The Wokingham Paper

New talent agency is no feather-brained idea

Sam Rogers and Fiona Cox
Sam Rogers and Fiona Cox

Actress Sam Rogers and singer Fiona Cox want to entertain you – and their new business can do just that.

The budding entrepreneurial couple from Auckland Road, Earley, have set up Feather-Headed Operations, a talent agency to supply event singers from solo acts to duos and bands.

The pair are no strangers to working together as they set up a business together five years ago to manage Fiona’s schedule as her vintage alter ego, songstress Kitty Mazinsky.  

It was a good time for teaming up as they also got married that same year.

Fiona, 36 and originally from Wokingham, sings popular music from the 1920s to 1960s, specialising in the American Songbook and wartime songs for themed events and has been singing full-time since 2014.

Sam Rogers and singer Fiona Cox

Her diary has been filled with bookings for local events like the Pride of Reading Awards, the Thames Valley Hospitality Awards, Reading Sports Awards, and the Mayor of Reading’s choir competition, Let’s Sing. 

Regular stints for festivals throughout the year in Holt, North Norfolk, however meant it got to the point where ‘Kitty’ couldn’t fulfil all the enquiries that came her way and that’s where Sam, 45 and a Tilehurst native, stepped in.

Sam said: “There’s obviously a demand for good quality entertainers out there but Fiona can only be in one place at a time. 

“We‘ve met so many talented musicians over the last few years, so it made sense to start offering more acts than just Kitty to those venues that were looking for live entertainment.”

Since starting Feather-Headed Operations Sam has been meeting with venues to book artists into gigs across Berkshire.

Fiona explained: “As a musician myself, I approached the agency from the point of view of the acts, primarily.

“I’ve worked with bookers who don’t use contracts and who lack transparency. When you’re self-employed you’re vulnerable, and I’ve had cancellations without notification or late payments and other issues. You never know how much an agency is adding on the top of your fee; they could be making the same as you and doing far less work! 

“We worked closely with the Musicians’ Union to ensure contracts were fair to all parties, and our acts always know how much we are making, which is 15% of the total fee.

“The venue also knows that we aren’t pocketing a large portion of the fee and driving the gig price down, which results in underpaid artists – or you get acts who aren’t very good because anyone with talent knows they are worth more.’

So what’s it like working together as a couple? 

“We’re a good team,” the ladies agree. Said Sam: “I’m the actress, so I’m client services plus sales and marketing because I like interacting with people face-to-face.”

Fiona added: “And I’ve got more patience with the administrative side of things, so I do all the nitty-gritty things like scanning contracts and doing the books.

Sam joked: “And when Fiona  gets too bossy I just send her off to do the washing up.” 

“So,” said Fiona, “I do a lot of washing up.”

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