Exploring the Success of Stephanie Stardust: An Award-Winning DJ and Entrepreneur on the Move
Dj and MC Stephanie Stardust interviewWe are delighted to interview Stephanie Stardust, owner, MC and DJ of Royal Beats DJ Service out of Connecticut. She is an award–winning wedding DJ and has been a positive influence in the music industry. Her success as a music artist has taken her across the country, performing a variety of exciting events. In this interview, we‘ll get to know more about her career and find out what makes her a successful entrepreneur and music artist.
Stephanie Stardust of Royal Beats DJ Services.
1. What style of music do you specialize in?
I am an open format DJ so my specialty is knowing a variety of genres and being able to play at almost any type of event. I have taken gigs just to challenge myself and expand my music knowledge and database. I’m all about playing to my client. I might say that I specialize in playing at weddings and clubs specifically since that influences my style. That covers music from the 50s-today!
2. How do you choose which songs to mix?
I have to read the crowd. I consider the type of event, ages of the people in attendance, the venue, and any specific client requests. Content & song lyrics are important to consider at weddings and children’s parties so you really have to know the music you’re playing.
3. How do you create a unique atmosphere for each event?
I stay up to date on current trends, create customized itineraries, music playlists and personalized announcements. I offer lighting and photobooth add ons for additional fun & wow factors. I can outsource anything I don’t have through my network. I never want any of my events to be the same!
4. How long have you been working in this industry and how did you get started?
I’m now in my 14th year self-employed as a DJ. I was once a shy young singer and one day I was asked to host a karaoke show for a friend. Soon after I realized that this was my path in life! I had come from the hospitality industry so the transition was seamless. I was already coordinating wedding and meeting details so when I became a DJ, it was a natural progression for me to make my niche in that area. It’s a path I would never have taken if not for others encouraging and helping me along the way!
5. What is the strangest special request someone has asked for?
I’ve been asked to DJ naked/topless several times. To be fair, I have been adventurous enough to DJ ALL types of events – even nudist camps & strip clubs, so if you can imagine…. I’ve had very interesting gigs and requests. I am very nonjudgmental and I want people to know when they hire me that they can have fun in their element.
6. How do you keep the crowd engaged and entertained?
Being an MC and DJ makes it easy! I’m not afraid to talk and interact with people and that’s how you connect. I will host party games at events for kids or adults. I’ll get on the dance floor or sing karaoke! You have to have people skills and genuinely like people. You can’t be shy. Have fun and don’t waste time being self conscious.
7. What is your most memorable performance so far?
I think that Djing the grand opening of the MGM Casino in Springfield for 3 days was the most memorable for a few reasons. I was contacted by a company out of Vegas who put me up in a hotel for the weekend. They hired people to do my hair and makeup, costumed me from head to toe and then put me on the same stage as Dropkick Murphy’s and the Blue Man group. I djed with a live percussionist for the first time as well. It was kind of insane!
8. Have you ever had any technical difficulties while performing?
Over the years, I’ve experienced so many issues, I don’t even know where to begin. Some days things work out perfectly and others, it’s like nothing works at all!! It’s a learning experience though. We use technology and there is a lot of room for error. If you backup everything from equipment to wires you can be more prepared for anything. With experience though, I no longer get flustered. I can usually resolve an issue calmly without anyone realizing there’s a problem. It took many problems and stressful situations to finally feel more at ease. I thought a few times I would die on the spot from stress!
9.How do you balance the need to please the crowd with your own artistic vision?
It’s kind of like a game to figure out the vibe of the crowd in every new space I walk into on any given day/night. It’s my job to know different genres of music going back several decades, if I want to please everybody. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about the art of mixing the past few years. Sometimes, I let the crowd make requests, but I choose the remix/edit so I can make the song longer/shorter, clean/explicit, original/remix. I decide the flow – we work together to create the perfect soundtrack.
10. What type of equipment do you use?
In the past 2 years I’ve learned how to DJ on a few different DJ Controllers. Opportunities dictated which ones I learned but I got over the fear of the unknown by taking risks. I have 3 different DJ Controllers but I know how to play on at least 6. I also know a few different DJ programs. I have 4 sets of speakers in different sizes and brands. I have karaoke equipment too so that includes microphones, a mixer and TV/Video. I pride myself on making singers sound their best because of my experience as a singer. It keeps them coming back! Not too long ago, I started to incorporate uplighting and photo booth packages based on demand for those services. I love keeping up on new trends and offering what I can to my clients.
11. How do you approach mixing different genres of music?
You can hop genres easily with a few different techniques. I have been learning how to think differently about my mixing by attending conferences and seminars with some of the most inspiring DJs in the US. From word play to bpms, to ‘left turns’ and fun transitions, mixing music should be done thoughtfully. You want the crowd to anticipate the next song without them actually knowing what it is. You have to surprise them with songs they forgot as well as introduce them to songs that are going to be hot! It’s fun. It’s exhausting. There’s so much going on in the head of the DJ! We are counting beats, timing transitions, coming up with your next song all while analyzing the dance floor to see if what you’re doing is working. It’s exhausting after a few hours!
12. What advice would you give to someone starting out in the DJ industry?
Be prepared to be more than just a DJ. Put in the time and effort to learn to be an entertainer. Your personality will carry you further than you think. Be authentic in your connections and grow your network organically to attract the right clients. You’ll be investing more time and money than you can imagine. If you’re in it to bring joy to others as opposed to feeding your ego, you will go further. Every gig is an opportunity to be working on your brand and social media presence so plan everything accordingly from your appearance to your interactions. Know your music and your gear before you go out in public. Be prepared for anything. Have fun with it. We can make someone feel special just by saying their name on a mic. Make it about them, not you.
Lori Lebel has been a lover of music since she was a young child. In 2007, Lori started booking bands, and since then has booked over 40 bands and artists in states all over the US, including booking for Motown’s The Funk Brothers. Lori has also managed local bands, and has done photography and video of artists recording in the music studio and playing live gigs for promotional purposes. She is incredibly knowledgeable about the music industry and has taken several courses, earning certifications from Brower Entertainment Agency, Conquer Entertainment and more. Currently, Lori is working as a booking agent for Brower Entertainment Agency, booking national acts, motivational speakers and indie artists.
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