Digital DJ Tips reader Marvin writes: “My friend and I were talking about things we enjoyed doing. He mentioned ‘grown-up’ stuff like trading stocks and wine tasting while I told him that I loved DJing. He then asked: ‘Aren’t you too old for that?’.
“That got me thinking – most DJs I know started spinning when they were teenagers or in their early 20s. I started when I was already 30. I’ve been toying with the idea of playing at bars and lounges in my area, but the ‘problem’ is that I’m now 35 years old.
“I can’t get that conversation with my friend out of my head – what if he’s right? So here’s my question: Am I too old for this?”
Digital DJ Tips Says:
As long as you love music and you have a passion for sharing that music with others, then no, you can never be too old for DJing (or for music, for that matter!). Age is a factor in DJing, but it’s only one piece of a larger puzzle where things like experience, taste, style, technical and people skills fit in. In fact, you’re more likely to find “older” artists (ie folk beyond the age of 30) as DJs or music producers compared to Top 40 chart superstars, most of who still can’t shake off the yoke of outdated youth stereotypes.
And it’s not just a music or cultural thing, either: Despite all the bad news you read online, the quality of human life today has never been better, according to futurist Steven Pinker in his book “Enlightenment Now”. Thanks to modern science, our views on ageing have progressed radically in the last decade or so. For example, folk who decide to get hitched do so later in life, and if they want to have kids, pregnancies can happen well into someone’s 40s thanks to advancements in cryogenics and fertility.
If you want more real world evidence that older folk can kick it with the young ‘uns, check out these athletes who are absolutely owning the spaces they’re in: Basketball player LeBron James is 33 (past his “prime” according to NBA standards) but he’s dominating the entire league and putting players who are practically half his age to shame. Distance runner Mebrahtom “Meb” Keflezighi won the Boston Marathon in 2014 at the age of 39, leaving his competition in the dust. Boxer Floyd Mayweather is 41 and still undefeated, coming out of retirement recently to face world champion Connor McGregor who was 27 at the time.
Of course, it’s not enough to simply “think” that you can do it. You also need effective action: for each person that says you can’t do something, you’re sure to find another saying that you can, but all of this becomes wishful thinking and “wuwu” positivity hogwash if you don’t have a plan.
Want to start playing clubs at 35? The truth is that it’s going to be hard, but it won’t be impossible: Hone your chops, meet people in your local scene and add value to them, build your online presence, and keep at it until you’ve built enough momentum to propel you forward. We’ve got tons of articles on blog on building your following, promoting your own club nights, creating mixtapes, building a press kit, and even a step by step plan for getting started down your path to DJ/producer success.
Here’s some advice from our forum moderator Chuck aka DJ Vintage:
“It will depend on what kind of DJing you want to do. If you fancy yourself a resident at a happening place for millennials, it might not be beneficial to be 45+ and just starting out. Though if you can produce music and people like them, you’ll stand a better chance because you’ll be carried by the strength of those tunes.
“When being a mobile DJ is your goal and you want to do corporate gigs, weddings, anniversaries and birthdays, then having a mature image and a few grey hairs could work in your favour.”
The next time someone says you’re “too old” for anything, take that advice with a grain of salt and say you’re never too old for anything: long as you can dream and have a plan of action in place, you can be as young as you want to be.
Any advice you’d like to give our reader? Let us know in the comments.