Kelton Higgins has DJed hundreds of weddings, clubs and private events across three continents over two decades. His unique ability to combine pop and underground sensibilities, an audio engineers understanding of equipment and the organizational skills of an expert event planner places him in a category of his own.
How often do you get on the mic?
I keep my use of the microphone to announcements and the occasional call and response song. I let the music do the talking.
How long have you been DJing?
I’ve been a professional DJ for over 10 years but the journey started as a teenager buying one record after another.
How many weddings have you DJed?
I’ve DJed over 500 weddings, or roughly 50 a year.
How many non-wedding events have you DJed?
That is a hard question but the number is well over 1,000. They range from well healed events for Tesla, Ferrari, Honda, Oracle, Media Matters, The White House Correspondents Dinner After Party, major medical, lobbying and real estate entites… to the sweatiest warehouse parties along side underground music heroes Theo Parrish, QuestLove and DC GoGo legends Trouble Funk.
What are some of your all time favorite wedding songs?
Some favorites include:
Nelly “Ride Wit Me (must be the money)”
Kenny Loggins “Footloose”
Backstreet Boys “Everybody (Backstreet's Back)”
David Bowie “Let’s Dance”
Le Tigre “Deceptacon”
P Square ft Akon & May D “Chop My Money”
Aretha Franklin & John Legend "What Y'All Came To Do"
City Girls “Twerk”
Violent Femmes “Gone Daddy Gone”
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats “S.O.B.”
What is your philosophy on weddings?
Weddings should be fun. I like to work with couples starting months ahead of time to get a sense of who they are and what they want the event to be, not just the music. That way on the day of they can enjoy time with friends and family not have to think about the DJ or the music.
What makes you different from your competition?
Personality and experience set me apart. There aren’t a lot of people out there with the necessary combination of creativity and responsibility to be a great private event DJ. A lot of “real DJs” are just plain rude, and most “wedding DJs” will not push the envelope beyond the lowest common denominator. I occupy that rare middle ground where I can take the lead or take requests, play for young and old, pop or niche audiences and keep everybody dancing. I also find myself grooving along in the DJ booth and having as much fun as the guests, which tends to be infectious.
What do you do to motivate the crowd if no one is dancing?
Switch it up! I like to keep things moving and keep people guessing. Give them what they want but don’t be predictable. You have to watch your audience so you don't loose them in the first place. Eventually you get good at reading a crowd and sensing what they need to get them going.
What problems have you encountered at a wedding and how have you solved it?
A common problem is the friend or relative who has been asked to play an acoustic instrument at the wedding but didn’t realize that they needed amplification to be heard by hundreds of guests. I always pack extra microphones and cables that can turn a DJ monitor into an emergency PA system in minutes.
Do you specialize in a particular style of music?
Nope. Boundaries are boring. My music collection spans the globe, goes back to the 1940’s and gets added to each week with new music across so many styles listing them would be pointless.
Have you ever worked at venue X?
Chances are I have DJed at your venue dozens of times. In the rare instance that I haven’t DJed there before I will either swing by beforehand for venues near by or thoroughly research the venue before the day of your wedding and arrive an extra hour earlier than the normal two hours I always give myself for setup.
What equipment do you bring?
I always bring everything I need as well as back ups. The minimum is two laptops, an iPad, DJ equipment, an audio mixer, three microphones (two are wireless) and a sound system. The type of sound system depends on the venue. One size does not fit all venues.
Why can’t I hire you for just a few hours?
By the time I’ve played my first song I’ve already spent several hours preparing the timeline, music and floor plan details, an hour or more organizing music in my laptop and creating backups on a secondary laptop and iPad, one hour+ loading equipment and driving to the venue, two hours of setting up, followed by one hour of breakdown and another hour or so of returning equipment to storage. That’s an average of nine hours beyond the hours you see me DJing. Because some much goes into each event I only offer package rates.
Why does a DJ cost what a DJ costs?
Compared to the average cost of venues ($3.5k - $25k), caterers ($9k - $15k), photographers ($2k - $10k), planners ($1.5k - $11k), bands ($4k - $10k), decor & flowers ($2k -$5k), DJs are usually the least expensive part of a wedding. Considering they are responsible for the flow of the entire day this makes them an especially good value. A real DJ is 50% event planner, 50% mind reader and 100% dance floor magician.
So what are you paying for?
Excellent communication skills with guests and family.
Ability to improvise with the music, timeline, layout, unforeseen logistical problems and other vendors who might not be all that great at their jobs.
Able to lift heavy equipment.
Willing to work every weekend often for 13 hours a day, most of that standing.
Never drinking on the job.
Exceptional planning skills.
Attention to detail.
Works well under pressure.
Loves music - REALLY loves music but knows when to play a cheeky line dance vs an obscure gem.
Has spent years learning the craft of programing and mixing music to keep diverse crowds dancing for hours.
Understands the technology behind audio equipment and the science of acoustics.
Brings over $50,000 dollars worth of music to every event. Much of it specially edited.
Brings over $10,000 dollars worth of equipment to every event.
Always has a smile no matter the situation.
Call, text or email to schedule a meeting: 202-459-3600 KeltonHiggins@gmail.com