Monday, 27 September 2021

Musician switches from stage to managing

AFTER spending years on the music scene trying to get his big break, Jayson Jaurigue knows all too well how important it is to nurture talent.

AFTER spending years on the music scene trying to get his big break, Jayson Jaurigue knows all too well how important it is to nurture talent.

Music is still his passion but he has his heart set on growing the Henley talent agency that he started four years ago.

The 29-year-old had the idea for Eight Ray Music when he was still a struggling musician and has developed it on his own.

The business now specialises in corporate entertainment as well as weddings and parties.

Mr Jaurigue, who lives in Station Road, Henley, said the idea of the agency came six months after his father Rodrigo died in April 2010.

The 61-year-old former chef at Henley Business School had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for the last eight years of his life.

“I wanted to get out of the whole struggling musician scene,” recalls Mr Jaurigue. “I was a musician performing five or six nights a week, wherever the work took me really, and it was tough.

“When dad died I wanted to be able to support my mum and my family and being a struggling musician was not the way forward.

“I had the idea of starting a business to have a better life really, not to gig every night, and to see family and have a relationship.”

He was born in Reading to Filipino parents and his mother Mary is a nurse.

He says: “If it wasn’t for them coming over here I would probably be in the Philippines, where there are hardly any opportunities.”

Mr Jaurigue first played the piano at the age of four and was six when he first picked up a guitar.

He was just seven when he gave his first live performance in front of 300 pupils at Danesfield School, near Medmenham, playing House of the Rising Sun by The Animals.

He went on to Gillotts School and The Henley College, where he studied music technology, sports science and Spanish at A-level and information technology at AS level.

He was still studying when he first began performing seriously.

“My first kind of open-mic nights were at the Slug and Lettuce in Henley, which is where Strada is now,” he recalls.

During the winter he travelled to the Italian Alps and performed throughout the skiing season. He would play three times a day and didn’t have a day off for up to four months. He did this for five years in the hope of “making it” as a pop star.

He secured a series of deals, initially one with Pixie Lott’s former manager Philip Tennant and another with a company called Snowflakers which had written songs for artists including Gary Barlow. He was performing his own music in London and once was on the same bill as Ed Sheeran.

He also wrote a song called I Don’t Know Why that was recorded by Edita Abdieski, a Swiss pop star who won Germany’s X Factor in 2010.

Despite all this, a career as a professional musician didn’t seem to be likely, so he decided to start his agency using all the contacts he had made from performing with other musicians and bands.

Eight Ray Music, which is based at Dorchester House, off Reading Road, is designed to discover and nurture talented musicians and hopefully bring them the success that narrowly eluded him. The company concentrates on the local music scene and has provided acts for events including Rewind and the Henley Festival and corporate hospitality areas at Henley Royal Regatta.

The company also has clients in London, including Arsenal FC and the Wimbledon tennis championships.

It represents well-known local musicians including Jamie Bruce, who appeared on the second series of the BBC’s reality show The Voice, award-winning folk musician Megan Henwood and funk-soul band Brother Strut.

Eight Ray Music also talent scouts for The Voice and has recommended artists such as John James Newman and Vince Freeman, who were contestants in the first series.

“It’s going really well,” says Mr Jaurigue. “I’ve built a really solid team of people that work for the company. It was really important to start the business in Henley because I’m a Henley boy. It’s where I grew up and the town has supported me in terms of my music and education.”

He helps to organise the town’s Music on the Meadows festival, which was first held in in July 2013 and was repeated last summer.

The festival features young bands and musicians who perform on the bandstand in Mill Meadows. Before the event he holds free mentoring workshops for the performers.

Mr Jaurigue says: “I support young, local talent and obviously it helps my business because I can be scouting as well.”

He hopes that Eight Ray Music will develop the corporate side of the business and his ultimate goal is for it to become an artists’ management company.

“I’m not afraid of hard work,” he says. “I have a vision, the contacts, the knowledge and the acts and I want to be successful.

“I haven’t got a business degree, I just made it up as I went along. I made a few mistakes but things are going to be tough sometimes and it’s a learning process.

“I see things from the musician’s point of view, not just from the business side, which is what a lot of agencies do.

“My acts are not going to get signed to a major company straight away but they need to make money.”

When he’s not working, Mr Jaurigue enjoys playing with his five-piece funk rock group Junior Guevarra.

He cites soul singers Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye as musical influences as well as Michael Jackson, James Brown and more contemporary artists such as Bruno Mars.

However, he is clearly focused on the business.

He says: “This year is going to be one of expansion with the business focusing on the corporate side. We have got a lot of really great things coming up.

“Artist management is my dream and ambition.”

SINGER Jamie Bruce, of Reading Road, Henley, has been a professional for 15 years and has performed at the highest level, supporting Bon Jovi at the O2 in London with The Velvet Hearts. In 2013 he reached the finals of the BBC’s The Voice.

Henley singer-songwriter Megan Henwood won the BBC’s Young Folk Award in 2009 and her 2011 debut album Making Waves was criticaly acclaimed. She has performed at Glastonbury and many other UK festivals. Her next album, Head Heart Hand, will be released this year.

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