Crossing lines

Last month, I had a gig that perhaps raises a point for discussion...... "Can a DJ entertainer connect with an audience outside of his/her age range or race?"

I'd have to say my short answer is, "Yes, if they're good." To illustrate, the gig was for a very nice couple, "Chris and Neesha". These folks are both soldiers who've recently come back from serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan. For that, I'll thank them both, again, for their service to this grateful nation. In preparation for the Reception, I followed up with Chris to get any last-minute details and specifically asked about musical preferences. Chris' response was "Top 40, Hip-Hop, Rap, Gospel and Jazz". Now I have to admit, for the sake of being truthful, that I'm a bit shakey on the "hottest of the hot" in these genres. Yes, I use portions of these genres week-in and week-out but not to the point of being comfortable with what's hot at the moment. In short, I had to study up and do some listening that week in order to prepare for what I thought Chris' guests might enjoy.

When the big day came, I got there early and setup, then waited for the first guests to arrive. I have to also admit that, based on the facial expressions I saw from the guests, that perhaps I wasn't exactly what they were expecting for a DJ. Nevertheless, we started the evening and quickly moved it to some good dance material. I believe it's safe to say they had a good time but perhaps the most gratifying part for me was a compliment that confirmed my earlier suspicions. Apparently, shortly after arriving a few of the guests asked Chris "You hired a white guy to DJ your wedding?" Fast forward a couple of hours and it was reported those same individuals said "Man, that Rick Ryan is hitting it hard tonight."

Now I'm not telling you the above to toot my own horn (well, maybe a little) but to illustrate that a real pro can fit the situation. Any situation. People are people and when they're at a social gathering, such as a wedding or birthday, they're there to have a good time with their friends. All I have to do is keep my ears and eyes open and ask the all-important question: "Is there anything you'd like to hear?"

The rest is easy.