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From DJ to Performer: A Guide to Becoming a Great DJ And a Great Performer

Category: Deejay  //   Tags: , , , , , ,

What Separates The Great DJs from The Rest of The Pack?

What is it that separates the great DJs and extraordinary DJs and performers from the more mundane and ordinary DJs and performers? Is it raw talent? A strong drive and passion for success? Or is there something more to it? While the science of deejaying and the tools of the DJ have evolved significantly in the past decade the artistic expression of the individual DJ and how they decide to use the tools in their DJ arsenal still remain as one of the most significant factors in the overall strength of their performance. Ultimately it is their ability to artfully manipulate music that will elevate the great DJs from the rest of the pack.

Music is the Foundation of Any Great DJ

As music is the raw clay the DJ must sculpt his art from, choice of music is therefore one of the founding factors in a DJs overall success. It is important to remember that as a DJ you are responsible for the overall mood of the entire crowd. It is therefore important that you chose music that is appropriate for the crowd you are playing for. You don’t play Drum and Bass for a crowd that only listens to Top-40 and Hip Hop. It is good to occasionally throw in other genres if you can make them work but save that for times when you know your crowd is definitely more diverse.

It is also important to remember that often as a DJ you get music much sooner than the general public. This means several things: First, it means you will have to learn how to push new music to your audience without alienating them. You may have to rotate in new music every few songs mixed in with what you already know works well with your crowd.

Second, remember that again you are getting music long before the general public, so it may feel old to you, but it is still fresh and new to them. So don’t stop playing a song just because it feels old to you. If the crowd still responds well to a song it may still be worth playing, even if you feel like you and the nightclub staff are tired of it. Remember, it’s not about the employees as much as it is about the patrons. Your choice of which past classic songs are left in rotation and what new songs you decide to push every week are often part of what separates you from other DJs.

Third, a good regimen of hot remixes can also elevate a DJ from otherwise similar DJs. It’s important to find as many unique and flavorful remixes as possible and in many cases create your own either ahead of time in the studio or live using a capellas and instrumentals or edits that start with the song and end in an a capella and vice versa to create smooth unique song transitions that separate you from the other DJs out there. Just remember that a remix should be better than the original song or just as good but offer something unique for your audience, otherwise you should just stick to playing the original version of the song. Playing remixes just to play remixes is bad practice and means you really don’t have a good grasp of music. If it makes people say, wow that was an awesome remix and make people think “that remix totally makes sense” then it is worth playing if not you may want to rethink your remix bag, rotate out the ones that don’t work and try out a few new ones every now and then.

Practice and Skill Sets Help Elevate A DJs Performance

Another major factor that helps elevate a normal DJ to the status of a great DJ is their own practice regimen and the skill sets attained through practice. DJs that can scratch, juggle and use various styles of creative transitions often create much more energetic and memorable performances than DJs that don’t have these skills within their repertoire.

Image Isn’t Everything But It Is Still a Major A Factor In A DJs Success

Finally, the last major factor is your image. In order to become a Superstar DJ you have to look like a Superstar DJ, or at least look like a superstar. A picture of you deejaying at an ordinary gig just won’t cut it, unless it looks like a studio shot at a nightclub with a spectacular looking light show and a huge crowd with you as the focal point. Otherwise, you are better of with a modeling style, professional, artistic photo shoot with some good head shots and a few full body shots. The occasional prop may be used or even other models on the sides of you representing the kind of crowd you as a DJ can be expected to pull in. Remember when choosing a DJ, the first thing a nightclub, promoter or event coordinator will see is your press pack or Mixtape CD Cover and though they say never to judge a book by it’s cover often that is the first thing they do. So make sure you get a professional photographer and a professional Designer to handle your image, your press kit and your CD covers.

The same goes for all your events, make sure you send the designers and nightclubs the image of you that you want represented on the flyer and make it available online in high quality format in case they decide to or need to snatch stuff off the internet. Also make sure they run the flyers by you before going to print as the flyer also represents you and is part of your overall branding as a DJ. You want to be represented with quality artwork in every city you play in. If you look at their past flyer designs and don’t think they will produce one that is up to your standards you may want to suggest a few designers you have worked with in the past that you feel will benefit the nightclub more. They may be thankful for pointing them to a new source of higher quality flyer designs. Just be careful that they don’t get offended as sometimes it’s a personal friend or the owners themselves that may be designing the flyers for the club, so you may want to say it more like “I have the contact of a really good flyer designer if you need it, he does a lot of my flyers and CD artwork”

A professional website is also part of your overall professional image. Myspace and Face Book are fine as secondary websites, but you should have a real website with a memorable domain name as your main website. It should be included in all your promotional materials and it should be featured on every flyer for every event you are a part of. You have to promote yourself as well as the event after all, so that your fan base can continue to grow over time. This is part of how you increase your demand as a DJ.

Make Sure Your Performances Are Extraordinary

Whenever you travel and perform at new locations make sure every performance is extraordinary. Even if you feel sick or tired and exhausted from flying it is important to have that ON SWITCH that just turns on the second you hit the stage. It’s natural, even after countless performances to get nervous right before performing in front of a new crowd you’ve never been in front of before, but remember that you are a professional and know that as soon as you get past that first song all your training and all your professionalism will start to shine through and you will soon be back in your element, you are a great DJ after all and your performance will reflect that. Also remember to remain flexible, you may have put together a few parts of your set ahead of time and planned on playing a few songs that you wanted to play for this particular gig but remember ultimately the crowd response will tell you which direction to head with your music and you may have to adjust accordingly. Be prepared for anything and nothing will catch you off guard. DJs only become extraordinary performers through their ability to handle various crowds and turn them into fans with positive vibes and performances that get the crowd involved into the mix.

Your ability to make the club and event promoters money and your ability to move the crowd is going to be a key factor in making sure you get re-booked over and over by the promoters and nightclubs you work for, so make sure you also help with part of the promotions utilizing your website and your online presence as well as making sure you rock out the night every time you perform.

Round out your skills, improve your image and diversify your styles so you too can transform from an everyday run of the mill DJ to a great DJ and performer and start touring around the world.

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