Geoff Walker is the owner and musical director of multiple award-winning Ambassador Band – a huge fan of (the artist formerly known as) Prince, Geoff has worked around the world alongside some of entertainment’s finest. Here we discuss how he started out in the business and where his career has taken him and his band mates:

C&B: “Geoff, I’m aware you’re a huge name when it comes to performing at special occasions – how long have you been performing professionally?“

GW: “We formed way back in 2005 and originally we were called ‘The Funk Federation’ – only in 2011 did we became ‘Ambassador Band’…”

C&B: “How did you initially find your band members and which instruments do they play?”

GW: “I started the band when I was studying for a music degree at the Academy of Contemporary Music. I started off with a group of guys I knew and just like any other business, people got recommended to me along the way and I chopped and changed the line-up until I had the level of performers I needed to create something special. Over the years the band has got bigger and better as others have joined…”

We’ve been going for 18 years now so we’ve performed in many different places. The highlights have been: The Maldives; Morocco – Tangier, Marrakech, Tetouan; Rabat; Dubai; Abu Dhabi; Azerbaijan; Israel. We always do a lot in central London, but we have also been overseas a lot as well. So far this year, we have been to the South of France, to Florence and Tuscany several times, The Amalfi Coast, Lisbon and Croatia…”


The standard band now consists of an eight piece line-up – male vocals, female vocals, drums (which I play), guitar, bass, sax and keys. We can extend this anywhere between a nine piece and a twenty piece orchestra by adding in additional vocals, brass players, percussion and strings…”

Ambassador’ is an actual band and not just a collective; we’ve performed together for many years as a very tight music unit and we boast a huge repertoire. We all get on really well and have a great mix of different personalities and talent within the band. We take what we do very seriously, but we also enjoy it and have fun along the way…”


C&B: “Other than gaining your honours degree in music and management, what experience did you have in music prior to forming your own ‘Ambassador’ band?”

GW: “I’d performed in many other bands including other event bands and with original artistes – both live and in the studio – so, with the combined knowledge of my degree, I put together the best event band I could – both musically and business wise…”

From a musical point of view I love all the old soul artistes, from Stevie Wonder to James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, George Benson, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Chan, The Fat Back Band, The Gap Band, and so on. Growing up, my parents played this music all of the time and it got into my blood…there was no question that I was going to play in a soul band…”


C&B: “What are the challenges of travelling to different locations with Ambassador band, and do you have to adapt your sound according to each location?”

GW: “As we’ve been going a long time, we have pretty much been in every situation possible, so we know how to deal with whatever comes our way. When we travel to different counties we’re aware that not all music will translate – for example, there are artistes and songs that may have been big and very well known in the UK and Europe but never made an impact across the pond in America. Our most recent overseas event was a wedding in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast; the clients were American –  and so were all of their guests – so we had to make sure all of the repertoire we performed was globally recognised, in order to make for a good night…”

This year has been absolutely manic, so far – December used to be just as busy as the summer season but that tailed off after the pandemic; hopefully, our schedule will get back to its previous madness soon!”


Favourites from the Ambassador Band repertoire:

September – Earth, Wind & Fire

Music Sounds Better With You – Star Dust

Gimme Gimme Gimme – Abba

Proud Mary – Tina Turner

I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross

Cuff It – Beyonce

I’ve always been a massive Prince fan; I don’t think there’s ever been anyone quite like Prince, or ever will be – in my lifetime anyway. He was a one off and an absolute master of his craft; whether you liked his music or not, you have to appreciate his talents! I was lucky enough to see him live a few times and that inspired me massively. The way he controlled the band with the flick of a finger, to the dancing and the sheer musical talent. He was an allrounder but also a perfectionist as well. You’ll see a purple theme running through all of our branding and this is inspired by the ‘The Purple One’ – Prince!”


C&B: “Which has been your most prestigious gig, so far, and how do clients generally source you for an event?”

GW: “Playing for the King of Morocco on his birthday in Tetouan, Morocco, at one of his palaces. These days, clients mostly book us direct through personal recommendation; I’d say 80% of our work comes this way; we also work with some amazing planners who champion the band. Instagram creates a lot of interest as well now…”

Our most fun event was performing at the Global Teachers Prize awards in Dubai at the Atlantis, The Palm Hotel; we performed at three shows as Rory Bremner’s house band and then the final gala night alongside Jennifer Hudson – it was epic…”


C&B: “To give our readers an idea of budget, what’s the typical client spend on your services for a night of weekend? And how do you gauge it?”

GW: “This is a tricky one as every event is different; we’ve worked on weddings that cost more than the average house and corporate events that cost millions. If we’re talking about the wedding market, then I would say the average overall spend for the weddings we usually work on cost the client between £80k and £150k – of that, we charge between £6 and £20k – depending on logistics and the band size option the client goes for…”

Our standard performance is made up of two one hour sets, however we normally perform for a lot longer. We also offer interactive roaming dinner sets, music for drinks receptions, and more…”


C&B: “Every event is unique – what would you say has been your strangest request when performing?”

GW: “Our strangest request at an event was when the client asked us not to allow anyone to dance while we performed. I can’t say much more about that particular occasion, but that was the brief and we had to tell people to sit down if they got up – very weird!”

Our favourite London venue is The Savoy… the ballroom is a great size, the acoustics are good and it’s on the ground floor so the loading in and out is easy!”


C&B: “And finally, by which measure do you personally judge the success of an event?”

GW: “Two things: The reaction from the guests on the dance floor and the feedback from the clients who booked us afterward. I always follow up after any event to make sure our clients are happy – we haven’t failed yet, and don’t ever intend to! The events we perform at are now our best promotional tool; we always get new business off the back of events we perform at. It really is in our best interests to make sure we give a flawless performance each and every time…”


Comments are closed.