I posted this on my MySpace blog nearly 3 years ago. Since then, I have been contacted by DJs (some I don’t even know) wanting to share their success story upon following these tips…
A while back while playing out at a gig, someone approached me and asked the question – “how can I be a good DJ and successful at it?” This is one of those questions I’d never expect someone to ask me, but my immediate response was, “Just Practice hard and be Diligent”. He smiled, shared his experience on his years of DJing and I did the same, he then shook my hand and walked away, looking like he had found the truth.
I got home that day and reflected on that very same question. I thought to myself – does mere practicing hard shoot you to the top of your DJ’ing career? I concluded – The answer is simply NO! And after giving much thought to it, I was finally able to answer the question correctly myself.
So here are the ten proven tips on how to be a successful DJ.
- Practice Hard, Know how to Mix and blend.
– Ever been to a party where the DJ was “Train Wrecking” all night? He tried to mix and it just wasn’t sounding right all night
- Know your equipment!
- Know your Crowd.
– Go to clubs/places where you’d like to spin and pay attention to the Dj and how the crowd reacts to him/her.
Showing up with techno records to a dancehall bash because you forgot to do your homework – things can do bad pretty quick.
- Network! Network! Network!
Go to clubs /parties and paly up with the DJ, Promoters – Ask them if you can work with them in the future. While a few will reluctantly object, some will be willing to give you some shine time.
- Get a Business card. It shows you’re no Joke! or a “Toy DJ” like My Pop once referred me – of course that was many years ago, before I blew up lol!
- Make Mix Cds.
After you’ve had enough practice and feel like you’re ready to leave your bedroom studio, record your Mixes and distribute them to those who care to listen. Make them look Professional so people will take your work seriously – Perception is everything.
- Have an online presence.
The internet is big playground/market place. Everybody is buying and selling. Get on Facebook, MySpace or any other major online network. Don’t be shy, advertise your work all over the place, and build a network of followers. Get with a DJ alliance if possible (I represent Naija DJ’s -http://nigeriandjs.com).
- Don’t be cheap. Spend Money on Equipment and Records.
while any seriously skilled DJ with a pair of classic technics 1200s (industry standard turntable) and a basic mixer will almost always shut down an average DJ with the fanciest equipment, quality sets of equipment can help you elevate your game to the next level. There are a lot of wicked equipment out there. Save up some cash and get on some “performance enhancement drugs”.
- Pick your Music style(s), know it like the back of your hand and stick to it.
No use trying to be a jack of all trades. Music is a very broad subject; you can’t be a doctor, an accountant, Computer Programmer, and a Rocket Scientist at the same time. Well maybe if you’re Albert Einstein. But that’s like one in every 200 yrs.
People are going to ask you to play records, and you don’t want to come off like you have no clue (not cool). Try to look and sound sharp.
- The number one tip on how to become a successful DJ – Have passion for the art, put in work, pay your dues and the game going take care of you someday.
Get your swagger on, Always shut down a party whenever you get the opportunity because the word on how you performed is going to spread like a virus. Take some lessons in public speaking and learn how to interact with and hype up your crowd. The game has gotten much more competitive, Mixing hot records is not enough these days. Be personable, approachable; be nice to people, paly with every one that comes your way. You’d be surprised how many opportunities I have gotten in the past just from coming across as easy going and cool. Try to look Nice – DJs are celebrities too
Follow these tips and you’ll stay booked like there’s no tomorrow. Its fun being a DJ and this is how I became Mighty Mike.