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 long have you been DJing weddings?
I started DJing weddings back in the 00’s for friends and friends of friends who didn’t want a “wedding DJ”.
What are some of your all time favorite wedding songs?
Timeless favorites include:
Nelly “Ride Wit Me (must be the money)”
Kenny Loggins “Footloose”
David Bowie “Let’s Dance”
Le Tigre “Deceptacon”
Paul Simon “I Know What I Know”
Aretha Franklin & John Legend "What Y'All Came To Do"
The B-52′s “Love Shack (re-edit)”
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 middleground where I can play for 20 people or 10,000, young or old 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 training have you received?
To become a successful DJ you have to undergo a lot of on the job training. Over the years I have put on thousands of events both for others and for myself. You learn from each success and each challenge.
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.
Why is a DJ so expensive?
Compared to the cost of venues, caterers, photographers, planners, decor and flowers, DJs are usually the least expensive part of a wedding but they are still not cheap. Simply getting someone to press play is not actually that expensive, just ask a friend, but hiring a real DJ to do what real DJs do - as a skill set - is expensive. Consider the job requirements:
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.
Works well under pressure.
Loves music - REALLY loves music but knows when to play the Macarena 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.
Owns tens of thousands of dollars of music.
Owns tens of thousands of dollars of equipment.
Always has a smile no matter the situation.
This is a combination of creativity and responsibility in very short supply.
Call, text or email to schedule a meeting: 202-459-3600 KeltonHiggins@gmail.com