Before you can get out there and start playing real gigs, you need to decide on your DJ name. Granted, your DJ skills are important, but choosing the name shouldn’t be taken lightly either. It’s part of your branding, and good branding can go a long way in helping you get noticed and differentiating yourself from other DJs.
So here are a few ideas on choosing your DJ name.
Your real name. This one is a no-brainer, and in fact over 40% DJs in a recent DJ Mag Top 100 list perform under their real name. If your name is as cool as Armin van Buuren’s, or at least it’s an OK one, you might as well save yourself some mental anguish and go real.
A variation of your name. If your real name isn’t cool enough, try altering it a bit. Change your first name, or use a different last name. Or try replacing your first name with initials.
The Häagen-Dazs move. Häagen-Dazs is a brand of American ice cream that built a classiness clout around itself by using a fancy Danish-sounding name (that actually means nothing at all). A foreign name can help you differentiate yourself as a DJ, too.
Use your nickname. If your friends call you by a nickname, could the right DJ name have been staring you in the face all this time? In fact, I initially called myself DJ Jamix because Jamix was my nickname at school. And that name later evolved into a shorter “JM”.
Now that you have a few ideas for your DJ name brewing, here are some bonus tips.
Make it memorable and easy to pronounce. That won’t necessarily be the case with a foreign-sounding name, but you generally want your DJ name to be easy to pronounce, memorize and spell.
Explore the branding possibilities. Is the .com domain taken? What about a Facebook page URL? Twitter handle? Are there any other DJs using that name? A “yes” to any of those questions shouldn’t necessarily stop you from going with the name you like, but you have to be aware of how your name is currently used.
To wrap it up, your DJ name is important, but don’t spend weeks choosing the perfect one. And you can always use your real name!
What’s your DJ name, and how did you come up with it? Share your story in the comments below.
JM has played open-air gigs, shared the stage with the likes of ATB and had mix albums released commercially. He has been teaching DJing since 2008.
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