Since I was a little girl I loved to sing, dance and to lose myself in the words of songs and the feel of music. I enjoyed it so much that when I had the opportunity to go to college, after I divorced my first husband, I chose Radio DJ as a profession. I wanted to be surrounded by music throughout my work day. I thought it would be the BEST JOB EVER!!!
The best laid plans always take a sharp turn to the left in the middle. I ended up in an extremely different place than where I thought I would be.
What I learned in college was fascinating that is for sure. I wrote commercials and then I would perform them. I absolutely loved the writing of the commercials. That part came super easy to me and I aced each one. Using the equipment to perform them was a lot of fun. It was the creativity of the recording process that I really enjoyed. I learned how to program the music and the commercials on the radio. I wrote copy for the news, for both radio and television. I even learned how to deliver the daily news that you see each evening using a teleprompter.
What I didn’t get to do though was actually listen to the music!! It was a real explosion to my dreams when I learned that as a DJ you don’t get to experience the rumble of the notes reverberating through the room. That part of radio is only meant for the listener. As a DJ you are always busy, while the music is pumping out to the listener’s ears, getting ready for the next commercial break, planning the announcement of the next song or recording a bit for a future set. This was devastating news to me and it was a crushing blow to my BEST JOB EVER thoughts.
Another HUGE hiccup in my plans was learning that breaking into the DJ business meant living in a teeny tiny town in the middle of nowhere, in a different state mind you AND working the 3am shift. This was absolutely not going to work for me. I had a couple of new teenagers at home and bills to pay.
Instead I took a radically different path after graduation in my search for participating in the music scene. I had already made a place for myself in the karaoke scene singing for quite a few years prior to starting school. I had made friends with one of the owners of a karaoke company who often ran his own shows. He had visited my home and did a few personal shows for me as well. I knew how the equipment worked, I understood the personality part of the show and singing was just a great perk for me. So I took a very natural path when I started to work for him doing some karaoke gigs around the outskirts of the Twin Cities area. I became a karaoke DJ or in karaoke lingo, a KJ. After a while I did some side gigs such as weddings and parties with my own business called ‘Silhouettes On Stage’.
I had a blast to say the least. I loved interacting with the patrons, I loved being surrounded with the music, I enjoyed the singing, the atmosphere and the energy. What I didn’t like was the hauling of the equipment, setting it up and tearing it down at the end of the night. The hours were also rough but dealing with the equipment, that was the catalyst for me eventually calling it quits. It was the only part I dreaded when it came to doing a show.
My KJ career lasted from the beginning of 1999 to the middle of 2002 when I moved to Oregon with Kat. I still miss it.
In the karaoke world today the equipment is lighter, the process is smoother and the music is still awesome. I don’t get out to experience the fun of karaoke very often anymore though. When I do, you can bet I will be putting in a card to sing some of my favorites. Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll’, Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”, Reba McEntire’s “Fancy”, Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” or one of the first songs I ever sang in public, Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”.
This all brings up so many memories, the incredibly fun times I have had, and the awesome people I have met and enjoyed being with along the way due to this love of singing, dancing, and many facets of music.
Maybe, in another chapter of life, I will get back to that space where I can immerse myself in the feelings and energy of music again. In some form or fashion it will happen.