It is said that everyone, including my super fly Mother is a DJ. Regardless of the over flow of talent I have this crazy thought that maybe, just maybe… there is room for all of us here. With so many DJs doing and playing the same styles of music and clubs you’re probably wondering “How is this even possible?” So here is my challenge to the “average DJ” to stand out amongst the rest when it can seem like the impossible task. I promise you if you’re willing to do the work it is possible and you’ll go much farther.
1. Define Your Sound
Being different means finding inspiration in others but ultimately finding what speaks true to you. Both musically and in your brand. Sometimes people become so stuck on what is working for others that they forget about what works best for them. In order to do this, you have to find what moves you and you’ve got to dig deep. Sure you can grab the Top 10 on Beatport or you can grab those gems you know the other DJs won’t have. You can even go as far to reach out to labels with those unreleased tunes they are still testing out. Defining your sound can be a timely process but the benefits are well worth the hours spent. This is an experience many DJs actually find quite exhilarating and can boost your creativity and drive.
2. Find Your Voice
Unlike finding your sound, finding your voice is your approach, morals, and even your shared opinions. It’s how you will find the type of fans and even industry relationships that last. The best way to find people that are into what you do is to define exactly what it is you believe in. What you really want to show them is who you are as a person not just as a DJ. If they dig the person or the music, chances are they’ll support both. But getting to know the artist behind the music creates someone that isn’t just “the DJ.”
3. Find Your Medium
You’ve got the sound, your voice but how are you getting it out there? Maybe you are good on camera, live radio or podcasts. For some it’s in writing and doing workshops. Find a way to reach out to people outside of just asking them to come to your show. People need a way to connect and feel like a part of the process. More than just another “LIKE” or “Follow” on Facebook or Twitter.
Dillon Francis is a great example of someone that found his voice. He has a great sense of humour, is polite, professional and very talented. He knows how to make is fans laugh using Vine and Instagram skits and alter egos. Regardless of his fame he stays true to his fans and brand image while of course consistent in his music. Even the way he sells his records isn’t intrusive or demanding.
On the slight chance you have taken anything I said out of context, I have to make a few things clear. Things that many of us have witnessed or even done ourselves. It’s okay if you have made these mistakes in the past, but now it’s time for a change. It’s your chance to show people who you really are beyond the music side. The following are common mistakes you may want to make sure you are not doing yourself.
4. Don’t Be A Biter
It’s so simple. The whole article is about coming into your own and figuring out what works for you. Yes, you will find inspiration in others but ultimately you’re figuring out what works for YOU. A “biter” is literally someone that will bite your style. They take everything you are doing and make it their own as in, you might as well be selling the same product with a different name because not much else is different.
5. Dont be a talker – it’s Cheap
Don’t just tell people what you do or are going to do but show them. That DJ that says, “big news coming” and then that big news is just a local party in a grimy pub turns into the boy that cried wolf. We get it, you are excited about a new accomplishment and you should be totally stoked. But telling your fan base that there is big news coming loses its hype if people know the news is usually mediocre at best. Did you get signed by a huge label? Or maybe you landed a sick gig in Ibiza. Fantastic. But again, make sure it’s locked down 100% before you start talking that talk.
6. Be kind – not the jerk
As in, don’t play nice online and then be a total jerk in person or the other way around. Be consistent in your message. It always catches up to you and it’s not a good look. When the only thing you have to show for is good music but you’re a total jerk, people catch on. Eventually agencies, labels and other artist just don’t want to work with you. I admit some of my favorite producers I’ve stopped following and purchasing their music because they’ve been online bullies to other artists. Some have even disrespected fans. When we typically vote with our money we tend to realize how important it is not to support acts, establishments and brands that repeatedly and without remorse hurt others.
7. Keep Your Plans To Yourself
Seriously. This part alone could cover an entire novel but this is the short of it.
1) As briefly mentioned above; if you’ve got something really rad coming up it’s always better to share that news when it’s 100%. That means contracts signed, deposits in hand.
Example if an artist says they are going to release a tune on a label and the said tune never happens unfortunately you are often the one to look unprofessional when the tune never comes out. Even if in this case it’s beyond your control. I must also include sharing unfinished, un-mastered tunes in the early stages. If you’re a new producer you’re going to realize very quickly the way a tune sounds today could sound VERY different in 4 months. And like training your ear for DJing, you must train your ear for production as well. Sometimes it’s just better to keep that shit on lock down until you feel 100% on it.
2) If you want to stand out against your competition you can’t be sharing everything. If you want to be the first to do something innovative you can’t tell your competition about your invention or plans. It gives others the opportunity to grab on and do something with that idea before you get the chance to execute it. It sounds paranoid, I know. But there are most definitely people out there that can and will rip you off if you let them.
So find that voice, be true to yourself and clear about your message. Find the right way to reach out to people without coming off flaky or phony. Be genuine and most definitely be the best version of yourself. You will make mistakes but getting up and trying again in a way that works for you can be your guideline to success. We do what works for us and that journey will most definitely be different for everyone. If you want to stand out first you have got to figure out who you are, what you offer, and what works for you.
Other articles you may enjoy:
- 4 Ways to Find Motivation As a DJ, When You’re Just Not Feeling It
- Ask Kilma – How Should DJs Send Professional Emails?
- 6 Non-Music Ideas For Your DJ Page… And Why You Need Them
- 5 Ways DJs Can Have An Excuse Free 2016
- 9 Ways to Give Your DJ Career a Proper Workout in 2016
- 5 Ways Artists Can Benefit From A Strong Online Presence
- The Ultimate 2016 DJ Planner