How To Make A DJ Name For Yourself In A New City

Making a DJ name for yourself in a new city ain't easy!


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As a professional DJ it is our job to go where the parties are and kick them off. So unlike other professions it is unlikely you’ll spend your entire career in one place, even in places like New York, London or Tokyo.

Knowing that, many DJs start making tiny leaps into bigger markets pretty early in their career, regardless of the size of their hometown. Sometimes the move is prompted by a desire to test out your skills in front of bigger audiences or the desire to jump genres. Whatever your reasons are for packing up your DJ equipment and heading off to greener pastures, you’ll need some help making a name for yourself as a DJ in a new market.

It’s not as easy as showing up and lobbying for a gig, so keep reading to help make your move to another city a smooth one.

Learn the City

Before you can ever hope to make a DJ name for yourself in a new city, you have to get to know the new city. If this is going to be your home for even 6 months, it helps to get a feel for the city and learn its vibe. Even if you’re not looking to entertain the entire city—a lofty goal, no doubt—you want to know the best way to approach the decision makers.

Just consider the difference in vibe between say New York and Portland; the way you go about approaching DJs, venue owners or promoters would be quite different. Even though DJs in general are a laid back bunch, New York laid back and Portland laid back could not be further apart.

The more you get to know the people that make up the city, the better prepared you will be to make a DJ name for yourself in that city.

See the Scene

One of the most important things to do as a DJ new to the city is to see the scene for yourself. This means visiting a few different clubs and bars to see how things work. This will give you the chance to see which venues will be receptive to your music and style, and see where the biggest crowds gravitate.

This is the type of recon that will let you know where to start with your quest to dominate a new city. I suggest you start with bars because they are more likely to take a chance on a non-local DJ. But if you’re making the hop from close cities like Chicago to Detroit for example, your name or a particular track may be enough to get you a starter gig.

Get To Know The Right People

Probably one of the biggest mistakes DJs make when they move to a new city is to just go straight to the decision makers. Sure that would seem like the best course of action, but the problem with this is that decision makers have a ton of decisions to make, so they rely a lot on recommendations from others.

What does this mean for you? It means you need open yourself up and get to know a whole lot of people. Of course you want to get to know other DJs because they are the best way to get your foot in the door, but you also will need the so-called little people. This means bouncers, bartenders, wait staff, sound engineers and event organizers.

Each of these people is likely to have the same connections you seek to make. Get to know them, get them to like you and they will help you.

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Show Your Worth

If you really want to know how to make a DJ name for yourself I have two words for you: prove yourself. I know, I know; you are a DJ, not a graphic designer, lighting expert, sound engineer and not a flier distributor. But DJs who are willing to be ‘part of the team’ are DJs that decision makers automatically think of when they have an unexpected opening.

There are two reasons you should do this, really. First because the more they see you being and helpful and get to know you, the more likely the decision makers are to consider you when they need a DJ. The other reason is that these little side jobs will help sustain you until you have made a DJ name in your new home.

Become A Regular

Once you have settled in and you’ve found a few clubs or other venues that you like to chill at and want to DJ in, become a regular. Show up on specific nights and make yourself known to all. Talk to the bar or club staff, introduce yourself to the promoter and get to know the DJs. This is the perfect way to start building your circle of friends and power brokers.

With that circle firmly in place and constantly growing, you will be well on your way to making a name for yourself as a DJ.

When you are settled in and have a feel for the city you can go out and make gigs for yourself by throwing parties and promoting events with your new connections. Make this new city your own! 

I hope I helped you figure out how to make a DJ name in a new city. 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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