In my book “Karaoke Krazy,” I give advice on the many ways to be successful as a Karaoke DJ or “KJ.” Here is an excerpt:
If you are a KJ, your style is every bit as important as your reputation because it is PART of your reputation. It is what defines you.
There is a lot you can do to create a style of your own and it does not always involve how you speak on a microphone.
This section includes things about me, and things I have done to enhance my style.
You may get some ideas, or perhaps you have a style all of your own that you are happy with. Either way you might learn something.
“The Art of Illusion”
There is an art to creating an illusion in the room, one that will draw in and sustain a crowd. It is your job to provide an environment that did not exist prior to your arrival.
The way you dress, the music you play, and how well you work a room and motivate people, are integral parts of the whole. If you miss doing one of these things well, you may survive. However, if you miss more than one of these things, you may not.
What you wear sets the tone in the room. If you are in jeans and a T-shirt, your crowd will wear jeans and T-shirts too.
If you wear trendy clothes, tails, or pink gym shoes and a bow tie, you will set a better tone and people will respond to that. You will also inform people that you are an entertainer and they will prepare to be entertained.
My former manager, J.R., insisted that I always dress like a star. If I was getting off of a tour bus at a gas station, I was required to be picture perfect. His motto was, “If you look like a star and act like a star, you are a star.” He was right about this. People treat you like a star if you dress like one.
Obviously, if you are doing a private function you need to ask what the theme will be or what dress is required. You will look very out of place at a formal function if you are wearing a cowboy hat and jeans. Likewise, you will feel out of place if you are wearing tails and the guests are wearing cut-offs.
Another detail you might pay attention to is the lighting. I do not advise a lot of bright lights. The room needs ambiance and ‘mood.’ Bright lights make people want to hide.
Dimmed or diluted (ambient) lighting helps people to relax. It also makes people feel like they look younger (wrinkles are obscured) and this makes them feel better.
People who feel good about themselves are more likely to stick around all night.
Make sure all of the tables and chairs are neatly arranged. You may think this is not your job, and perhaps it isn’t. But you want to do everything in your power to make the room as presentable and inviting as possible.
You will often see me pushing in bar stools. This is something J.R. taught me to do years ago. I detested doing it at first, but later I realized that an untidy room is a reflection on me.
Periodically during the evening, you should also help pick up empty beverage bottles and glasses. Not only does it look bad when these are sitting around, it slows the drinking process.
People are more likely to order another beverage if they are unaware of how many they have already consumed.
Remember that your job is to fill the cash drawer. This is why your club owner is having the promotion.
Do not worry if you are a KJ who goes solo and you are too busy to handle all of these extraneous jobs at once. You will gradually become comfortable and skilled enough to multi-task.
Regarding “in-between” music, keep the beats per minute above 120. Keeping the BPM’s high will cause a subconscious assault on the central nervous system of your patrons, causing them to become more exited, more thirsty, and less bored.
To determine what the BPM’s are in a particular song, use a stopwatch. Play the song and count the beats for one minute. If you count 112 BPMs, the song is no doubt a slow one.
If you can, flash the stage lights off and on during dance sets. This will produce another assault on the central nervous system.
If you happen to sustain a high level of BPMs with both in-between music and Karaoke songs, you may have to “dump the dance floor.”
Although it is rare (because there is almost always a barrage of slow Karaoke songs), there are times when you have an overly excited crowd. Good for you, you are doing your job!
However, it may become necessary to slow down, and calm down your patrons. Take the time to drop in a slow song and dump the fast dancers off of the dance floor. Fights can be avoided through use of this technique. People will also take this opportunity to order a drink.
Let me express that I am not advocating getting every individual in the bar as drunk as possible. However, there are reasons that your club owner owns this business, and you should know how to enhance it.
For more information, or to order my book, go to: karaokekrazy.org