Every now and then we will be featuring EXCEPTIONAL African wedding vendors. Wedding vendors have some of the most amazing jobs on Earth because it is there job to ENSURE that the bride and groom's vision becomes a reality. They are here to make sure your special day goes on without a hitch, with as little stress as possible on the bride and groom. So because of the weight that sits on the shoulders of wedding vendors, it is absolutely CRUCIAL that you do in-depth research before choosing who will be a part of your "dream team". So I am here to give you a little bit of help in your research by featuring vendors that are at the top of their game and do AH!Mazing work! We will feature makeup artists, wedding planners, florists, photographers, videographers, DJs, jewelers, stationary designers, and much, much more! We will peel the layers back to find out what makes them successful and more importantly what motivates them to do what they are doing, what is behind their passion. So stay tuned!
TODAY we will be featuring Mr. Lanre Jacobs aka LAnidas (pronounced like elaynidis) aka DJ Universe; one of the hottest and most diverse DJs out right now who loves playing at weddings! We had the opportunity to sit with him and ask him some questions about what makes him tick and what makes him one of the most sought after wedding DJs.
BCG: Hello Mr. Jacobs thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to sit and talk
LA: Absolutely! Call me LA or DJ Universe.
BCG: So let's jump right into it! A wedding DJ is one of the most important pieces to a successful wedding reception because he/she helps to set the entire tone of the event. How long have you been a DJ and what made you want to get into it?
LA: I've been a professional DJ for a little less than a year, however I've been making my own mix tapes and mix tapes for others since I fell in love with music. DJ'ing became an
evolution from making my mix tapes and sharing it at parties with friends. DJ'ing just became the natural step.
BCG: What do you love about DJ'ing at weddings?
LA: Well, I love to see the bride and groom happy! The day is so surreal and the day goes
through so many different elements from the dress, church, the bride, the parents,
the reception. It is such an aesthetically beautiful day and the celebration of music is the best way way to wind down; celebration of beautiful music. Music is the rhythm that fuses
the entire day together. The element of music is also very symbolic in a wedding which
is why you have the first dance, the father-daughter dance, the mother-son dance etc. Music brings everybody together to celebrate the joining of two souls on a day that is filled
with so many other things, the music sort of ties all the loose ends and brings things to a
joyous close. I enjoy making people feel the pleasure and the joy of music on that day. I also enjoy seeing people happy and enlightened; full of happiness through the music on that day.
BCG: What kind of song/music motivates you?
LA: It is a whole genre of songs. Anywhere from simple R & B songs, to inspirational pop songs, to electro and classical songs. I also enjoy all types of music. One day I'm listening to Beethoven then I'm listening to Jay-Z. As a DJ I have to be able to listen to everyone's music, I even listen to Chinese music. I have to be able to package that and share it with others and be able to get them to enjoy it. My universe of music is so broad, it's all over the place.
BCG: What is your favorite song to play for a couple's first dance?
LA: It depends, normally the bride and groom request the song. The first dance is such a unique request because the bride and groom spend so much time with the aesthetics and the event designer that they typically spend very little time with the DJ. So when they do, they typically want to focus on the most important songs which include their first dance song.
Besides different couples like different things and their choices could be dependent on a lot of factors including age, culture, religion etc. A Muslim couple and a Christian couple may want to dance to very different songs for their first dance. An American couple may want something quite differeent from a Brazilian couple. In the same vein a younger couple may have very different requests from an older couple.
Another example, my wife's friend was dating someone for 7 years. They have a 4 yr old son and recently got engaged. I'm not sure why it took them so long, however she made the announcement on FB. So you know she will be VERY ready to celebrate the day that they’ve been waiting for, for so long! The song that they may want to dance to may be like a Yinka Ayefele song because they could've very well thought that the day would never arrive. Or they may even want a live band there.
The first dance is a very personal choice and should say something about the couple so I like to give them the chance to make their own selections. It also helps me learn more about the couple and adds an extra texture to the entire event.
BCG: You made mention of a live band? That is really big for Nigerian families. Do you
think it's good to have both or one or the other; a DJ and a live band?
LA: I think live bands are a great way to incorporate melody into a wedding. I think they
definitely have a place in the wedding if the bride and groom are able to afford it as well as if there is room for that in the wedding reception atmosphere. I think there has
always been a massive battle between the live band and the DJ because many people are
not aware of how to seamlessly incorporate the two, however if the DJ and band work well together, it should be a perfect marriage of sounds and music.
BCG: What type of things do you do to stay on top of your game and make sure you
always bring your best to each event?
LA: Well what I do is I hang out with other DJs. I have a lot of DJ friends outside of the Nigerian circle, primarily Caucasian and Asian, that I sit down with and discuss music and the power of music. Some of them play on boat cruises and they strictly play reggae, some play Japanese hip-hop, all kinds of different music. I think that helps me stay fresh, live, and ahead of the competition.
I also don’t categorize myself as just a "Nigerian DJ", I take pride in being able to play
ANY type of event, matter of fact I just played for a run way show for Fashion Week . In addition to that, I believe my passion as a lover of music comes through when I DJ and that sets me apart.
BCG: What is the best experience you've ever had DJ'ing a wedding? What made it so
LA: Well, I enjoy simple things. I'm a simple guy. I just enjoy making people dance.
When people are dancing they are at their highest moment. Have you ever seen anyone
angry or sad while dancing?
BCG: Actually no I haven’t.
LA: Exactly! It is indeed infectious. When I pick up a song and everyone
starts going crazy and happy, I am truly satisfied. As a DJ, my audience getting up and
dancing is all the thank you I need. Having the bride and groom approach me to tell
me how much of a wonderful time they had is the best feeling.
BCG: What is the worst wedding DJ experience you've ever had? Why was it the worse?
How could it have been avoided?
LA: I haven’t had a worst wedding yet! And I thank God! I think that is due to God making
sure I'm also very prepared at all times. But I will tell you what a DJs worst nightmare
is: It is getting to the event location and your equipment doesn't work; laptop, speakers, NOTHING. Or getting lost and not showing up for the event. Your equipment failing, not showing up on their wedding day, the biggest event of their lives is almost unforgiveable.
There is so much joy and happiness pent up that day and people just want to dance it out! From buying the rings, the wedding dress, exchanging vows and all the pent up joy that is involved in the wedding process, the BEST way to let it all out is through dance and to think they would not be afforded that opportunity again is UNTHINKABLE. You definitely don't want to be the cause of ruining someone's wedding, what is supposed to be the happiest day of their life. It can also ruin your professional reputation because all professionals know word of mouth is the best marketing tool and bad news travels fastest.
BCG: What suggestions do you have for planning couples when looking for a DJ for their reception?
LA: I think Nigerian couples should understand that DJ'ing is an art and all DJ's are
talented at what they do, and as artists they need to be paid accordingly. It's not about
getting someone to scratch a wedding for you and just playing your first song. It's about
a DJ that wants to connect with the bride and groom, it's about a DJ that's diverse, a
DJ that wants to vibe with the crowd and ensures it is a great event.
It is not about finding the cheapest DJ , but if you want a good DJ that will play music that is moving and intellectually pleasing to your audience you should make sure that you look very, very closely to find a DJ that will do a good job. Talk to other couples, vendors, attend events and make notes about the music and the energy of the crowd.
It is all about building up the energy in that room and knowing the perfect song that will cause the crowd to erupt at the perfect moment. Music is so powerful that if you are in a bad mood and you play a good song the attitude will change instantly. If all your guests are sitting down mad and impatient that the couple is not there yet or things are running late, with the right DJ there the whole situation can change.
BCG: Is there anything else you want our readers to know about you?
LA: I'm a DJ Universe; a universal and performing DJ. I do not just spin records, for that's
the easy part. What I do is an art. I am talking about the music and performing with
the music to entertain the crowd, to get the guests excited about the couple and to celebrate them. I am very, very expressive and passionate about the art of DJ'ing and my goal is to someday DJ a wedding from the moment the bride steps out of the limo to the final dance. From the second guests enter the reception hall they will have a sound to accompany every moment of the evening. I want to plan a sound from beginning to end. I envision everything from electronic music to trumpets to violins, just DJ’ng and giving sound to every element of a wedding. I call it "The Perfect Electronic Sound Wedding”. I want to be the sound/music coordinator designer for the night. I want to be able to bring out all the BEAUTIFUL things of the day through music. I study music because I believe it's an essential component to human existence. I believe it is as essential as water and air. It's an element that people do not talk about. You have water, air, earth, wood, metal, fire and I believe the 7th element is music. You NEED music to survive. It is phenomenal in so many ways. It has transformational powers and it is a gift from heaven.
BCG: There is this group called the Portland Cello Project and they did a rendition of
Kanye West’s song "All of The Lights". When I hear them play that song with just cellos
and percussion it brings tears to my eyes because it is soo beautiful!
LA: Yes! What you described right there is what I'm talking about! As you are dealing
with the designer about the decor and ambience, we can talk about where you want
the sound to be, how you want the sound to be, what kind of emotions do you want
your guests to feel at certain moments. Why can't we have that feeling that you get from
this song all night? Why can’t we have this music pumping throughout the whole night?
There are so many songs out here that make people feel so good and evoke so much
emotion for very different reasons. I want people to know that you can incorporate that
into every part of their wedding.
BCG: Well thank you soo much for sitting and talking with me! I learned alot from this discussion. It gave me a whole new perspective on a "wedding DJ" and I hope our readers will also learn from this! How could our readers get in touch with you for bookings?
LA: They can always call me my number is 732-912-8149. This is my direct line. You can
call me and leave a message and we can talk. I also have a business manager that will check
my calendar to see if I'm available and all that. They can also email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I like to discuss with my potential clients first because I know couples like to talk to the DJ directly, before discussing details with my manager. I also give my clients refundable guarantees; in my contract if for some reason I can’t show up I will give you 2 weeks’ notice, all your money back + 5% of your payment on top of that out of my own pocket for wasting your time.
Pin It Now!
My website is http://www.djuniverselanidas.com/ and I put up at least one mix tape every week for people to check out. Everything from electronic music to Nigerian music and experimental music as well.
And I am doing a special "BCG"mix giveaway for your readers!!
BCG: OH WOW! That is a great idea! I'm sure they will love that! Thanks so much!
LA: Not a problem at all!
There you have it ladies and gents! Talking to DJ Universe really changed my perspective on the major part that music plays in weddings! I hope you all take something from this as well! Two of the most important parts for music during a wedding are the FIRST dance and FATHER-DAUGHTER dance! DJ Universe has FIVE mixtapes he wants to giveaway to our readers! If you all could post as MANY first dance songs and as MANY father-daughter songs you can think of, you will be the winners of these exclusive mixtapes!!
Stay Beautiful My Loves,