Digital DJ Tips Platinum Group member Stacey asks: “I’ve been booked to play three three-hour sessions at a welcome event for a local university. I’m primarily a wedding DJ, and this is my first time as a billed performer at an event like this. I just finished a practice session gearing up for the events and now I am fighting a big case of imposter syndrome.
“After attempting to prep music and practise tonight, I’m feeling a little panicked about coming up with nine hours of music that isn’t my usual stuff. I was told it would mostly be a quiet crowd, just wandering in at the start of the day, so it’s ‘no pressure’. I have pretty much free rein on what to play, ‘just not too much Top 40’.
“The problem is that Top 40 is what I’m best at! I’m trying to lean into this opportunity to stretch myself out of my comfort zone, but now I’m getting a bit nervous!”
Digital DJ Tips says…
First of all, good on you for taking the initiative to push yourself out of your comfort zone, Stacey. This is what DJing is all about and the more you do it, the faster you will improve and more flexible you will become. Don’t worry about the nerves; being nervous is normal and it shows that you care. It’s when you are no longer nervous that you should start to worry.
You said that you are primarily a wedding DJ, this puts you in great stead. Weddings are one of the toughest types of gig going and you have an extensive collection of tracks at hand. You are already capable of reading a crowd and they have given you “free rein” on what to play. This is a great opportunity for you to experiment with tracks that you might never get a chance to otherwise. Just gauge their reaction and if required, you can always fall back on your usual stuff because they didn’t outright ban Top 40. Also, it sounds like it’s not a “dancefloor filling” kind of gig, which gives you further room to play a wider choice of tracks.
Did you ask them what they might like you to play instead of chart music? Follow their direction of course but as always, play to the crowd. Bear in mind that just because they asked you to steer clear of chart music doesn’t necessarily mean that they want a three-hour set of tracks the audience has have never heard before. Again, use the opportunity to experiment with your lesser-played tracks and educate the audience in the music you love.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t feel like an imposter, because you aren’t. You have experience under your belt and you’re putting the preparation into knocking their socks off. We’re sure you’ll blow them away and we look forward to hearing how you get on.
How do you overcome pre-set nerves? Do you often take the opportunity to play out of your comfort zone? Do you have any experiences that you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below…