The DJ industry is made up of a remarkable group of individuals. Within our trade, we can find people with a wide variety of backgrounds and ethnicities. There is also an extensive range of different ages of our ranks, from those in their late teens moving on up through those in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and even 60s.
The one thing that most of us have in common is our love of our work. My wife has been heard saying that I will probably be a DJ in the retirement home our kids put us in! Hopefully, that’s a long way off, but the point is that most of us would probably say, “I’ll DJ ‘till I die!”
To some, that may seem like a crazy idea. How is it even possible to do this type of work in your later years? How can you sell yourself to younger clients, for school parties, etc. when you are considered “old and gray” by many. Is there a cut-off age when you should just call it quits?
Realistically, none of us can escape the relentless march of time. Eventually, the day will come when we will no longer be able to perform the job that we dearly love. But wait—this is getting way too depressing! Let’s look at some positive things we can do at ANY age to be the best we can be for the longest we can.
To start with, if you are in any of the higher age groups, it doesn’t mean that you automatically have to start thinking of retiring from this beloved profession. If you look around, you can see there are many entertainers that are still performing and doing a great job of it. There are quite a few rock stars, movie stars, and yes, even DJs in their 50s and 60s who are still doing a fantastic job. They are appreciated for their talent, experience and inspiration. No matter what your age, if you love what you do, it shows in your work. Let’s all learn a little from them so that we can do what we do as long as possible.
One of the first things all of us should do is look at our lifestyles from a health point of view. In our rushed, stressed-out environments it’s very easy to let our health slip by the wayside. Fast food, processed meals, and chemical additives all take a toll on our health in general. It is sure a lot easier to grab a fast food burger or take-out pizza than to go to the trouble of a home-cooked meal. However, in the long run, it will have a detrimental effect on our bodies if we fall into that habit. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ever have fast food, but you should be balanced about it. A healthy diet will go a long way to improve not only our physical health, but our mental outlook as well.
Do you exercise regularly? It seems like we are all so busy and time goes so fast that we can’t seem to get it all done, but it doesn’t have to be a three hour workout four times a week. A few simple exercises or even a walk around the block will do wonders for your health, longevity and mental outlook.
Speaking of that, it’s our mental outlook that will go a long way in keeping us in the game. There are some that say age is just a number. To a large extent, that is a true statement. It really is how we view ourselves that is extremely important. In fact, it can affect everything that we do.
If you are younger, or just starting out in the business, do you view yourself as too inexperienced to be a great disc jockey? If you are older, do you view yourself as washed up and/or too old to learn new things? It is the
absolute truth that you are what you think you are! All of us are DJs because we love it. We love the music, both old and new; we love the people; we love the excitement! Let that love, desire and passion burn in you constantly. It will keep you and your thinking young and bright. No matter what we are on the outside, what we feel in the inside will be seen by others.
I have an example that actually happened to me just a few weeks back. I met with a prospective bride and groom, along with the groom’s mother. In the course of the conversation, I asked what other DJ companies they had spoken with. The groom’s mother mentioned a few companies that I was familiar with, and said that she was not very impressed. She then went on to mention one DJ in particular that I knew, and what she had to say amazed me. She was concerned that this DJ was too old to do her son’s reception! When I asked her why, she clarified it by saying that his song list was outdated (over two years old), he didn’t seem up on the latest songs and new artists, and then said he really didn’t seem that interested or passionate about his job. This floored me, because I know that this DJ is younger than I am and his company is pretty well known around my area! You see, it wasn’t really his actual age, but the way he presented himself and his company. His outward manifestation was a reflection of what he felt inside. Have you ever heard the old expression, “young at heart”? No matter what age we are, we can still maintain a youthful attitude and excitement about life. This will manifest in the way we are perceived by others. It really starts with the perception you have of yourself. That is the way that others will see you. By the way, I booked the job!
One last item that we will touch on is what I will call “cosmetic enhancements”. There is nothing wrong with using everything that is out there to our advantage. Skin cream can keep wrinkles at a minimum. Use it as part of your health regimen, along with a healthy diet and exercise program. A few gray hairs making you look a little older than you would like? Go ahead and get rid of them! One night a few of my DJ friends and I were sitting around talking, and I found out that several of them did this to keep a more youthful look. There is nothing wrong with it. Again, perception is reality, so do what you need to.
All in all, keep your body and mind healthy, focused, and in good shape. Be familiar with all the newest music, artists, keep your music list updated, and be excited about your work! When you feel good and think without an age in mind, you will project that image to others. This is the best “job” in the world, so show that enthusiasm! DJ till I die? Maybe not, but I plan to come damn close!
Filed Under: Business, Issue #143, Performing, Personal Development
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