Everyone loves good music, and that’s what a DJ does. A truly great DJ sets the mood for a party. Not only do they get things started, but they also make sure that everyone in attendance has a night to remember. To last in the game and become successful, you need to get these things right to stay one step ahead of the many wannabe DJs.
We bring you 10 top secrets of becoming a successful DJ
1. Be a music fan
First off, if you’re going to become a successful DJ, you need to be a lover of music. Otherwise, what are you thinking? The chances are it’s your passion for music that’s driven you to choose a career as a DJ, and that passion will hopefully translate to your audience. If you’re only in it for the title, give up now. Stop reading and pick something else to do.
2. Curate a decent music collection
Spend time building your music library. Curate a collection of truly great music and not just third-rate mp3 downloads. It may take time to gather quality music, but your music collection is vital for the growth of your career. Hit up your friends, YouTube channels and other great music stores for your collection. Some of the genres to explore include:
• Hardcore, House
• Drum and Bass
• Dark Alternative
• Glitch, Dubstep
When you finally surface as a professional, polished DJ with a crate collection of mind-blowing songs, nobody will know how long it took you to collect those tunes over the year.
3. Get some experience
Nobody is born a DJ. It takes practice and a skill level that you can’t learn overnight. Go out and get some experience. Volunteer if you can’t get a gig. Practice makes perfect, and you’ll never really know how your set works in front of an audience if you stay hidden away in your bedroom. Offer to do an hour-warm-up before the clubs commence. Help set up the gear. Be smart and learn the ropes from an expert.
4. Get the right equipment
Having the right tools for the job is one of the surest ways to succeed. As a DJ, you will need a turntable and controller and mixer when starting out. Spend as much money as you can afford on equipment and records. Most DJs download the software without getting the hardware. This would not be the best step for you if you are serious about standing out from the crowd – Save up some cash and buy some “performance enhancement equipment.” If you love to produce as a DJ, you’ll need digital audio workstation (DAW) software.
5. Hard work pays
Don’t expect to become a superstar DJ right out of the gate. People who have taken out time to work hard in their chosen career and go the extra mile often stand out on the bigger stage. The surest way to stand out is to perfect and hone your craft as much as possible before you ever think of seeking a two-hour solo paid gig.
6. Be reliable and professional
Nobody wants to work with an unreliable DJ. First impressions matter – it is essential to look the part, be reliable and act professionally; by looking and acting like a pro, you’re letting the audience know that you are in charge of the party. Always turn up for every gig at least 10 minutes early to feel the vibe of the crowd. Learn how to hype up your crowd and also interact with them. Be reliable, approachable and above all, be professional.
7. Have an online presence
In the age of social media, an online presence is a necessity. Use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Sound Cloud to showcase your skills and interact with your audience. Advertise and promote yourself to build a large fan base and a network of followers. After all, what’s a DJ without an audience?
8. Choose your style
Pick a music style and make a name for yourself in that genre. You won’t be able to be a pro in every genre – even Einstein had a focus.
9. Have a mix
Practice mixing as often as you can. Upload your mixes and ask colleagues and friends to offer constructive criticism. When you feel you’ve practiced enough and are ready to leave the studio, record yourself, unedited, for an hour: just a mixer, controller, and a turntable.
10. Network and have confidence in your ability.
Go to clubs and interact with DJs, promoters, hype men and music lovers. Find people on Sound Cloud in your city and follow other great DJs on Twitter and Instagram. Ask them for advice, and who knows, if you’re good enough, maybe someone will be willing to give you a guest spot. Remember always to have confidence in your ability. Dare to dream it. Have a goal of what you wish to achieve and a vision of where you want to be – then work towards it.