/band for their wedding?
GC: I don't know that I would focus on specific questions as much as I would the personality and demeanor of the company/vendor. Your vendor is going to be involved with nearly every part of your day, so it's so important that you connect with them on a different level. Choose your wedding entertainment as you would a good friend.
AEP: Who is your ideal client?
GC: We are lucky enough to be at a point where we can be relatively selective with who we work with. Although, I am always amazed that the majority of couples looking for something unique like our product, always seem to be incredibly kind, thoughtful, and have a "guest-centered" mindset. That is my ideal client.
AEP: What was your most memorable event that you were part of?
GC: Tough question! Every event has been memorable for me in some way. However, we did a wedding not too long ago at Cleveland City Hall Rotunda - and I happen to spot out of the corner of my eye an elderly couple head out to the dance floor for a dance. Those are the moments you really embrace what you do, and WHY you do it. I love that we could help provide that moment for two people that have been in love for a very long time.
AEP: If you had a client who had endless funds what unique ideas and products/services would you offer them?
GC: I've always loved sparklers at the wedding - definitely not a budget breaker by any means, but makes for great pictures!
AEP: What is the biggest misconception about the entertainment industry?
GC: I think a big misconception for couples looking for entertainment is that they are stuck with only two options: DJ or cover band. We are lucky enough to find the couples that want to break out of the mold and provide their guests an experience instead of an obligation.
AEP: What is something you wish all of your clients knew, or a certain thing you wish all of your clients would do to make working with them easier?
GC: We have been fortunate enough to work with the best people. And I don't mean in terms of the product interaction itself. I mean really great people at their core - they are people that genuinely care about others and folks that I would be excited to know outside of the business world. We have yet to have a client that wasn't incredibly easy and fun to work with.
Thank you Greg, for sharing your story and perspective with us. And thank you for bringing such a unique experience to Cleveland. As the weather changes, it gets colder and dark earlier, I think listening to some awesome music (while laughing) is a great way to make the most of “hibernation”. I can pretty much guarantee it is worth your time!
Check out https://www.clekeys.com/ for more information about the Cleveland Keys and how to book them for your next event. Be sure to watch some of the videos on their website to really see how much fun they are!