How to change the mood of your wedding with lights.

When you think of your wedding you may picture the color of your flowers and the color of your napkins, but did you look at the color of the lights?  Lights have a huge effect on a space.  You can wash a color over a boring wall, bring notice to the cake table, or light up you head table so all eyes go straight to you.  There are also studies that prove different colors illicit different emotions.  Greens and Blues offer a calming effect where reds and yellow are higher energy.  Using this is your advantage can help relax people during dinner and get them moving when it’s time to start the dancing.

You can see below how the use of a few up lights can make a big difference to the way a room looks.  Even the dullest rooms will come to life with the right color wash.

wedding with blue up lighting

Dance floor lighting can also have a big effect on your crowd.  When it’s time to start dancing most guests need to break out of their shell just a bit.  The most important thing is a good DJ that can read the crowd, but after that comes sound and atmosphere.  Professional DJs will have the sound covered with professional equipment, but we can do so much more by adding lights.  Lasers, LEDs and colored washes can also add a lot to a dance floor.  You can even have them move with the beat of the music.  There is a noticeable difference to the room once the dance floor comes to life.

Most weddings will benefit from lights in some way.  The key is to work with your DJ to pick the right lights for your room and dance floor.  Whether you like subtle accents or aggressive strobes, lighting can help show that side of you to your guests.

Please consider Black Tie DJ Phx for your Phoenix Wedding DJ

Winning big at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards

Winning a Grammy is a huge deal for artists and producers.  Winning 5 in one night is epic and the Foo Fighters did just that.  Winning 6 in a night is beyond epic and before last night Beyonce was the only woman to have done it.  Adele tied that record and for good reason.

Adele has launched into the American music scene in a big way.  Her album “21″ is an amazing look at her emotional roller coaster, and I’m sure something that most of us can relate to.  She shows how vulnerable she can be and at the same time demonstrates her strength and compassion.  Her voice is powerful and takes you on a journey that touches your soul.  Tender in one moment and overwhelming in the next.  Winning at the Grammys seemed inevitable.

Adele won for Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Short Form Music Video, and Best Pop Solo Performance.  ”Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone like you” were the two songs from her Album “21″ that stood out for the night.  She Performed “Rolling in the Deep” live, which was the first live performance since her vocal cord surgery.

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Foo Fighters performed their hit “Walk” which they won Best Rock Performance for.  They also took home Grammys for Best Rock Album (Wasting Time) and 3 others.  Dave Grohl (Frontman) pointed out that the “human element of making music is what’s most important, (it’s) not about sounding perfect, but what goes on in here,” pointing to his heart.

Kanye West also took home four, and Skrillet three.

Over all it was an amazing night for Adele and so many other artists.  I’m sure I’ll be bumping a lot more requests for these artists in the near future.

Thank you for reading this Phoenix DJ‘s blog.

 

Cortina School Jog-a-Thon

Last November I was the disc jockey at an amazing back yard wedding for Kim Betancourt,  which was a lot of fun.  When she called me to DJ an event for her son’s school, I was thrilled.

Cortina Tigers Banner

Cortina Elementary School was putting on their annual jog-a-thon.  Cortina has over 1,200 kids K-8, so I had my work cut out for me.  Six hours of kids rushing the DJ booth can be all lot to take, but the students at Cortina were great.  They were there to have a fun time and treated me (and my equipment) with respect.  Clearly the Cortina teachers are having a positive effect on these kids.

Phoenix DJ at Cortina Jog-a-Thon

Phoenix DJ Budd at Cortina Jog-a-Thon

Watching them compete in this fund raiser was extremely entertaining.  The kindergardners were very cute as their little legs took them around and around the field.  Even the older kids were having a good time.

Through out the day kids were swarming my booth but Ricky Drinkwater(PTO president’s husband) was there quizzing each kid before they could make a song request or shout out.  As a new parent I really appreciated the focus on learning.  Ricky also stepped in to cheer on the kids as they continued their laps.  It was nice to see the teachers and school staff getting into the spirit of the event.  Even the assistant principal put in six miles worth of laps.

Cortina Principal and Assistant Principal with Kim

Cortina Principal and Assistant Principal with Kim

Overall the day was a huge success and I plan on being a big part of events to come.  The kids in this school are incredible and I enjoyed every minute of the jog-a-thon.

Cortina is having a carnival on April 20th of this year which should also be fun.  You will see me there bumping the music and hanging out with the kids.  Feel free to come by and say hi.

As always, thank you for reading and if you’re looking for a Phoenix DJ please check out Black Tie DJ PHX.

How to choose music for your wedding

Why music is important

Music is such a huge part of a wedding. It can say a lot about the bride and groom, and it can make a huge impact on whether your guests have fun or not.

I’ve been a DJ for over 10 years and I’ve been a music lover for far longer. Music has a way of instilling emotion into a person. It takes them on a ride and can bring a crowd running to the dance floor, or leave them misty in their chairs. So choosing music for your wedding can be a daunting task. Luckily I’ve given some advice to help get you on your way.

Background music

At different times through out the wedding and reception the music won’t be the main entertainment. Whether it’s during the cocktail hour or while guests are sitting down to dinner you’ll need to set the mood with some great music. Of course all of this will depend on your personal tastes, but your DJ will be able to assist in picking the perfect mix of the genres you select.

pre-ceremony
The pre-ceremony music is usually very relaxed and light. Nothing with to much bass or too fast a tempo. The idea is to keep your guests in a calm mood.

classical (strings are usually better than piano here)
covers done by a string quartet (some great stuff here)
love songs (can stretch across genres but most will be slower/calming)

Cocktail hour/Dinner
For the cocktail hour and dinner you have a lot of room to play with. You can mix in different tempos and themes and it won’t throw off the crowd much. Stay away from heavy bass or long quite intros and you should be set. There are some genres that work better than others.

jazz (a mixture of true Jazz like Miles Davis and some Sinatra style standards)
classic rock
contemporary jazz (Norah Jones, Michael Buble, Diana Krall)
Adult Contemporary (again stay away from big bass or extremely fast tempo)

Cake cutting
This is not a place that you sit back for an hour and let music play but a few well chosen songs are nice here. You can get creative here is you like.

Motown (Sugar Sugar, Chapel of love, build me up buttercup, How sweet it is)
Rock (pour some sugar on me, sweet emotion)
Disco (cut the cake)
Love songs

Special Dances

There are a number of special dances that you can choose to do at your wedding and reception. Your personal likes will play the biggest part for these songs.

Processional
If you’re not going with the traditional then something like “Only Time” – Enya is great. You can always go extreme and have the Bridal party dance their way down the isle. If that’s not your style then just make sure it’s a song you can walk to, and isn’t too fast of a beat.

Recessional
I like to have fun with a recessional. It can set the tone for the rest of the night. Songs like James Brown – “I feel good” or U2 – “Beautiful Day” are a lot of fun


Grand Entrance
This is another place that you can have a lot of fun with. “let’s get it started” – Black Eyed Peas, “Sexy Back” – Justin Timberlake, or going old school with “Celebration” – Kool and the gang are fun upbeat songs you can use. Alternatively you can keep it classy (L.O.V.E – Nat King Cole) or corky (Slow motion running while “Chariots of Fire” plays). You can use your imagination and just have fun.

First Dance
Most first dances are slower songs that you can sway back and forth to. If this is your style then pick a song you really enjoy or one that has special meaning for the two of you. For the more adventurous couples you may try ball room dances or even start with a slow dance and switch it up half way through to a fast and fun song. You can find a lot of video on YouTube showing just that.

Father Daughter Dance
This falls in line with the first dance. Just think of a song that works for you and your dad. The one addition that I add here is, If you are looking to cut the time down for these dances you can combine the father/daughter and mother/son dance. Usually this is done by starting with just he bride and her father and about 30 seconds in the Groom will invite his mother on to the floor. You can take it one step further and 30 seconds after that invite everyone onto the floor, starting off open dancing.

Mother Son Dance
Same as for the Father/Daughter dance, but if you give the bride’d dad a full song then give the groom’s mom a full song too. If you let your DJ know ahead of time you can always have these songs cut short, so don’t worry if you picked a song that’s 6 minutes long.

Bridal party dance
In resent years fewer brides are having a bridal party dance. Most are have a few songs that they know the bridesmaids will dance to, and want the DJ to dedicate it to them at some point in the night. If you are doing a bridal party dance then songs like “Lean on Me” are great. You can keep it just the bridal party or you can let them bring their sposes and segnificant others out too. The DJ will normally let the other guests come out on the floor half way into the song, so it’s a great way to start open dancing.

Anniversary Dance
The anniversary dance gives you an opportunity to recognize the people that have been married the longest. There are two ways that this can work. The first starts with all of the married couples on the floor. You start asking the couples to leave if they have been married a day or less, then a year, and so on until there’s only one couple left. The second way has you start with the bride and groom on the floor then ask for people to join in on the dance floor if they’ve been married for a year or less, then two years then five years, and so on. The second way is great if you have elderly couples that can’t dance for very long, or if you know who the winning couple will be and they can’t dance at all. In this case you can have the DJ announce who they are at the end of the dance. Good songs for this are “Unforgettable” – Nat King Cole, or “Unchained Melody” – The Righteous Brothers. If you know the oldest couple and what their first dance was then using that can be extremely special to them.

Money Dance
The money dance is also not done as often as it used to be. If you have a lot of people at your wedding and won’t have time to go around and talk to everyone then use this dance to let them come to you. The DJ will direct your guests on what to do during this dance. They’ll also keep the people moving through the line. If you have 300 guests and they all want to dance with you, then the DJ will only allow about 10 seconds per guest so the crowd doesn’t get bored and so people in line don’t wait too long. Frank Sinatra style jazz works great here. Songs like “The way you Look Tonight” are perfect here. You may want to through in some slower songs too, but nothing that is too fast. The DJ should have a good play list for this, so either have them play what they want or give them suggestions of what you like.

The DJ will most likely have their own spin on any or all of these dance. Whether it’s roses given to the longest couple, or adding a voice over of your vows to the first dance, listen to the advice they give you. They have seen a lot of weddings and can be a great resource for you.

Dance Music

This is where the fun can begin. You know what you like to dance to and the DJ will want as many suggestions as he can get so he has a starting point for feeling out the crowd. Every crowd is different and some will dance to anything. Other crowds have to be pulled kicking and screaming in order to break the ice. Depending on which one you have will determine how hard your DJ will work to fill that dance floor.

Most weddings will have a wide rang of ages so it’s important to cater to all of them. I like to start the night of by playing some of the older well known songs that everyone can enjoy. This can include some disco, classic rock, Motown, and a few hits from the 50s through 90s. As the night progresses and the older crowd retires to the back of the room I start mixing in the newer music that the younger crowd will go crazy for. This is not perfect for every crowd so I find that I adapt and change throughout every event to find whats right for that crowd. This is why its important for brides and grooms to give there input prior to the reception.

DJs also have group dances at their disposal. Things like the cha cha slide and the cupid shuffle are a easy way to load up the dance floor. Make sure you let the DJ know if you don’t want a specific dance at your wedding. If you hate the chicken dance then put it on the do not play list. Your DJ should already be asking these questions. If they don’t then do the proactive thing and tell them.

Closing thoughts and shameless plug

As a DJ I welcome any suggestions or requests for your wedding. I wouldn’t enjoy being a DJ as much if every event was the same so working closely with a bride and groom to make theirs unique is part of what allows me to have fun too. I can only imagine other DJs feel the same, so don’t hold back your letting us know exactly what you want for your big day.

If you’re in the Phoenix area and looking for a Phoenix DJ for your next event please keep Black Tie DJ PHX in mind.

Thanks for reading.

Birthday Song Chart Topper

Recently I was checking out my Facebook newsfeed and I came across one of my good friend’s posts.  She had the song that was on top of the charts when she was born.  How fricking cool is that?  I’ve never even thought to ask that question until just now.  I clicked on the link to the app and started entering my info and gave the app permission to post on my wall.

I hit enter and waited to see what the most important song in the world could have been.  Before I could see it I first had to do some survey to verify my age.  Hmm sounds plausible.  I was too excited to worry about it then.  Okay JCPenny was about to find out what my favorite department in their store is.  Done now back to the song.  ”Waiting for completion” WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just give me the song!!!!!

Back to JCPenny’s tab.  Wait I have to complete offers there too?  1 Silver 2 Gold 4 Plat?  I just finished an offer!  I took your stupid survey!  I started to look through the list of offers.  Buy this/try this/signup here.  ”I don’t want to, you can’t make me”.

It dawned on me I might be able to cut out the “app middle man” and just google the song.  JCPenny tab closed, but what do I see on my facebook wall?  My song posted!!!!!!

Knock on Wood – AmiiStewart

Can you believe it?  I didn’t have to give any money away or anything.  I might have sold a piece of my sole but I’m not sure.

For your convienence I’ve done a quick google search and found this site. Birthday Song Database.  It takes a minute to load but you can search for you birthday song there.

As always thanks for reading, and consider Black Tie DJ PHX if you need a Phoenix DJ.

Top 5 Disco Song list that doesn’t include the Village People

Disco is one of those genres that can get a lot of people groaning when it hits the speakers, but it doesn’t have to be.  Sure, there are a lot of over played songs that leave you feeling dirty for liking them, but there are so many good ones too.  My goal is to list my top 5 songs and hope that it hits a cord for some of you.  At the very least I pray you will be more tolerant of the genre.

1)  September – Earth, Wind and Fire

This is one of my favorite songs period.  It’s definitively my favorite disco jam.  If you hate this one then you might as well stop reading.  We may never see eye to eye.

2)  Don’t stop ’til You get enough – Michael Jackson

Arguably one of Michael’s best dance songs, but he’s had so many great jams that the debate would be epic.  I am a huge fan of this one and play it often at both DJ events and on personal play lists.

3)  T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia) – MFSB

Another great disco song that just gets you moving.  This is memorable but not over played.  A must have for 70s/disco themed parties but can work across the board.

4)  Boogie Oogie Oogie – Taste of Honey

Listen to that guitar.  It’s got a lot of funk to it.  Great song.

5)  I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross

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Some people can’t get past how the gay community has taken hold of this song.  If that’s a big problem for you then pass right by.  This is a great song with one of the best hooks.  It’s no wonder Puffy sampled from it.

These are just a few of the truly great Disco songs out there.  There are a lot of others including newer music like “Murder on the Dancefloor” by Sophie Ellis-Bextor and “If I Ever Feel better” by Phoenix.  Jamiroquai has some great disco beats too.

Don’t ever give up on Disco.

Thanks for reading and check out the rest of my site.  Black Tie is on Facebook and Google +

My top 5 songs to Dance to

About This List
First off thank you for stopping by to read my lowly opinion. I’ve been playing music for some time now as a mobile DJ and love to get people out of their chairs and onto the dance floor. As a mobile DJ my music selection stays pretty main stream, so don’t be shocked that this list doesn’t get deep into b-side tracks that the general public may have missed. It really is a list of song that I enjoy playing and people like dancing to. Maybe it will help you select some songs for your next party.

Songs

Good Feeling – Flo Rida

I am a big big fan of this song.  It has a great hook and Flo Rida keeps the floor bumpin.  Definitively worth a listen.

Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO Feat. Lauren Bennett and Goon Rock

This song is and has been big over the last few months.  LMFAO followed it up with another very fun song “Sexy and I know it”, which is also great for most young crowds.

Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 Feat. Christina Aguilera

Just go and listen if you haven’t heard it.  I’d be surprised if you haven’t though. It’s a great song and a good reason to hit the dance floor.

Dynamite – Taio Cruz

This song came in and hit big.  People love it and I’m not tired of it yet.

Give me Everything – Pitbull Feat. Ne-yo, Afrojack and Nayer

Just a fun song with a great beat.

Hopefully you’ll forgive my mainstream taste in this list.  The crowds like to hear top 40s, and I’m all about giving the people what they want.

Thanks for reading.

DJ Budd rocking a singles party in 2003

Back in 2003 I was still a “wet behind the ears” DJ. I was learning about music and how to “program”. I was also working on how to kick the stage fright that goes along with entertaining. I’m thankful for never fully getting rid of it. I think if I did I would lose the love I have for this career.

In addition to the company parties and weddings I was given, (I say given because I worked for a DJ company and I had someone else selling and booking me as a DJ) I was a regular for a Christian Singles Company. They threw about 16 dances a year, among other events, and I was the DJ 4-6 a year.

I was going through some of my older pictures and I found this one from a trip they had to Venture, CA. They brought my wife and me up for the weekend to DJ the dances. I always look back on those days with a warm fuzzy feeling. The people were so much fun to preform for, and the company was generous and easy to work with.

Here is the picture I found.

image: 2003 Singles Dance DJ in Ventura, CA

2003 Singles Dance DJ in Ventura, CA

They danced so much the the dance floor shifted enough to hit my speaker stands five inches away!

Thanks for reading.

How to keep wedding guests dancing

It takes more than just the DJ

After DJing hundreds of wedding receptions, one thing is clear, there are specific things brides and grooms can do to help your DJ keep the dance floor full. There are also some things that they do that make it harder than it should be. I’m going to hit on a few of the do’s and don’ts that will make your wedding a real party.

Reception hall and itinerary

  1. DJs have to be near the dance floor, period. We are entertainers and need to have easy access to the dance floor and our equipment. Putting us near the dance floor helps us keep the energy up and the guests getting down. You can put us to the side of the dance floor if you’re worried about pictures.
  2. Keep the bar in the same room as the dance floor. The closer the better. If you make your guests leave the party atmosphere to get a drink, they tend to lose their dancing shoes on the walk. If they are always in site of the party then the shoes stay on their feet. This also lets the DJ see who the really fun people are and we use that to break the ice.
  3. Don’t let dinner drag on too long. We understand that feeding a lot of people takes time, but making them sit after they are done eating is a big party downer. Work with your DJ to plan your first dance and other dances while people are finishing up their food. People will enjoy watching you from their chairs and this will allow open dancing to hit about the time they need to stand up and stretch their legs. There’s no better place to do that then on the dance floor.
  4. Plan to have some dancing right after dinner and before the cake. Once the cake is cut most guests see that as a sign that they’re about to overstay their welcome. They start the bee line for the door. The alternative to this is getting them dancing and enjoying themselves a bit before the sugar rush. Even if they still leave they’ll have had a better time.

 

The music

  1. Make sure your DJ plays a few slower songs early on. Women want to dance with their husbands and husbands can be easily convinced to dance to a slow song. If you can find out what your parents or grandparents danced to as their first dance, then you can dedicate the song to them. The DJ can invite everyone to the dance floor as a way to honor their marriage that has lasted so long.
  2. Let your guests make requests. Guests feel more a part of the night if they can request some of their favorite songs. You can always give your DJ guidelines on what is and isn’t appropriate to request. If you don’t want the chicken dance, let the DJ know.

 

Closing thoughts and shameless self promotion

Your wedding should be a joyous and memorable experience for both you and your guests. As a DJ I want you to look back on the night and think about how much fun you had and how much your guests enjoyed themselves. By following some of the advice above you will give your DJ the best chance of making that happen for you.

If you are in need of a DJ in the greater Phoenix area then please consider Black Tie DJ Phoenix. I will personally do everything in my power to make your wedding a success.