Last week, I gave tips on how to become successful at deejaying. This week will be a continuation and conclusion of this topic. This topic is especially dedicated to folks who intend venturing into the profession sometime later in the future or to folks who have started out in their deejaying careers, but are still newbies in the art and business and need some form of guidance on their way to achieving their dreams as successful disc jockeys.
So, in continuation from where I stopped last week, I’ll love to add some other little tips apart from the ones that I will discuss in details. These little details are lessons that I have learnt on the job and practical experiences that I have acquired from my sojourn as a professional disc journey.
First is your equipment, your hardware and the software you play with on your laptop. I like to say this on every platform I get to discuss disc jockey issues. If you use ‘Virtual DJ’ software on your laptop and play with it only without decks or turn tables, then you do not qualify to be called a disc jockey. In fact, it is folks like this who make the art of deejaying seemingly look cheap and easy to the public.
There’s no basis for comparison for a deejay that uses the Serato SL 1 to 4 and one who uses the Virtual DJ, because just as the name suggests, everything is done virtually, not like a real deejay that has the full set and hardware before him. With the combination of the software and the hardware, a real deejay is at liberty to charge higher because of the enormous cost it takes to get a complete deejay set.
Having said all of that above, before I start getting too technical beyond the comprehension of ‘non deejay’ folks, I’ll like to return to the main crux of my discussion. The sixth tip in continuation from last week’s article is:
- Have confidence in yourself and your abilities
I know this almost sounds like a cliché, but often the only thing holding you back is you. Dare to dream. Have a vision for where you want to be. Sure, you might not be the polished, finished article, but it’s in our nature to put our own efforts down and elevate those of others. Be aware of this and compensate for it. Chances are that you will get to places you never imagined that you could get to. You will also meet a lot of people too. Therefore, you have to believe that you’ve “got it” and that you are “good enough”. A bit of self-belief can be all it takes to accelerate your career. Being a bit easier on yourself will make your journey more fun. Ask for the advice and opinion of those who you respect, enjoy the ride, and trust in yourself.
- Disregard your age (young or old)
You’re never too young to “make it”. It’s to an extent a young person’s game. But again, there’s something weird about deejaying. It seems to really not matter so much how old people are. But sometimes, age is equal to good tune collection, but if you can keep up, you’re going to be fine. What’s more important than how old you are is how relevant you are. If you can’t connect with your audience, you can’t expect them to connect with you. Stay in touch, stay enthusiastic, and age is – to quote the cliché – simply a number.
- Take time to relax and recharge
You’re in this for the long run, so don’t burn out. Sure you’re passionate, sure you’ve got to put the work in – but if you put so much work in that you lose perspective on the bigger picture (family, rest, rejuvenation, stuff outside of deejaying), in the end, you lose. So, whether it’s a month in a year you stay completely off or every Monday and Tuesday relaxing after a hard weekend working, or just an important barbecue every Sunday with the family – pick your relaxation, and enjoy it. Remember, a lot of creative thinking gets done when we take time to relax and rejuvenate.
- Find a way to unwind after gigs
Getting home at 4am or whatever time having just played an energetic set can leave you far from ready for sleep! It’s an adrenalin thing and it goes with the territory, but you need tactics for relaxing and unwinding. One good “balancer” for me has always been exercise – just playing basketball and doing some writing leaves me properly ready for sleep at night even if I’ve been deejaying. Do what works for you – but remember that finding a way to unwind is important in this game.
10 Control your nerves
All disc jockeys get nervous. If you don’t, then you’re probably from outer space or you’re doing it wrong. The trick is to be professional enough to hide it. Sure, stuff can go wrong, but your job as a deejay is to hide that side of things form the audience as much as you can. They don’t care, it’s not their problem! Good deejays realise that and fix stuff unobtrusively and deftly. Of course, with experience you get better at this, but remember that getting scared is fine. It keeps you on your toes, and that’s actually a good thing.
What else do you think are qualities all successful disc jockeys share? A business-minded approach? A family background of success? Immense self-belief? Being at the right place at the right time? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.