How to be a good KJ (Karaoke Jock)
Training for a KJ usually consists of a night of training with another KJ. If your lucky you might get two nights. Most of this training is on how to run the equipment and to deal with the rotation of singers and keeping track of their song slips. Very little is given on how to interact with customers and how to conduct oneself in a professional manner. These tips below are to help you become a better KJ.
Know when to sing and when not to sing. Singing in each rotation will cause resentment, so consider the number of singers waiting for their next opportunity before taking to the microphone yourself. If customers are singing only slow songs and you fear losing your crowd, jump into a fast-paced song to keep people from leaving. You may also encourage your singers to mix up their songs to keep the place jumping.
I generally sing in the rotation until we get eight singers then I remove my name from the rotation. I usually only sing again, if I really think the rotation needs an upbeat song, or as a request to sing a duet. You are not the show, your singers are!
When new singers arrive, slip them into the rotation instead of placing them at the end: this is the fastest way to make a good impression on a new singer. Just be sure to be fair about this and always do it for everyone. If you find people are taking advantage of you, stopping in, singing and then leaving, don't do it for them.
Don't drink. You are working and being paid to do a good job. If a patron buys you a drink don't refuse it, your job is to help sell beer and liquor. Have them buy you something that isn't too strong.
You are the host for the entire evening. Remember that you determine whether everyone has a good time.
Don't play a full song between each singer. By avoiding this time-waster, your customers’ singing opportunities will be greatly increased. (An experienced Karaoke singer will not frequent an establishment that limits him to 3 songs in one night.) To keep things moving, make sure your next singer knows that he is up next, and that he is ready to sing. But should you want to avoid moments of dead air time, you may play music between singers until the next singer is situated at the microphone.
Recognize that it is almost impossible to appeal to a Karaoke crowd and a dance crowd at the same time. However, two helpful suggestions to assist with this are to: 1) Encourage your singers to sing music that allow people the opportunity to dance. Write down songs that that singer has sung that gets people dancing. Ask that singer to sing it next week. Believe me he or she will be flattered and will be glad to do it. 2) Run through the Karaoke rotation then play requested dance numbers before restarting the Karaoke rotation. Having a rotation of requested dance songs and only playing them if and when they are asked for will keep everyone happy.
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