My COVID-19 Experience
Content Creation, Organization, and Live Virtual Events
Life has been weird these last couple of months. During the time that should be one of the busiest wedding seasons of the year, I have been a part of zero weddings or private events. Having no events means no income. BUT, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing anything…
One of the downsides of owning and running your own business is the unplanned day-to-day tasks that change your plans. Plus, if events are on the calendar, you have to prepare for each event.
This busy-ness creates excellent excuses to push less attractive tasks until later because you’re still being productive. If you’ve been following me on social media, or on this blog, you probably have a decent idea of what I’ve been up to. But, let me pull back the curtain and show you what I’ve been up to during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Obvious Stuff
I’m pretty proud that I have been able to write 21(!) wedding-related blogs this year! But, I have since doubled down and also added five Weekly COVID-19 Updates. (Here’s the most recent one) Even though I have over five years of experience with weddings, I didn’t realize how much I’ve actually learned about weddings within that time frame.
One of the great things about writing them regularly is it has really helped me organize my thoughts when discussing wedding-related topics in conversations I’ve had with potential wedding clients or while recording the podcast.
Speaking of the Podcast…
Four New Podcast Episodes
Admittedly, one of the reasons I’ve been able to create blog content every week has been because I’ve continued to record podcast episodes. Special thanks to Madison Smiedendorf from The Pearl and Donavan and Kasey Perry from the Coastal Coffee Bar Company for being excited to be a part of the podcast. Madison’s blogs were Eloping to 30A? and Coping With Coronavirus. In Donavan and Kasey’s blog, we gave reasons for why you should add a coffee bar to your wedding reception. Avis Glenister from Peach & Pearl Events will be on next week’s blog talking about how decided on level coordination as well as making wedding budget decisions next week!
What I’ve appreciated about recording the podcast is the setup is stay-at-home friendly. I can record either in person or over the phone, so it’s been super convenient to have those conversations during times both our schedules aligned. I know I’ve been teasing the release of the podcast for a while now, but I WILL release my FIRST podcast no later than early next week. Including the three I recorded before COVID-19 came into being, I have seven total! I also have a pretty kick ass intro and outro. Both were recorded by Tony Tee Neto at Drophouse.
The Not-Very-Fun-But-Much-Needed Stuff
Most DJs probably cringed or twitched when they read this. Reorganizing your music is time-consuming and frustrating because sometimes, even when you think you’ve done everything right, iTunes or Apple Music or your DJ software can’t find where the audio files are. I’ve needed to do it for a while but because of busy-ness of life, I tabled it for later. Oh, and I have almost 80,000 songs…
While the disarray of my songs and their folders kind of bugged me, it wasn’t to the point where I felt compelled to fix it. As stay-at-home began to like it was going to be here for a while, I took the opportunity to get my music library in shape.
If you’ve ever listened to songs from different time periods, you’ll notice a HUGE difference in the sound quality. The reason for that is, as time has progressed, mixing techniques and technologies have changed. If you play a Frank Sinatra song followed by Dua Lipa’s latest hit, Don’t Start Now will sound considerably louder and fuller than Luck Be A Lady. As a DJ, that’s a problem. You don’t want to have noticeably different levels when you play different songs from different eras. It’s a distraction to the listener. Even if they don’t know what it is, you run the risk of taking away from the listener’s experience.
DJ software is supposed to be able to correct for this but with some tracks you just have to make adjustments to the levels to make it sound right. Since I was going to be reorganizing my library anyway, I decided to remaster my music as well with Platinum Notes.
The downside to running tracks through Platinum Notes is it’s unable to change the original track but it has to create a new one instead. Yep. I’ll have to go through all of my tracks and hot cues and loops again, but that’s ok. This will force me to reacquaint myself with my music library and everything will be organized and good to go from here on out.
Adding New Music
As a DJ, new music is constant. But I got the pleasure of ripping CDs I hadn’t looked at in years. I was also able to pull from Rhoda’s catalog of CDs. The variety of music was truly eclectic. The selection included Notorious BIG, Bush, Smashing Pumpkins, Dashboard Confessional, Metallica, Avril Lavigne, Michelle Branch, and Johnny Mathis.
As a wedding and private event DJ, it’s always beneficial to have a wide variety of music to pull from because you never know the styles that will be appropriate for events you haven’t been a part of, yet. Plus, it’s just really cool to have an eclectic mix to listen to. As I write this, I’m listening to Kanye West’s Graduation. Music discovery is one of my favorite parts of being a DJ: either being reminded of old favorites or meeting new music for the first time.
Still DJing Events…. Virtually
Up until this week, I had been DJing for Uplifters’ live-streamed bootcamp workouts on Mondays and Fridays. It didn’t make much sense for me to continue being a part of it since Governor DeSantis has made it possible for gyms to start meeting. Shout out to Jersey and Derek for allowing me to provide my expertise! I got to discover new music suited for a high-intensity bootcamp workout environment. Those songs then made an appearance on the weekly HIIT Mixes I posted to Spotify (Here’s my latest one). Plus, having something regular on the schedule helped me keep me sane.
Date Night with DJ Josh
In addition to DJing Monday and Friday mornings, I wanted to create something unique for people that fit my skill set. There are plenty of DJs providing that club type of environment, and I did DJ a few sets like that. What struck me as missing was something that encouraged couples to slow down and enjoy their time together. Even if they couldn’t go out to eat, they could still have that date night atmosphere at home or even share a date night remotely via Zoom!
That’s why I started doing Date Night with DJ Josh on Thursdays from 5-8 CST. That way you get good tunes to go along with great food and conversation. You can find it at my twitch channel. More regular events and broadcasts are to come but Date Night with DJ Josh was something that I wanted to get started ASAP. Feel free to share this event with others, too! Oh, and if you have any requests, I’d be happy to incorporate them. Email them to me with the subject “Date Night Request!” Make sure to include your names and the time you’re planning on tuning in, and I will get them in for you :). You can also text them to 850.665.0055.
Zoom Baby Shower
In response to COVID-19, more and more events are being held remotely. That includes events that we typically expect to have in person. Lana & Tim’s Baby Shower was a perfect example of this but it couldn’t have been a better way to gather their families together. Tim’s family is spread out between Florida and New York. Lana’s family lives in the Philippines.
The soundtrack for the event 90s to today’s R&B. Accordingly, the vibe had a backyard cookout feel to it. Everyone in attendance was catching up with each other. Krystal, Tim’s sister and organizer of the baby shower, originally wasn’t sure how everyone would react to being on a Zoom call. But though it may have been new to some, the technology, didn’t prove to be a hindrance to that basic need of human connection.
Still Booking In-Person Weddings and Private Events
If you have an upcoming Zoom event, I’d love to chat with you to see how we can collaborate. Let’s make it an overwhelming success and something for everyone attending to remember in the future. With that being said, wedding and private events continue to be the main focus for my business as we progress closer to what was normal at the beginning of 2020. If you have any events that a live DJ would be a great fit, I’d love to consult with you to see how I can make your event a highlight for you and your guests!
Reach out to me at this email address whether you’re planning a virtual or in-person event!
And That’s About It!
I haven’t hit all of my goals for what I wanted to do during this shutdown. Two of my goals that I didn’t achieve were to get comfortable with scratching as well as regularly release mixes. But, that’s ok, though. I’m happy with what I’ve been working on in the meantime! My DJ software, Rekordbox still has a little over 22,000 songs to process. I will definitely be set up for success moving forward with a solid workflow to ensure I keep my library organized.
Have there been any projects that you’ve tackled for work that this shutdown has afforded you the time for? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!