It's that time of the year to show love and appreciation for our significant others. In addition to the chocolates and flowers, why not present a custom Valentine's mix CD? Custom mix CDs are inexpensive, and unlike roses, will last for many years!
Listed below are 20 suggestions. For an additional enhancement, consider recording a personalized voice message and adding it as a track to your project. Ready to pop the big question and propose? Record your proposal and add it to the playlist. The following track can be the Dixie Cup's "Chapel of Love" for when she says yes!
Cupid- Johnny Nash (reggae)
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face- Marcia Griffiths (reggae)
Don't Look Any Further- Dennis Edwards (R&B)
Crash Into Me- Dave Matthews Band (modern)
My Funny Valentine- Chet Baker (jazz)
I'm Yours- Jason Mraz (modern)
If I Should Fall Behind- Bruce Springsteen (rock)
Fade Into You- Mazzy Star (alternative)
Nothing Compares to You- Sinead O'Connor (80s)
Lost Without You- Robin Thicke (R&B)
The Way You Make Me Feel- Michael Jackson (pop)
Wicked Game- Chris Isaak (80s)
Lotus Flower Bomb- Wale f/Miguel (hip hop/R&B)
Lovesong- The Cure (80s)
Heaven- Bryan Adams (classic)
Wonderful Tonight- Eric Clapton (classic)
Do You Realize? The Flaming Lips (alternative)
Faithfully- Journey (classic)
Drive- The Cars (80s)
True- Spandau Ballet (80s)
For additional song ideas, see our 2011 Valentine's Day song suggestions here.
About Ambient DJ Service
Ambient DJ Service is a full-service mobile DJ entertainment company based in Central New Jersey. We enjoy collaborating with clients to create unforgettable family celebrations. For more info, visit us on the web at www.ambientdj.com
In 2011, the world lost a modern day pioneer and visionary, Steve Jobs. Jobs, the driving force behind Apple, fought cancer for a number of years but not before linking up with renowned biographer Walter Isaacson. The resulting biography of Steve Jobs is a riveting story about a creative genius who leaves behind an enduring legacy.
This book will appeal to many readers: to Apple fans, to those interested in business and personal success, and to those fascinated with Jobs’ intense personality that frequently clashed with those around him. This blog article explores takeaways from Steve Jobs relevant to Mobile Disc Jockeys. What can we learn from the life of Steve Jobs?
Make a Commitment to Excellence- Jobs was a perfectionist who paid great attention to details. He drove his staff extremely hard, taking them to levels of achievement they never could have imagined. Jobs is quoted as saying, “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” As extremely busy working DJs, it easy to get lulled into a sense of complacency and to lose the drive for improvements in customer service, performance and innovation.
Create Products that are Intuitive, Easy to Use and Fun- As a designer, Jobs was fond of the Japanese Zen minimalist style. Despite having a simple and intuitive design, Apple products were designed to be fun, not cold. For example, Jobs was integrally involved with the intuitive jog wheel for the iPod and touch screen for the iPad. As DJs, we should strive to keep our services and planning services fun and intuitive. This is particularly the case as we are in the entertainment industry!
A Commitment to Great Products - Jobs has frequently been compared to Bill Gates of Microsoft, and the two frequently clashed before making amends later in Jobs’ life. Jobs asserted that during his tenure at Apple it was all about the product, while at Microsoft it was all about profits. Jobs believed that “You always have to keep pushing to innovate.” In the case of Apple, phenomenal products resulted in breathtaking profits and growth. As Mobile DJs, by starting with a focus on the quality of our services, profits and growth can follow.
Don’t Be a Music Pirate - Apple revolutionized the music industry with the rollout of the iTunes store in 2003, allowing consumers to legally purchase high-quality digital files of their favorite songs. The iTunes store was an alternative to the illegal filesharing sites that had proliferated. Jobs stated that “If protection of intellecutal property begins to disappear, creative companies will disappear or never get started. But there’s a simpler reason: It’s wrong to steal. It hurts other people. And it hurts your character.”
Don’t Rely on Market Research, Innovate!- Jobs did not believe in conducting market research, instead opting to develop innovative products that met a need that he perceived. For example, Jobs and his design team were avid music lovers, and developed the iPod around features that they wanted to see in a new product. In the Mobile DJ industry, it is easy to adopt a follower mindset in terms of equipment and services. But what opportunities exist in your local market that are not currently being provided?
It’s OK to be a Little Prickly, But Not a Prick- Steve Jobs saw the world in binary terms - he either loved something or hated it. Jobs was brutally honest, to a fault. Isaacson concluded that “The nasty edge to his personality was not necessary. It hindered him more than it helped him.”
In the final chapter of the book “Legacy,” Isaacson writes about Jobs, “Steve Jobs thus became the greatest business executive of our era, the one most certain to be remembered a century from now. History will place him in the pantheon right next to Edison and Ford. More than anyone else of his time, he made products that were completely innovative, combining the power of poetry and processors. With a ferocity that could make working with him as unsettling as it was inspiring, he also built the world’s most creative company. And he was able to infuse into its DNA the design sensibilities, perfectionism, and imagination that make it likely to be, even decades from now, the company that thrives best at the intersection of artistry and technology.” As Disc Jockeys, we also exist at this intersection, and how well we balance artistry and technology will determine the long-term success of our businesses.
Chapter 32, “Music Man,” is a must-read for DJs, as Jobs revealed which songs are on his iPod! He was particularly fond of Bob Dylan, as well as of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
About Ambient DJ Service
Ambient DJ Service is a full-service mobile DJ entertainment company based in Central New Jersey. We enjoy collaborating with clients to create unforgettable family celebrations. From time to time, we also are industry innovators! For more info, visit us on the web at www.ambientdj.com.
A teen dance party such as a Sweet 16 is a highly anticipated life event. Unfortunately, these parties can be spoiled by the unfortunate actions of a few. Left unchecked, these negative elements can result in a party being shut down early by the banquet staff (or police). Below, we offer five tips to ensure that your party is a stunning success!
Here are five party planning tips to ensure a smooth evening:
Tip #1- Acknowledge that teenagers are growing up fast, and that some may be experimenting with alcohol. Both the party celebrant and their parents must make it clear from the get-go that alcohol will not be tolerated at the party.
Tip #2- Regulate your guest list by quantity and quality. Often times it is the "fringe" friends, and not the inner circle, who cause trouble. That is because the inner circle realizes how special this day is, and would never ruin the evening for their friend.
Tip #3- Make it clear that no water bottles will be allowed to the party, as these are probably vodka-waters in disguise! Teenage guests should also not be allowed to leave the building until the party is over.
Tip #4 - If your banquet hall does not require you to utilize one of their security officers, consider hiring a security officer to police the event. Or, have a family member or friend serve as a vigilant chaperone. If anything, their presence may serve as a deterrent.
Tip #5 - Dance styles have evolved, and hip hop-style "bumping and grinding" is popular among some teens. Discuss in advance to what extent you will or will not allow a little bump and grind. Left unchecked, the dance floor could come to resemble a circus freak show that reflects poorly upon the family.
Keep it safe, keep it classy, and you will have an unforgettable Teen Dance Party!
About Ambient DJ Service
Ambient DJ Service is a full-service mobile DJ entertainment company based in Central New Jersey. We enjoy collaborating with clients to create unforgettable family celebrations. For more info, visit us on the web at www.ambientdj.com.
One of our most popular upgrades is the "Video Slideshow." A slideshow of 5-7 minutes long (recommended length) is projected onto a large screen, with the audio for the presentation run through our professional sound system. To maximize the emotional impact of a slideshow, you will need to select the perfect accompanying music.
Listed below are 25 suggestions for songs to be played during a video slideshow that will emotionally move the celebrant and guests - perhaps to tears. In parentheses, we have listed what type of party the song would be best suited for. Note that songs that typically are "over the top" for general party music (think Celine Dion), are often excellent candidates for slideshows! Please comment with your own song suggestions.
1) 100 Years - Five for Fighting (weddings)
2) Marry Me - Train (weddings)
3) The Graduation Song - Vitamin C (graduations)
4) In My Daughter's Eyes - Martina McBride (coming of age, girl)
5) Daughters - John Mayer (coming of age, girl)
6) Through the Years - Kenny Rogers (milestone birthday or anniversary)
7) The Times of Your Life - Paul Anka (milestone birthday or anniversary)
8) What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong (milestone birthday or anniversary)
9) Memories - Elvis Presley (milestone birthday or anniversary)
10) Silly Love Songs - Paul McCartney (milestone anniversary)
11) As Time Goes By - Frank Sinatra (milestone anniversary)
12) My Baby You - Marc Anthony (wedding or child)
13) A Whole New World - Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle (child)
14) Secret Garden - Bruce Springsteen (multi-purpose)
15) I Will Be Here - Steven Curtis Chapman (multi-purpose)
16) Because You Loved Me - Celine Dion (multi-purpose)
17) Hero - Mariah Carey (multi-purpose)
18) Longer - Dan Fogelberg (anniversary)
19) I'll Always Love You - Taylor Dayne (anniversary)
20) Only Time - Enya (multi-purpose)
21) Forever Young - Rod Stewart/Alphaville/Jay-Z (coming of age)
22) The Best is Yet to Come - Tony Bennett (coming of age)
23) The Time of Your Life (Good Riddance) - Green Day (multi-purpose)
24) Time - Alan Parson Project (in memoriam)
25) Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton (in memoriam)
In a future episode of the Ambient DJ blog, we will offer tips for maximizing the success of your Video Slideshow.
ABOUT AMBIENT DJ SERVICE
Ambient DJ Service is a full-service mobile DJ entertainment company based in Central New Jersey. We enjoy collaborating with clients to create unforgettable family celebrations. For more info, visit us on the web at www.ambientdj.com.
As per Wikipedia, "Old school hip hop (also spelled "old skool") describes the earliest commercially recorded hip hop music (approximately from 1979–1984), and the music in the period preceding it from which it was directly descended. Old school hip hop is said to end around 1983 or 1984 with the emergence of Run–D.M.C., the first new school hip hop group. However, some old school rap stations cover 1980s hip hop in general, occasionally extending even into the mid 1990s. The image, styles and sounds of the old school were exemplified by figures like Afrika Bambaataa, The Sugarhill Gang, Spoonie Gee, Treacherous Three, Funky Four Plus One, Kurtis Blow, Fab Five Freddy, Busy Bee Starski, Lovebug Starski, Doug E. Fresh, LL Cool J, The Fat Boys, The Cold Crush Brothers, Kool Kyle, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five,and it is characterized by the simpler rapping techniques of the time and the general focus on party related subject matter."
Below we list some of our favorite "old skool" party jams (defined as 80s hip hop), but paying particular homage to the early 80s. Please leave comments with our own favorite selections!
Rapper's Delight - The Sugarhill Gang
Fat Boys - Fat Boys
Beat Street - Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five
Rockin' It - Fearless Four
Rockit - Herbie Hancock
The Message - Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
That's the Joint - The Funky 4 + 1 (the first hip hop group to appear on Saturday Night Live!)
Rappin' & Rocking the House" - The Funky 4 + 1
Sucker M.C.'s - Run-D.M.C.
Roxanne - U.T.F.O.
Planet Rock - Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force
Hard Times - Run-D.M.C.
The Breaks - Kurtis Blow
At the Dixie - Cold Crush Brothers
Paul Revere - The Beastie Boys
Warm it Up, Kane - Big Daddy Kane
The Bridge - MC Shan
The Show - Doug E. Fresh
Mona Lisa - Slick Rick
The Whodini Mega-Mix (5 Minutes of Funk/Friends/Freaks Come Out at Night) - Whodini
Larry's Dance Theme - Grandmaster Flash
One For the Treble - Davy DMX
Breakers Revenge - Arthur Baker (featured in breakdance battle from Beat Street in video below!)
Al Naafijsh - Kashim
Freedom - Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five
Adventures of Rhyme - Jimmy Spicer
Wild, Wild West - Kool Moe Dee
The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel - Grandmaster Flash
Rapture - Blondie (her rap verse payed deference to Grandmaster Flash and Francois K.!) (sure, the record doesn't fall exactly into the genre, but does capture the feeling of the time!)
I Can't Live Without My Radio - LL Cool J
White Lines (Don't Do It) - Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel
Don't Believe the Hype - Public Enemy
Basketball - Kurtis Blow
8th Wonder - The Sugarhill Gang
Brass Monkey - The Beastie Boys
It's Like That - Run-D.M.C.
Jam Master Jay - Run-D.M.C.
Iron Mike and I catch up with the Cold Crush Crew!
A wedding cocktail hour is a time to set the mood. It is a transition point between the formal ceremony and the convivial wedding reception party that is to follow. Ingredients for a winning cocktail hour mix include: 1) atmospheric selections that put guests in a great mood, 2) a mix of current and classic music appropriate for guests of all ages, 3) an increasing energy level as the cocktail hour progresses (and the drinks kick in!); and 4) intelligent song selections that include re-inventions of classics and some international spice.
At Ambient DJ, we do not use stock cocktail hour mixes, but rather custom program each set to reflect the unique style of the event. The list below is organized into mini-sets by genres, that can be mixed and matched to reflect your own tastes in music. Thematically, no 'breakup songs' are allowed, but the most important factor is the "feel" of the song, so even if there are occasionally "bittersweet lyrics," these tracks are fine. This track list would also work well for the softer moments of a wedding reception while guests are eating and conversing.
Fly Me to the Moon - Frank Sinatra
The Best is Yet to Come - Tony Bennett
You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You - Dean Martin
Quando, Quando - Michael Buble w/Nelly Furtado
Peel Me a Grape - Ramsey Lewis w/Nancy Wilson
Speak Low - Cybill Shepherd with Stan Getz
Come Away With Me - Norah Jones
The Way I Am - Ingrid Michaelson
I Put a Spell on You - Queen Latifah
Besame Mucho - Diana Krall
The Promise - When in Rome
Take My Breath Away - Berlin
Drive - The Cars
Eyes Without a Face - Billy Idol
You Get What You Give - New Radicals
My Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder
Valerie - Amy Winehouse
P.D.A. (We Just Don't Care) - John Legend
Just the Way You Are - Bruno Mars
If I Ain't Got You - Alicia Keys
Cherish the Day - Sade
Set Fire to the Rain (Moto Blanc Dance Remix) - Adele
All I Need - Air
I Only Have Eyes for You (cover) - Jamie Cullum
Whatever Lola Wants (Verve Remixed) - Sara Vaughan
So Come Voce - Thievery Corporation
Walking on a Dream - Empire of the Sun
54B - Mudd
The Girl From Ipanema - Bebel Gilberto with Kenny G.
Aganju (Latin Project Remix) - Bebel Gilberto
Mas Que Nada - Sergio Mendes f/The Black Eyed Peas
Un Simple Histoire - Thievery Corporation
Best of My Love - The Eagles
Crazy Love - Van Morrison
Michelle - The Beatles
Love's Theme - The Love Unlimited Orchestra
Rise - Herb Alpert
Feels So Good - Chuck Mangione
Awake My Soul - Mumford & Sons
Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop - Landon Pigg
Marry Me (First Dance Mix) - Train
Baby I'm Yours - Arctic Monkeys
First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes
Such Great Heights - Iron & Wine
Thank You Too - My Morning Jacket
If I Should Fall Behind - Bruce Springsteen
Walking on the Moon - The Police
The Wind Cries Mary - Jimi Hendrix
One - U2 f/Mary J. Blige
Low Light - Pearl Jam
The Pump - Jeff Beck
Big Yellow Taxi - The Counting Crows f/Vanessa Carlton
Paint the Sky With Stars - Enya
Only Time - Enya
Bellissimo - Ilya
No Woman, No Cry - Bob Marley
Close to You - Maxxi Priest
Red, Red Wine - UB40
Never Ever Worry - Lord Pretender
Jump in the Line - Harry Belafonte
Why Don't We Just Dance - Josh Turner
People are Crazy - Billy Currington
Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not - Thompson Square
Highway 20 Ride - Zac Brown Band
Lost in This Moment - Big & Rich
ABOUT AMBIENT DJ SERVICE
Ambient DJ Service is an award-winning mobile DJ service based in Central New Jersey. Our company prides itself on its deep musical knowledge and programming skills. To learn more about our wedding, corporate and private party services, visit our website at http://www.ambientdj.com
A regular feature of the Ambient DJ blog is the submission of quarterly playlists. These songs reflect selections that a particular DJ is currently using in his party sets. To kick off the New Year right, Ambient DJ's head honcho "DJ Gregg Ambient" chimes in with his Top 25 favorites! They are listed in no particular order:
1) Dance (A*$) (Nicki Minaj) - Big Sean f/Nicki Minaj (hip hop)
2) T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever) - Will.I.am with J. Lo and Mick Jagger (dance)
3) I'm Sexy and I Know It - LMFAO (Dance)
4) Rack City - Tyga (Hip Hop)
5) The Motto - Drake f/Lil Wayne (Hip Hop)
6) Good Feeling - Flo Rida (dance)
7) Moves Like Jagger - Maroon Five (Pop/Dance)
8) Ladi Dadi - Steve Aoki with Wynter Gordon (electro)
9) Set Fire to the Rain (Moto Blanc Remix) - Adele (dance)
10) Lotus Flower Bomb - Wale w/Miguel (R&B)
11) Lovumba - Daddy Yankee (Reggaeton)
12) Take Over Control - Afrojack f/Eva Simons (dance)
Several years ago I coined the term "Video Fusion Karaoke" to refer to a new entertainment service being offered by Ambient DJs. Fusion refers to a melding of individual components. So what exactly is Video Fusion Karaoke?
Video Fusion Karaoke is:
1 part Music Video party
1 part Karaoke party
1 part Dance Party, and
3 parts Excitement!
The genesis of this idea was that since a karaoke DJ is already using a screen (we use high end plasmas), why not use these screens to play current and classic music videos, bringing the music and fashions to life? Video stimulates the senses and creates a true multi-media experience. Our software is also able to display custom slides and shout-out popular singers.
The second leg of the stool - karaoke, is an interactive entertainment style beloved by many Americans. Guests take the main stage and become a star! Karaoke nights are great fun, but can become dull if the quantity and quality of performances drops.
The third leg of the stool - dance party, means just that. Guests are encouraged to dance throughout the evening - during a live karaoke performance, or during one of the DJ's karaoke intermission sets where a long string of singers is broken up by playing several high-energy, current dance tunes. At my weekly residence at Brewster's Pub, guests always look forward to dancing popular line dances such as the Cupid Shuffle or Electric Slide. It is a delight to see a packed Saturday night dance floor - but on a Wednesday night!
Video Fusion Karaoke - at a Wedding!
Of course Video Fusion Karaoke is exciting... it's provocative and really gets the people going! Depending on the mix of guests on any given night, the proportion of Video, Karaoke, and Dancing can be fine-tuned to the taste of the crowd!
Video Fusion is great for bars, but it also works well for sundry events including corporate parties, Sweet 16s, Community Events and even weddings!
For those located in Central NJ, please check out my weekly Wednesday Video Fusion Karaoke party at Brewsters Pub in East Windsor. The set begins at 8 PM, with the real action starting after 10 PM and usually winding down around 1 AM. Brewsters is located at 529 Route 130 North in East Windsor, NJ - just past the Dairy Queen. For private party bookings, visit us on the web at www.ambientdj.com and find out why our slogan is "The Art of the Party"!
The Ambient DJ Service Annual Quiz is a fun, highly-anticipated event where Ambient DJ's staff members are forced to jog their memory on the year's past events and bountiful blog entries. Congratulations to DJ Iron Mike for posting the highest score this year and winning a cash prize! Congrats to Mike as well for being on the verge of celebrating his '5 Year Anniversary' as an Ambient DJ Music Mixologist (DJ). Shout-out to runner-up, DJ Austin!
DJ Iron Mike Rides to Victory in the 2011 Ambient DJ Quiz!
Here are the questions and answers that Mike successfully navigated. Perhaps you will learn a new fact or two about out company! Most of these stories were covered in the 2011 blog. As you may observe, we work very hard, but also try to have fun along the way!
3) A superlative party experience at Ambient DJ is known to have met what standard?
a) The Schmaltz Standard
b) The Schlitz Standard c) The Smauz Standard (Explanation: The Smauz wedding of years past was 'off the chain' and set the standard!)
d) The Gold Standard
4) Ambient DJ's most financially successful month in history occurred in which month during 2011?
b) June c) October
5) Which of the following geographic locales did Ambient DJ NOT perform in during 2011?
c) Philadelphia d) Cape May
6) Ambient DJs' 2011 photo shoot featured all of the below, except for:
a) freezing temperatures b) a hot post-shoot lunch at Panera Bread
c) crazy co-eds rocking "the monacle" pose
d) Gill howling "Oh Yeah" on the Princeton campus
e) standup comedy by Larry Sargent
Enter the Monacle!
7) Ambient DJs' 2010 holiday party featured which celebrity impersonator:
a) Rick Ross
b) Robert DeNiro
c) Barack Obama d) Tony Soprano
8) Which of the following is a key corporate strategy for 2012?
a) increased emphasis on internet marketing
b) the establishment of a branch office in Short Hills
c) a major equipment overhaul and focus on intelligent lighting
d) the creation of a PhotoBooth segment
9) In 2011, Ambient's Bar & Nightlife segment was coronated:
a) REG - Renaissance Entertainment Group
b) PURE - Pure Ambience
c) AA - Ambient Aesthetics
d) REL - Relatini's
10) Prince William and Kate Middleton used which of the following songs for their grand entrance at the Royal Wedding?
1. DJ Larry Sargent (f) a. owns a trailer
2. DJ Greg Nice (d) b. DJs wearing a hat.
3. DJ Iron Mike (e) c. has a fetish for the color orange
4. DJ Garrett B. (g) d. drives the same car as Horatio Cane, known for long speeches
5. DJ Spinzy (c) e. "the hardest working DJ in Central NJ"
6. DJ Jesse (a) f. "Now Dance, that's an Order!"
7. DJ Austin (b) g. blasts dubstep from his whip
12) In 2011, Ambient DJ Service was featured in all of the following publications EXCEPT FOR:
a) DJ Times Magazine
b) The College of New Jersey Alumni Magazine c) Mobile Beat Magazine
d) NJDJN Newsletter
To those unfamiliar, the New Jersey Disc Jockey Network (NDJN) is a premier disc jockey organization whose membership includes professional DJs primarily from the East Coast.
In David Letterman-style, here are the top 10 reasons that you should consider joining this fine organization!
10. The NJDJN holds regular monthly in-person meetings that include a networking and educational component. Some members find the meetings so valuable that they travel from out-of-state to attend!
9. Enjoy high-quality educational content to keep your business on the cutting edge. Recent topics have included "Audio Branding" (Tony Tee Neto), "Social Media Strategies" (Hurricane Productions), "DJ Sales/Marketing Techniques" (Steve Moody), "Mitzvah Production" (Randi Rae), "SEO Strategies" (Steve Cie) and many more!
8. Resident Comedian DJ Mike Wieder is always good for a zinger or two! He also likes to showcase his latest gadgets.
7. Be part of a prestigious and fast-growing organization. President-elect Steve Cie and VP Chris Atwood have ambitious plans, continuing the tradition of excellence of outgoing President Jake Jacobsen.
6. Strike up a casual conversation and pick the brains of any one of the "heavy hitter" members of the NJDJN who run some of the top mobile DJ companies in the country.
5. Enjoy exclusive NJDJN discounts on an array of DJ gear and business services.
4. Make lifelong friends and enjoy social outings such as last year's Halloween group trip to a haunted penitentiary!
3. Earn more money by generating referrals or promoting your value-added services. While it seems counter-intuitive, DJs regularly generate income from other DJs!
2. The diner food in Edison is outstanding! Many members gather for a pre-meeting dinner at the Skylark Diner on Route 1, about five minutes away from the Crowne Plaza.
1. Invest in yourself and the future of your business! The Annual Membership Fee, currently $150, is a pittance relative to the benefits that you will derive. The NJDJN is a very inexpensive form of continuing education.
Ambient DJ Service joined the NJDJN some three years ago, inspired by the many successful individuals in the organization. It's been said that if you hang out with dogs, you get fleas. However, if you surround yourself with the "top dogs" of the NJDJN, you will be inspired to take your business to levels that you never dreamed possible!
The organization typically meets the second Tuesday evening of each month at the centrally-located Crowne Plaza in Edison, NJ. Tomorrow night's meeting (Tuesday January 10, 2011) is a Mini-Expo followed by a presentation on "Audio Branding" by Tony Tee Neto. Also, enjoy a live performance by Party Percussionist John Donovan from 6:30 PM!
To learn more about the NJDJN and view the current membership, visit its website www.njdjn.org.
This is the first article in a new series for 2012 that introduces our Recommended Professionals. We are pleased to kick off the series by profiling Party Percussionist John Donovan! John is a fellow member of the New Jersey Disc Jockey Network (NJDJN). He also provided a high-energy performance at the Kick-Off Party for the 2011 DJ Times International DJ Expo held this past August at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.
An Introduction to Party Percussionists
I first experienced party percussionists in Las Vegas clubs like Studio 54. The DJ was the pilot of the dance floor, with a "Latin-style" percussionist serving as an accompanying player to the mix, drumming away on instruments such as bongos and timbales. Not only was this presentation novel, but it added a visually pleasing element to the performance.
John Donovan practices an entirely different style of drumming known as Rudimental "Corps-Style" Drumming. After pursuing traditional drum lessons from the age of 4, Donovan discovered the drum and bugle corps at age 17 and immersed himself in the world of competitive drumming. His talent and hard work culminated with his winning a Drum Corps International (DCI) World Championship. In 2007, Donovan moved to Long Island and shortly thereafter carved out a niche in the private event market, performing at high-end weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Sweet 16s and corporate events.
In recent years, Donovan has made a splash in the private event market, entertaining guests at formal events with his visually stunning presentation. Typically, Donovan performs alongside a disc jockey. John believes that he is "the only full-time, commercial, freelance, individual Multi-Tenor player in the world." What this means, is that given his high-velocity drumming, Donovan has been able to commercially express himself through the Multi-Tenor instrumentation (i.e., a set of drums that contains 5 or 6 drums), before anyone else in history. To help this description come to life, check out the video clip of Donovan in action!
I recently caught up with John, and below are highlights from the Q&A:
Q: How do your performances differ from that of a Latin-style percussionist?
JD: While Latin-Style percussionists focus on a vocabulary of conventional patterns to support the rhythm of the music, because of my regimented drum corps training, I am not just able to play the conventional patterns, but I directly support the melody and framework of the music just like someone who is composing percussion parts for an advanced percussion ensemble. Basically, I bring a high level of artistically sound intellect and physical prowess to all the events I am part of. To top it all off, because of my drum corps training, I am also able to produce visually hypnotic material, which tends to drop jaws and open eyes right on the dance floor. So while guests are dancing away enjoying the pre-recorded music which is mixed and beat matched properly by the DJ, they are also feeling the vibe of what I am contributing to the mix, AND they get an actual show at the same time. The client truly gets a one of a kind entertainment package.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
JD: I have four answers. The first is the satisfaction from watching a room full of people jump in unison, what we call, “the bounce factor,” and that tells us the team did a great job for the client. You really have to work well with a crowd, to earn their trust, and to groom them properly during the evening for this to happen, and when it does, it’s pure magic! Second, I appreciate when the client comes directly to me at the end of an event and expresses their gratitude for a job well done. Third, I LOVE when guests whom are also percussionists, as well as other types of musicians, come up to me throughout the evening and express how they are blown away by what I contributed to the music, and how I did it. That’s very humbling, each and every time it happens. Lastly, I enjoy when the event company owner expresses how they much they enjoyed working with me and that they feel further inspired to offer my services in the future.
Q: Tell me about your practice schedule.
JD: I practice for about an hour a day just to keep my hands conditioned. When I was in high school, I had zero social life because I was practicing for anywhere from 6-8 hours a day, plus the countless hours while I was in drum corps.
Q: What is your favorite song to drum to?
JD: My all-time favorite song is "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas.
Q: Why should clients add your party percussionist services to their event?
JD: Hiring an in-demand, name brand LIVE entertainer adds prestige to an event and makes it stand out. A party percussionist is the perfect option for those groups who love to dance, as the combined effect of the DJ-Party Percussionist Combo raises the energy level, and adds a dazzling visual element to the evening.
Q: Do you have any upcoming public performances that you would like to tell us about?
JD: I will be performing at the NJDJN Mini Expo next week on Tuesday January 10th at the Crowne Plaza in Edison The event runs from 6:30 PM to 10 PM and will feature the NJDJN's corporate sponsors, with deeply discounted gear, party favors, decorations, novelties, group disability insurance, credit card acceptance program, and a presentation by special guest speaker Tony Tee Neto about "Audio Imaging." The event is open to all working disc jockeys and admission is FREE! Be sure to attend this New Jersey Disc Jockey Network Event and get there in time to catch my set at 6:30!
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT JOHN DONOVAN, PARTY PERCUSSIONIST
To be a "World Champion" in any line of work requires superlative talent and dedication. Now you can have international star John Donovan perform at your private party right here in the NJ/NY/PA Tristate area! For booking information and to view additional demo videos, visit John on the worldwide web at www.johndonovan.biz.
Winter weddings tend to be memorable. Yesterday's celebration at the Lambertville Station Restaurant was no exception. The weather was cold and blustery along the Delaware River in scenic Lambertville. While we have performed at many private parties at the Inn at Lambertville Station, yesterday was our first time to perform at its sister property, The Station Restaurant located on Bridge Street.
The Lambertville Inn Restaurant contains many zones, including a wine cellar open to the public. Anna and Sean took their vows in that wine cellar in front of a lit fireplace with some 40 close friends and family members looking on. Our DJ Gregg Ambient provided a mix of New Age prelude and processional music as per the bride's request. Anna entered the wine cellar to Enya's "Paint the Sky with Stars." Later, the couple recessed to the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony."
Cocktail hour and dinner followed in a private dining room on the second floor. The decor table centerpieces and decor were in holly red for Christmas, and a beautiful white wedding cake was adorned with Christmas flowers. The DJ booth was located in a comfortable nook in the corner of the room that we lit tastefully with two LED par cans in red.
The following hours were spent enjoying a modern mix of international music (ranging from French to Brazilian) and lush lounge music. Sample artists included Thievery Corporation, Bebel Gilberto, Manu Chao and Joe Dassin. Sean and Anna were kind enough to treat me to dinner, and the "Maple Mustard Salmon"was the most delicious that I've ever had! The staff at the restaurant was also exceptional - friendly and attentive.
Congratulations Anna and Sean! Best wishes in your married life together and thank you for making me feel like a celebrity DJ (even though I am not!).
Scenic Lambertville, NJ on a cool day in January
ABOUT AMBIENT DJ SERVICE
Ambient DJ Service is an award-winning mobile DJ service based in Central New Jersey that provides customized music and entertainment services. We specialize in multi-cultural events (such as Anna and Sean's). To learn more, visit us on the web at www.ambientdj.com.