Do You Need To Define Yourself As A DJ?

Do You Know Who You Are As A DJ?


Over the last few weeks I have received a lot of emails from up and coming DJs wondering how they can define themselves as DJs. Does it come down to the genres you prefer or your style of dress? Or is what defines you as a DJ how you approach your gigs and other commitments within your profession?

Honestly the answer is who knows? There are plenty of ways in which you can define yourself, but as long as you leave people with a positive view of you, that is really all that matters. It’s important that you don’t get stuck on things that don’t really matter because making in this industry is difficult enough without borrowing trouble.

Play What Calls To You

Of all the queries I get about what defines a DJ, the one thing people want to know is if they should define themselves by the genre they play. Personally I’d say NO. The nature of music in general is pretty fickle and one only needs to look at the last 5 years of chart toppers to see that those on top today were totally unknown just a few years back. The same is true in the world of DJing.

Tying yourself to one genre—if you aren’t feeling it—isn’t going to define you as anything but a lackluster artist. If you enjoy more than one genre of music, own it and play it to the best of your ability.

Pack The House

If you want to know what will define you as a DJ in the eyes of promoters, festival organizers and club owners it is really just one thing: your ability to pack a room. If you are a popular DJ with a huge following that actually shows up, you will be seen as a hot commodity that owners want to play their clubs.

How you achieve this status will fall squarely on your shoulders. For the most part it requires a heavy online presence, which means regular updates to your blog plus frequent social media interactions. The more you connect with people—all around the country and the world—the more likely it is that they will show up when you have a gig close by.

Support Fellow DJs

I’ll be honest here and tell you that not all DJs see this is an important characteristic to possess but when I was first starting out it was my close circle of DJ friends that helped me move my career forward. We showed up at each other’s gigs…with a group of friends in tow and got the party started. This bolstered my status in the eyes of promoters and owners, as well as my friends, so they we were able to book regular gigs and gain a large following of loyal music lovers.

It isn’t just about supporting the DJs you know but also about supporting events in the DJ world. We all have dreams of the big venues we hope to play…but are you actually supporting these events? If not, you should be.


Be Defined By Your Talent

Regardless of the type of music you play…do you play it well? Being good at your job is the perfect way to define yourself as a DJ. You are a talented, hardworking professional musician…isn’t that enough?

This is usually the hard part for new artists of any kind, actually. The only way to find out if you are truly talented and good at your job is to get objective feedback from people who don’t know you. Trust me when I tell you that I know exactly how brutal people can be when hiding behind the anonymity of the internet, but there are tons of people willing to give you an honest assessment of your skills minus the vitriol.

This is where it will come in handy to have a large online presence. Put up samples of music you’re working on, sell some of your mixes or offer free giveaways for an honest review. These reviews will help you figure out where you need to improve and where you are already a rock star.

There are plenty of things you can—and will—do to define yourself as a professional DJ. The trick is to make sure that the positive things you do like showing up on time for gigs, being courteous and professional to the staff you encounter, outweigh the negatives like playing a totally cliché closing track.

Don’t make the mistake of allowing others to define you as a DJ by one instance of bad behavior or being late to a gig. Just work harder to show up on time (which means early) and prove that you are a professional that can be trusted to do the job you were hired to do. That’s all you can do really, but it goes a long way in this industry.

I hope I helped you be the best DJ you know how to be. Email in the box below to get access to Free video DJ lessons that will answer all of your questions on how to become a disk jockey!

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