The Truth About Being a private event DJ for High Profile Clients in North Carolina and Around the World.
What Working with Millionaires, Billionaires, Corporate CEOs, Professional Athletes, and Celebrities Taught Me About DJing for Private Events in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham. First Dance at the Grand Marquis – Stylus Raleigh Wedding DJ North Carolina High Profile Stress & Putting Your Best Foot Forward Every Time
Over the years, before starting Stylus SE, my background as a journalist for magazines and newspapers and more newspapers (and more newspapers) prepared me for a how to handle what, for many vendors, can be a really anxiety-ridden experience. It’s understandable how someone who, really admiring the person they’re going to be working with, would want to put their best foot forward.
I remember how nervous I was the first time I had to do a major interview. Here I was, sitting face to face with someone genuinely famous, with a list of hard questions that I needed to get comments on, and a lump in my throat at the thought that I was going to embarrass myself. I was 16 and had been writing for the state’s biggest newspaper for two years already.
Although I was told I did a great job, I still ran through the hundred thousand little things I could or should have done. Should I have held my hands like *this* or should I have sat forward more or should I have asked the questions differently – you know exactly what I’m talking about: the minutiae of neurotic thoughts that come way too late to make any difference but you can’t help obsessing over because it means a lot to get every detail correct.
North Carolina & Internationally – The Rules Are The Same for Every Client
When I was in school, I did a lot of sneaking into places I wasn’t supposed to be. Anytime there was a famous writer or speaker visiting the area, I had a plan and it worked every time. I’d go to the presentation, and, as soon as it was over, I’d sneak backstage and start helping out. My background in live theater helped make sure I was actually being helpful rather than just taking up space. Once no one was looking at me, I’d slip on a sport coat and make my way to the afterparty. I’d be one of the first ones there so everyone who arrived just assumed I was supposed to be there.
I got to meet some truly wonderful people and party with people I’d never have expected to. I even saved Ray Bradbury’s life once (it’s crazier than it sounds).
playmates, billionaires, actors, models, musicians, CEOs and league MVPs
Living in Jaipur, India, the circles I ran in meant that I got to meet more celebrities, high profile expats, and some genuinely amazing people who were more than just famous in their neck of the woods. I hobnobbed with artistic geniuses, got wined and dined by a princess, held debates with luminaries, and played cricket (very poorly) with Bollywood superstars. This was shortly before I ended up homeless in New Delhi for a while after I got robbed.
After college, I headed out west to Los Angeles and worked for a very high profile magazine (the now-defunct Sleek) and my social circles included playmates, millionaires, actors, models, musicians, CEOs and league MVPs. By that point, I’d gotten very comfortable with learning how to just be myself in any environment.
Back in Wilmington, it’s a small town with a big movie industry so the parties I attended were not infrequently attended by people who lit up the screens both big and small. Sometimes the houses we slunk off to at 3 AM after the bars closed were decorated with the truly fantastic (my personal favorite was a chrysknife from the 1984 Dune film) or the comfortable, where people more accustomed to Armani suits and Louboutins could happily kick off their shoes and just be themselves.
The thing that I learned from all of those instances was the simple reality that everyone is the same everywhere – and that, while it’s exciting to run into someone you feel like you already know because you’ve been watching them for years or followed their career with great interest, they’re still real human beings with the same feelings, needs, and desire for fairness and respect. The public persona is sometimes a reflection of their inner life, and other times they just want the space to be themselves without having to feel like they’re on display all the time.
after the event, we get to go out to restaurants and not get mobbed.
With a lot of celebrities and high profile personalities, that sense of always being on display is something that we are pretty used to because it’s a little bit like being the DJ. People want you to do something, they have strong feelings about it, they feel like you’re a public figure, they feel like they can approach you in a certain way because of the role you’re playing – except, (key difference) after the event, we get to go out to restaurants and not get mobbed. It can be really exhausting for people in that situation all the time because it can feel like everyone wants something from you. Eminem has written a lot of songs about it if you want to explore that sentiment further.
Eminem didn’t adjust to fame very easily – here’s an expletive-laden diatribe about it.
And that’s informed a big part of how we work with high profile clients and why we continue to work with them. I don’t want to sound dismissive, but our job isn’t to treat anyone differently – it’s to treat everyone with the same level of care, attention to detail, and genuine enthusiasm for doing a great job.
“if you could make him happy you could make anyone happy.”
There’s an amazing man named Howie who used to run the Brunswick County airport, just outside of Wilmington. Prior to running the airport, he was the head flight attendant on Air Force One from Nixon through Clinton. He quite lovingly called Kissenger his ‘old Jewish grandmother’ and is more proud of making him happy than any other president or dignitary he ever worked with because, as he said, “if you could make him happy you could make anyone happy.”
There’s a lot to be said for getting the opportunity to work with high profile clients. It can help raise your profile or expose you to new audience that you’d love the opportunity to work with/for. Our general position has never been to spend too much time fanboying or too flamboyant with our promotion of the association – we’re there to do a job.
With the type of corporate events we’re often working side by side with some of the titans of local and international business. With the type of weddings we do we’re often helping superstars party next to great aunts. And the fundamental truths are all there all the time.
Celebrities are just like everyone else, which means you could be treated like you’re a celebrity too
The biggest issues one would expect to run into working with high profile clients are the same kinds of personality elements we deal with for every single event, whether it’s being hired by a corporate client who desperately needs to impress potential clients or the C-level executives or by a couple who wants their wedding day to be a reflection of who they truly are – and those are elements that are soothed by attention to detail, competent execution, and a willingness to be flexible to fluctuating event needs.
I’m really excited about the project we’re working on right now. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about it, since it requires an NDA in order to participate, but once the video gets released you’d better believe we’re going to put this one in our brag book, along with every other event we’re so proud of participating in over the nearly ten years of Stylus’ history.
Here’s to the clients who want to be treated like a celebrity regardless of how many follows they have, how many movies they’ve done, or how many championship rings they’ve got. Celebrities are just like everyone else, which means you could be treated like you’re a celebrity too.