How To Select A KJ (Karaoke DJ)
For Your Holiday Party
Kool Karl of A 2 Z Karaoke DJs
With the steadily increasing popularity of Karaoke,
more and more holiday festivities are now including Karaoke as part and parcel
of the party. From family gatherings and reunions to corporate celebrations
and wing-dings, the cry is being heard “I wanna’ sing!”
This brings us to our topic for this article, how do I find a good fun KJ that
will make our event a success? And yes, the entertainment will make or break
What kind of party are you planning, a company Christmas party, Billy’s
birthday, or aunt Erma’s wedding reception? Your KJ’s experience and attire
should reflect how serious or lighthearted the occasion will be.
will be attending.... all the old hacks from work, your friends from high
school or the relatives from Peoria? What percent are Karaoke singers? What
age and music range will appeal to these guests? Is it a bubble gum kiddy
corral, an over 20 hip crowd, a 30 something yuppie bunch, a 40 plus over the
hill gang, a herd of senile old farts or an all ages 8 to 80 ensemble cast?
Your KJ needs to have the right music/Karaoke repertoire and personality to
relate to your crowd.
Once you have defined the parameters, it’s time to start your search.
Don’t look for a pretty face or glitzy ad. Anyone can take a glamour photo
from 15 years ago and have an ad made up. The KJ that shows up at your party
is often not the person you see pictured in the ad. What you seek is a
professional KJ or company with the experience, sound system and library to
match your parameters.
You ideally want someone with the system resources to cover any electronic or
hardware failures, and back up KJs to assure that your party will happen as
planned. You would not believe the number of calls we get from people when
their KJ cancels at the last minute. Usually because she has dumped them for a
better offer and doesn’t care enough about the customer to find them a
replacement. This is not a professional KJ moment, and the customer didn’t
know how to choose a good Karaoke host.
Today the internet is an excellent resource for finding anything, including
KJs. If you are an on-line junkie, go to any major search engine and enter
something like “Karaoke party DJ”. You will get a huge listing of website
addresses. Glance through the first 20 or 30 listings and pick out two or
three KJ services in your area. Check out the websites for contact info,
and call or email them with as much detail on what you are looking for as
A little hint is to avoid the DJ music companies that also provide Karaoke as
an add-on extra. These are usually a poor choice if you are a serious Karaoke
singer. They don't have the Karaoke library or the karaoke equipment that will
make your singers sound great.
The yellow pages also provide a resource for finding local party KJs.
Look under “Karaoke” and call on the ads that announce KJ or Karaoke DJ
The big question is “how much should I pay”? You can find expensive companies
that give little extra for their premium price, and cut rate KJs who aren’t
even worth what they charge. Your best bet is to always go for a mid range
price. The real pros will not gouge you or work dirt-cheap.
Remember that around the holidays prices go up and peak on New Year's Eve. You
can often get a better price by having an afternoon or weekday party. Friday
and Saturday nights go at a premium. Prices vary extensively around the
country. A good professional KJ in the So. Cal. area will charge $100 to $150
an hour for a private holiday gig. Christmas and New Years eves go from $200
to $300 an hour. If you are paying less, look very carefully at their
equipment, library, abilities and experience before booking. If you are paying
a lot more, you are getting ripped!
Should you pay more for, or select a KJ with extras such as a light show
or smoke machine? When was the last time flashing lights and smoke made you
sound better? (with some singers flashing lights and smoke may cause
flashbacks...LOL) If you have a disco dance crowd this might provide them
with the sleazy night life atmosphere they relate to. If you are doing
Karaoke, don’t be a ditz... skip the distractions and concentrate on what you
really want: sound and selection.
Should you also have dance music? Depends on the crowd, if it’s made up of all
singers probably not, If it’s an all ages family affair (e.g. a wedding or
company party) by all means. Helpful hint: A KJ who also has dance music works
better than a DJ who has a little Karaoke. Just make sure he has the music
range you want to have played, and give explicit instructions on what to play
What you don’t want is a DJ who tells you what he wants to play, a sure way to
alienate your guests. But you must know the musical tastes of your guests,
family and friends. And trust me every party is different.
How can you tell if he’s any good before you book him? A video will only show
you what a staged and edited party can look like. The best advice is to pick a
party KJ who also does club shows. You can check him out and peruse his
karaoke selections by attending a show. Don’t judge by the songs sung at that
club but by how the KJ handles and relates to the crowd. Pick a KJ who has his
own sound system, does the system sound great? If not it will not sound any
better at your party. Make sure he has the song library range you and your
group will relate to. Does he adjust the sound for each singer? The mark of a
professional! Get up and do a tune or two, do you get adequate voice feedback
and do you feel comfortable? Does the mic sound fuzzy or distorted, or is it
smooth and clear? If everything matches, you have found your man. A really
Kool hat is just an extra bonus.
An added hint, don’t be swayed by promises of 25 channel mixers or 5000 watts
of mind numbing power. You are not booking a 12 piece band and you really
don’t want your home bouncing on its foundation like a low rider Honda Civic
on subwoofer overload, or your crystal glasses shattering on the high notes!
Follow this simple guideline and your Karaoke party will be a booming
success. Now what really good singers can we invite....is Gwyneth Paltrow
busy next weekend?
* * * * * *
Kool Karl can be found KJ-ing at various clubs and private parties around
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