Hey, hi, hello, how are ya?
In a nutshell, my job is to assist various groups of people each week in having a good time for a few hours through the choice of musical selections that result in cardiovascular exercise on a 16' x 16' square usually located in the middle of the group.
In short, I'm a DJ.
In order to perform my job successfully, I often seek assistance from the people in attendance via musical suggestions that THEY feel may enhance the overall feel of the event.
You may call these "requests". At least that's what I call them.
Having many decades of doing this under my belt, I don't necessarily "need" these requests. I have an uncanny ability to look at this group of people and by sight alone, can try various methods to get in sync with them. It's actually more of a courtesy that I extend to the groups of people in order to make them happy and more importantly, have fun.
So, today's lesson is Seven Ways To Make A Successful Request When You're At A Party And There Happens To Be A DJ There.
First and foremost, don't ask for "Freebird". Especially from the back of a crowded room while screamed at the top of your lungs in a drunken slur. That joke died over 20 years ago. I may give you a forced weak smile if you choose to do this ... kind of the same smile someone would give you when you tell them a well-worn joke over and over again.
If you try to make a request and can tell that I'm very focused on either my computer, my mixer or the audience, please wait until I don't seem AS focused. Also, if I hold up an index finger with a smile, that means "Give me just a second and I'll be able to talk". Do not grab my headphones off of my head to talk to me. Do not demand to be heard immediately. I am WORKING at that very moment. Sure, my job is to make sure people are having fun but it's still WORK to do this.
If you have a request, please know both the official name of the song and the artist that originally recorded it. Don't recite a few lines from the song and expect me to have a clue as to what you're talking about. This does work sometimes (I know that what you may call "Apple Bottomed Jeans" is actually "Low" by Flo Rida and "From The Window To The Wall" is actually "Get Low" by Lil Jon. Beyond that, I'm as clueless as you are in this situation and neither one of us are doing the other any favors.) By requesting an actual title, it saves a lot of valuable time for both of us ,,, I can get back to work and you can get back to the dance floor.
Try to keep your requests to 1-2 songs. Don't give me a list written on a napkin and expect to hear every song on that napkin. There's dozens more guests and they have requests too. Plus the host/hostess of the event has usually already supplied me with a list that is actually more thought out and planned than the napkin list. That said, sometimes you may come up with a great suggestion that the DJ has completely forgotten about and will be thrilled to see requested. I don't want to discourage you from the napkin requests, just understand that I most likely won't be able to play them all.
If I play your request, DANCE TO THE REQUEST. As I stated earlier, my job is to build and keep a dance floor. If I play your request, that means I have some sort of faith in your request that it just might work. But if everyone walks off the dance floor as your song starts it's now up to you to get them back. In order to do that, you need to dance to it. I have been hired for a set amount of time and if a request empties the dance floor, I can't afford to bore/offend/irritate the guests for long with an empty dance floor playing a song nobody else likes but you. But if you DANCE to that song, I will continue to play the song. If you don't dance, don't be upset when your song fades out and another one starts. My job is to please AS MANY of the guests as possible at all times. And honestly, I will take ONE upset guest over their request being cut off than an entire roomful of guests upset that it seems as if I'm ignoring them.
If you make a request, don't leave the area. Don't go outside to smoke. Most of the time, guests are shocked at how quickly I can work their requests into the mix. If you're outside and miss your request being played, sorry, but I'm not playing it again for you. I've got too many other songs that I have to get to before the party is over and when I play a song twice, it comes across that I'm not paying attention to what I'm doing when nothing could be further from the truth.
Don't tell me that you're about to leave so play your song "next". If you're truly leaving, you're not doing me any favors by sticking around and contributing to the celebration so why should I do you a favor by playing your song "next"? And honestly, there's several reasons WHY DJs play the "next" song. First and foremost ... it fits with the "vibe" that we are currently seeking. For myself personally, I like to beatmix and mix songs that are in the same key. That means the music makes a smooth transition from one song to the next so the dancing doesn't stop on the dance floor and elsewhere. I could break down the psychology and how and why I do this, but I'd have to charge you and right now I'm just doling out free advice. Hit me up and we'll discuss educating you for a price!
That's all the time I have for today. If you'd like, leave a comment on the best way YOU know how to request a song below. We can discuss it and maybe even have a debate. Who knows? Maybe we'll both learn something new!