Digital DJ Tips member DJ Shy writes: “I would like to DJ, but don’t know very many people because I am introverted. Do you think I can get gigs without a following? Should I even embark on this journey?”
Digital DJ Tips Says:
Well, DJ Shy, you got your name right, at least! Seriously, though, when I posed this question to the team, our Assistant Editor Joey Santos said: “I’m introverted too! DJing lets me stay in one spot at a party and make a significant contribution to the evening… music is the ultimate introvert hobby, if you ask me.”
There are DJs who are naturally outgoing, but there are introverts too – I know I am. Everyone feels nervous or lacks confidence at some point in their life, but all of us found this craft because we love music and use it as a communication tool. Despite being shy and introverted, working in the music industry helps me come out of my shell once in a while, and I feel at my most charismatic during a performance of any kind.
It’s easy to confuse introversion and shyness, so one puzzle piece is figuring out which applies to you. Susan Cain notes the differences in her book Quiet: “Shyness is the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating.” These can definitely overlap, of course. Either way, if someone wants to be a performing DJ, working in an overstimulated public environment, they’ll need to choose a coping strategy.
Three ways to cope with shyness:
- Negative, or the “everything is awful” method – This basically means worrying about what others are potentially thinking about you, and letting that limit your success or affect the way you perform
- Neutral, or the “do nothing” approach – In this approach, you maintain the status quo. You aren’t stepping out of your comfort zone, thus you may be limiting your success
- Positive, or the “self-improvement” tactic – This is when you put an effort into honing your skills, focussing on the task at hand (DJing), nurturing anxiety relief tactics, and find opportunities for personal and professional growth instead of entertaining limiting beliefs
If we pick strategy three, what would that look like for DJing? To start, if someone focuses all their free time and energy on becoming the best DJ possible, that leaves few moments to worry. As a bonus, when it’s performance time, they have all the skills necessary to succeed.
Another approach is to “put on a DJ hat”. Create an alter ego and become that character while performing. No rule says people have to act like themselves onstage. Take the late David Bowie, for example – he suffered from shyness and social anxiety, and yet had Ziggy Stardust, Halloween Jack, Thin White Duke, and so on, and was one of the most beloved, successful musicians of all time.
As for booking gigs without a following, don’t worry about that yet. Make sure to enjoy the journey as a DJ first.
Have you ever felt too shy to DJ? What methods helped you cope? Don’t feel worried about commenting, it’s cool, chat with us below!