With a band name like Eye2Eye, it’s no surprise Larry Jackson and Penni Layne are on the same page musically and professionally. They started performing together nearly 20 years ago as members of that act; now they manage Eye2Eye along with five other bands as the owners of Upside Entertainment. But their success is about far more than the songs, Larry says.
“You’ve got to make couples feel special and loved and listened to. We’re going to do everything we can do to make your event great,” Larry says, emphasizing that, as in any relationship, establishing a foundation of trust is key. “Clients try to choose every song they want the band to play, and that ends up a lot of times tying the hands of the bandleader from doing what they do best—knowing which songs to pick and where to put them at to make a great five-hour party.”
He and Penni should know, after all—they’ve attended an estimated 2,000 weddings and functions. Their own wedding took place only a year ago. Several musician friends performed at their celebration, and Larry crooned “The Way You Look Tonight” to Penni (though he lovingly credits her as the more “natural vocalist”).
It’s a talent she now gets to hone in their soul and R&B band, Penni Layne & the Wonder Boys, which performs original tunes and cover songs. Mirroring their roles as parents to a blended family with three kids, their careers are now more about mentorship. Leah Randazzo, a vocalist in Upside’s band Protégé, says she learned from the best: “They are both really sweet and fun and know more about the wedding industry than anyone I know!”