A good DJ needs to be able to prepare for an event by carefully selecting songs that will continue to engage the audience throughout the entire time, but must also be able to read the room and change the set on the fly. Read more about what all DJs do for events here.
Some events can be somewhat easily predicted. For instance, high school dances probably won’t have very many Rock and Roll classics. A company holding an extravagant banquet won’t be happy if the DJ drops in some Lil Yachty between smooth jazz songs.
However, for many events, especially weddings, the song selections will not easily fall into one or two genres. Because there are so many people across so many different generations at weddings, engagement throughout the reception is perhaps the number one goal of a good DJ. The music at a wedding reception is a delicate mix between the bride and groom’s favorites, new hits, past favorites, line dances like the Electric Slide, songs with their own dance moves like the Stanky Leg, some kind of Polka, special dances with family, slow dances, and songs that somehow get the great grandpa as excited to dance as your 7 year old Fornite-dancing nephew. To be honest, it’s a lot of work!
Engagement across the generations is something I strive for at every event, especially at weddings. I want everyone to have a good time! Even if I’m DJing an event where there isn’t really dancing to expected, I hope that I can get a good foot tap, or comments about the good song selection, from kids as well as the older crowd.
It’s important to know that before your event, I prepare, a lot! As I get to know you, I’ll try and figure out the crowd I’ll be playing for. The more music suggestions you make, the easier it is for me to make sure I’m playing most importantly what you want to hear. That also gives me an idea on the kind of music you would like to have played. I not only will have my ‘ideal’ set list, but I’m going to have back up songs for my back up songs. I will want to find out if I should expect dancing or not (let’s be honest, some families just aren’t into dancing, and that’s ok!). And if it’s ok to do, I’ll even accept song requests on the spot! (Assuming their request will keep the party alive and not just them on the dance floor).
Well, let’s be honest, your grandpa is (probably) not interested in much of Drake’s music. He (probably) won’t be out in the middle of the dance circle doing the floss. So I make the choice to try and gradually switch between genres and generations of music to get him involved. If I notice a large amount of women dancing but their husbands are sitting back watching, I’ve got to search for the perfect song to get them involved in some way (maybe switching it up to something like All Star by Smash Mouth?). The goal is not to change around who is on the dance floor, but to select songs that keep the highest amount of engagement throughout the event.
But the most important tool in my toolbox to engage the generations is…
Having a ready playlist of songs that transcend time.
There are many songs that have been become party/wedding classics. At almost every event, I have a list of songs that I can go to that can get your great grandpa dancing along with your nephew. Overall, almost every song can be enjoyed by every generation. So along with having some generation-specific music, you can be sure to hear some of my transcending songs throughout the event.
What are some of them? Well… to give you a taste:
Don’t Stop The Music by Rihanna,
Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5,
I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston,
Low (feat T.-Pain) by Flo Rida,
Hey Ya! by OutKast,
Billie Jean by Michael Jackson,
Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey,
Take On Me by a-ha,
Forever by Chris Brown, and of course,
Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson… just to name a few!
What are some other songs you believe transcend across generations? Leave your picks in the comments below!
If you’re looking for an engaging DJ for your next wedding, event, or celebration, please contact us!