10 Winning Habits of a Successful DJ

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10 Winning Habits of a Successful DJ

1. Time Management

Time management includes finding balance between your DJing career and your day job, if you have one, and your family, friends and health. These are just a few elements that need to be managed carefully. Once DJs start getting popular, their social circle usually grows. Always set time aside to work on your craft and also set aside adequate time for rest before gigs. It is a great idea to have goals and a schedule, and make every effort to achieve those goals and keep to that schedule.

2. Support other Local DJs and Event Presenters

If you want your local scene to thrive, support it. If you are unable to participate at a particular event, you can still offer assistance in terms of promotion. Other DJs and promoters appreciate and take note of the love you show them.

Do not make access to you to be cheap; select those you support carefully: it is not advisable to promote everything. Focus on events and presenters whose reputation, work ethic and brand identity align with yours. Sometimes your presence means a lot; attend these events, connect with the organizers and be open to lending a hand, if need be. Of course, once you have a strong brand or if you are performing internationally, you may not have to do this.

3. Always Plan Ahead and be Prepared

The saying goes: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail”. Prepare a set list for every gig, but be willing to make adjustments to that list, depending on the mood of your audience. Designing well thought out guidelines is an incredibly useful habit, but maintaining flexibility is paramount.

Do research on your audience and prepare material that resonates with them. Remember, you are playing for an audience and not for yourself. If you are working with new equipment, or you are working at a new venue, call in advance to know the equipment that they will be using and make sure that you understand it, or that there is a technician available who does.

4. Be Innovative, Creative and Ready to Explore

Generally, audiences listen to multiple genres of music so be prepared to play multiple genres. You never know who is in the audience. For instance, a reggaeton DJ can do a mix of a hip hop or rap song. Once this mix is played at the party, it will touch hip hop lovers since they will identify the lyrics while reggaeton lovers will dance to it because of the beat. Everyone wins and you, as the DJ, have just created a new set of fans.

5. Stay Sober

There is usually liquor at events and event organizers always provide drinks to DJs. The fact that these may be free does not mean that you should consume it uncontrollably. Being intoxicated does not make you perform better; it only makes you think you are performing better. Being intoxicated severely hurts your reputation.

6. Your Appearance Counts

Dress the part! Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to pay attention to your appearance, hygiene and the way you carry yourself. Believe it or not, event organizers will offer you more money if you show up organized and well dressed. It shows them that you take yourself seriously and therefore they will take you seriously.

7. Learn How to Read the Room

Just because you or your friends like a specific song or genre of music does not mean that the audience will enjoy it. Your playlist should depend on your audience – what you think they may like. Make every effort to have something for everyone. As best as you can, try to avoid staring at your DJ rig or focusing too much on your friends and entourage. Stay alert, look up, engage with people, make eye contact, do not just watch the dance floor, and watch the rest of the room.

The most important part of the job is making sure that people are entertained, and if you are too focused on creating an ultra-technical perfect mix, it will not matter if people are not enjoying themselves. Set the vibe and tend to it. 

8. Show Up Early for Sound Check

This is one of the most common mistakes DJs make. They show up 20 minutes before their set, with their gear and their friends, and wonder why everything on the night did not go perfectly smooth. When you accept a gig offer, ask what time you must show up for sound check, and be there ten minutes before that. Not only will this give you a chance to dial in all the equipment and have a head start on all the other acts, this will also likely give you some one-on-one time with the promoter and other important members of the production team. Promoters love this, especially if you offer to stick around for a bit longer and lend a hand with the final stage preparations.

9. Practice

This should be obvious, but it needs to be mentioned. Practice. Everyday. Try new things, try new techniques. Explore your tech functionality, learn your music and new music. Study new trends, see what others are doing and learn to create – always practice. Also, have an understanding of your equipment. Your proficiency, dedication and practice will be reflected by better performances and a heightened sense of confidence. 

10. Be Polite and Enjoy Yourself

Just be nice and appreciative. Stay humble. Being polite, helpful, courteous, inviting and smiling often, goes a long-long way.


Author Since: May 21, 2020

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