Let Djs Be Djs and Stop Telling Them What to Play (Unless it is a Jam!)

They use an analogy that someone would not go into a restaurant and tell a chef how to make food. I believe djing a party is a wee bit different.  As djs we play for the people. The best requests are the ones that go with the genre that the dj is playing. For example, if the dj is playing Bell Biv Devoe and a guest suggests throwing in En Vogue.  That is applauded. Usually I put in on my prepare list and throw in as soon as I can. If it isn’t the right genre I can still put it on my prepare list and can throw it on when its appropriate.  If they ask for a song I already play, then I ask them if there is another song I can play for them or I give them suggestions they can choose from.

   When I play at an event, I use the playlist given by the client and I will include music suggested by the guests. I will happily play the suggestion. If every guest came with a suggestion, I would add it to my list. It can be a little much when the same guest keeps on asking for more and more songs and the event becomes more about that guest than the rest of the guests of the party. As a dj, I never ask another dj to play my song since I know its difficult to dj a party and maintain the dancing vibe.  Sometimes djs get in a zone and playing hit after hit and the floor is jamming.  Be aware the wrong request can kill the party and the concentration of the dj.


Playing to a Different Beat of a Drum

I always had my style and way of doing things. If it is my business, then I can run it any way I see fit. When you do a job a certain way and always get it done a certain way, then I may become difficult if one switch things up since you are used to do it a certain way. Sometimes it is good to step back and learn from the change.

During the September month, I had a Saturday off and decided to help out another Dj Company with a wedding. I met with the company and I was impressed with their structure and that they have been around over 20 years in the business. They have multiple djs under their wings and keep busy the whole year. This is what I learned and want to incorporate in my business.

Dress to impress. Weddings should be djed in suits or tuxedos. I enjoyed wearing suits but it would get super hot setting up heavy equipment. I understood one can wear a polo while setting up then put on the tie and jacket once everything is set up. Now in my business, I make it a standard to wear a suit and tie for weddings.

I also learned to do a walk though with the venue if I never played there before so I can be at ease on the day of the event since I know where the set up is going to be and know where all the outlets are going to be.

Last but not least, I was able to use a dj cart during the wedding event. Before I would carry all my equipment by hand and make 4 to 5 trips . With this dj cart, I can make two trips and it made a huge difference and felt way more efficient.


The Power of the Thank You

When I am not compiling new playlists or looking up the latest music gear I am working at a public high school.  During the summer, I have the option of working or taking the summer off but I always opt to do summer school. I have the opportunity to run my own summer school program.


  On Sundays, a church rents out the school facilities and the church conducts their own services there.  One patron parked her car there and left with a friend to grab a bite to eat but once she came back the gates were locked and her car was stuck inside the school. The lady called me early Monday to make sure some one could open the gate and after talking to the custodian I assured her that her car could leave campus.


  Once she arrived on campus she called me again and I notified the custodian to open the gate for her. I then left to take care of school business. After I returned to the office, I noticed a missed phone call from the lady and I assumed it was her telling me the gates were closed and she is waiting for assistance. Quickly I called her back ready to apologize for the wait but before I did that I can tell she was driving on the phone. All she wanted to do was to call me to thank me for helping her get her car off campus. I was astounded since it is a rarity that someone goes out of their way to thank someone after they got what they wanted. I told her I appreciated her phone call and I shared it with the custodian. A little gratitude goes a long way.


New DJ Tool (Pioneer DDJ-sr2) to Have in Tool Box


Before I get into my new toy, let me explain the beauty of a controller. Back in the day, the dj had to use a mixer and hook it up to two turntables that were connected with multiple rca cables. Then the mixer would connect with the speakers and then the gig had music. Usually it would take about 45 minutes to set up solo.  A controller contains a mixer and turntables as one. So the use of rca cables is unnecessary and set up takes half the time.  Gotta love technology!


My controller of choice is the DDJ SX2, which is the industry standard for mobile and nightclub djs. This is a four-channel controller. I take this guy everywhere. As his backup I would take the original Pioneer controller DDJ-s1. Since I never needed a back up, I would never use my original controller. I decided to get a newer back up in the DDJ-sr2, which is a two-channel controller. This looks like the little brother of what I use now.


The ddj-sr2 is smaller and lighter than his bigger brother. With this controller, it can be powered by usb or with a powered plug, which could be a lifesaver incase one runs out of outlets. If a venue has a professional sound system, this controller can be connected to it with ease.


It can also be used for a wedding in case multiple set ups have to be ready at the same time for the ceremony and the reception. If both events happen in the same venue, the guests can leave the reception immediately and be greeted by music when they enter the next room right away.


Customer Service that Commands Attention

Customer Service that Commands Attention


I do not know why but when I go to a restaurant I pay attention to the customer service more than I pay attention to the good food I am eating. If the food is scrumptious then it’s a bonus. Rarely there is a time, where I am blown away.  That happened last weekend in New Orleans.  Commanders Palace, located next to a historical cemetery in a residential area, was a marvelous experience. As I entered the restaurant the host and 4 waiters greeted me as we were guided to our seat. Every table had balloons floating overhead. During the meal, a three-piece band played blues and took requests. At one table, there was a birthday and the band hung out longer than usual, and then there was an instant conga line. Of course being an entertainer I had to jump in the line with the strangers.

  Back to the customer service, I asked a waitress for location of the restroom and she actually walked me to it. In the middle of the meal, the water was exchanged for new water since the restaurant wanted to make sure I had new ice.  We were deeply surprised about that being that we are from California. Apparently Louisiana is not in a drought. We had numerous waiters come by the table and talk with us. They were so knowledgeable with their food and gave suggestions to other locations that were their favorites.

  I give this place a standing ovation with customer service. The food was excellent but the customer service makes a huge difference and believe is so important in any industry.