It was late. Very late. Two hours deep in an Instagram vortex, things had gone south. As we reached the bottom of the Cruz Beckham fan-account, we decided to call it a night. And then somehow, we found them. The sound of Renee’s incredible voice with Jamie’s double bass was pure magic. Beautiful, enchanting and full of soul – Tobi Tobi’s music danced out of the phone and into our bones. We had to hear more.
Not only are Renee and Jamie insanely talented, they’re also funny, lovely and incredibly down-to-earth. They are passionate about performing and love helping people to celebrate love. It’s s a privilege to have them in our list of incredible vendors.
Whether they are singing you down the aisle, entertaining your guests while they mingle or just singing you to sleep via YouTube – we guarantee you’ll fall head over heels for Tobi Tobi.
For a little more insight, we turned to lead vocalist, Renee.
Who is ‘Tobi Tobi’?
We are a wedding duo consisting of double bass, guitar and vocals, who play for lovely lovers all around the world.
What would you say sums up your sound?
I have always struggled to put our sound into words - I end up using colour and weird phrases which ends up confusing people, haha. So, I’m going to use someone else’s words instead! When we released our most recent single, ‘Ice and Rum’, we had a press release written for us, and I thought what he wrote was really nice…
‘Together Renee Anderson and Jamie Barlow as Tobi Tobi are the perfect balance of sound and creativity. They share a passion for travel and playing music, which brings them to weddings and nurtures in them the ability to draw upon love’s euphoria with a refreshed indie spirit. Jamie and Renee continue to create original music together, with their first single Ice & Rum an ideal introduction.’
How long does it take you to learn a song? Do you tend to put your own spin on it?
It really varies. Sometimes, it comes really quickly - other times it can take hours. Depending on the melody the singer is singing, I may have to listen to the song over and over and over…so, I would probably say anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours! With regards to putting our own spin on it, a song naturally takes on its own life, but sometimes the versions we do are drastically different. For example, a favourite of ours at the moment is ‘Simply the Best’ by Tina Turner. Obviously this is a powerful rock song, but we turn it into something more romantic and suitable for walking down the aisle. It all depends on the song.
What are your favourite songs to perform?
Ohhhh this is a tough one! I love singing ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ – the gorgeous lyrics and sweet melodies get me every time, and it always guarantees some nice emotion in the room. I also love ‘Be My Baby’ by the Ronettes. It’s a classic from the film ‘Dirty Dancing’ and it makes me feel good inside - and people in the room are always like ‘ohhhh this song, I love this song!’. ‘La Vie en Rose’ by Edith Piaf is another goodie, and people really love the milder version of it by Daniela Andrade. I could sing ‘La Vie en Rose’ allllll dayyyyy errrryyyy dayyyyy - I love everything French. Some other favourites are ‘First Day Of My Life’, ‘Stand By Me’, ‘You Got the Love’ and ‘Electric Feel’.
Favourite wedding moments?
I have three that really stand out in my mind. Firstly, the elopement of classic beauty Hayley Bonham and her beau Rory Elsom. These two opted to marry at Palazzo Daniele in Puglia, and it was the most romantic, love filled evening ever. Hayley chose this venue because of its incredible design and aesthetics. Nothing needed to be added, in fact I think she ditched all her flowers and got her soon-to-be hubby to pick olive branches instead, which suited her dress, the table setting and style of the venue perfectly. We sang at various special moments throughout the night and it was never awkward or weird to play for only two people, in fact it was the opposite. The whole thing was more special and more divine than ever.
The second wedding was an Italian couple, both extremely beautiful inside and out, who married at a gorgeous church in Ibiza. We played at their after-drinks and the wedding day pool party - but the real magic was the following afternoon when their wedding party drove out to the couple’s favourite location on an Ibizan cliff. We huddled together as the sun went down and the couple danced while we played tunes - it was a perfect way to end the wedding celebrations.
Lastly, my Denmark couple. They married in a glorious church in Copenhagen, then spent the evening on a roof top in a luscious green house, where they dined on produce grown on the roof. This was another small wedding (max 25 people) where everyone sat around a fire. We played music while they all danced in the dark and bahhhhhh just take me back. Incredible.
Which countries have you played in?
We have been so so lucky to play in such amazing places around the world- Italy, France, Ibiza, Montenegro, Denmark, Maldives, Malaysia, Australia and our all-time favourite, New Zealand!
Go-to road trip songs or artists?
Jeff Buckley, Bon Iver, Feist, Arcade Fire and Grizzly Bear.
One piece of advice for couples planning their weddings?
My advice would be to give your celebrant lots of direction, as they can really make or break the live music element (among many other elements!) of your wedding.
If the celebrant has clear and precise cues, then things usually go incredibly smoothly. Simple things like, “Can everyone please stand for the bridal party”, “The couple will now sign their marriage documents - please sit and enjoy a song or two by Tobi Tobi” or ‘Please everyone, give your loudest cheer for the newly married Mr and Mrs….”. We’ve had a few instances where things didn’t run so smoothly, due to celebrants...
What’s on the agenda for 2020?
2020 is going to be MASSIVE. We’ll be adapting to life with a new little baby – and we also just bought an incredible property out here in Australia. It’s 104 acres and we can’t wait to start planting trees to attract amazing wild life, and just planning our dream home.
In regards to wonderful weddings…on the agenda is playing as many as possible! I will never, ever tire of their loveliness. We really do have the dream job - we get to bring a little extra love to a love-filled occasion, and it just fills my heart with joy every single time I get to sing a bride or groom down the aisle. So far, we have two trips to Europe booked (in July and September), and a few exciting NZ weddings pencilled in. Bring on 2020!
Head to our "Music" category for more information on Tobi Tobi as well as many more talented musicians.