As a special event DJ I get lots of song requests. Most of the time party guests are courteous and well mannered. Then there are those who aren't. Often the more obnoxious "requesters" break down into one of several categories.
Here are seven of the most prominent types:
This person has taken it upon themselves to become the self appointed musical gatekeeper for the entire group of partygoers. Representatives love to make blanket statements like, "Play _________, EVERYBODY here LOVES that song and will dance to it!" Then they expect you to nod your head in agreement, bow to their authority, thank them for such valuable, well researched information and play their request post haste.
I usually refrain from acting on my first impulse which would be to ask them, "Really? Everybody? Did you take a survey of all 200 guests or are you a mind reader?"
Conversely, the Representative will not hesitate to tell you how much "EVERYBODY" hates the song you're currently playing, even though the dance floor is at full capacity!
The Representative is usually only out for themselves and has no real allegiance to the musical welfare of the group. In reality, they think that THEIR requests should take precedence over anybody else's and they are not above distortion and outright lying to get their way. Oh and since you probably don't know how to do your job they are here to tell you.
This approach does nothing to move their requests up the song ladder.
Favorite Music: Whatever you're not currently playing.
The Insider tries to sway you with their lofty connections to the host or guest of honor. "My cousin is the bride and she wants to hear ________".
Even though you previously had lengthy conversations with your party hosts concerning their music preferences and have a written song list from them, The Insider is here to tell you what they REALLY want to hear.
Like The Representative, The Insider cares only about what they want and could care less about anyone else. Just ask the five people they cut off (including the limo) on their way to the reception! What The Insider doesn't realize is that their attempt at manipulation is obvious and transparent. An experienced DJ knows what they are up to as soon as they make their initial approach.
The Insider tends to be college age, have at least one tattoo and suffers from childhood neglect. It would be much easier for everyone if The Insider would just ask for what they want instead of trying to be a name dropping, self important wannabe. Their attitude often results in their requests ending up at the bottom of the list.
Favorite Music: The trendy song they just heard on the radio today and want desperately to hear again right now.
The Charmer usually gets what they want by being the opposite of the others on this list. They are sweet, polite and can be flirtatious. They love to make you feel important and express their appreciation ahead of time for playing their request. This is the kind of "manipulation" we like.
Most DJs are so appreciative of being treated so nicely, they make a special effort to play The Charmer's request ASAP, if not next. You had us at "Hello"!
Favorite Music: Usually something danceable that you were going to play anyway.
This could be a member of either sex that approaches you for a reason, they just don't know what it is. They are fond of making vague inquiries like, "Do you know the song that goes, 'doo, doo doo, doo'?" Um yeah. THAT song.
The Airhead frequently confuses song titles and artists, putting the DJs brain into overdrive as he tries to decipher their obtuse verbal clues. They confuse Springsteen with Santana, The Stones with AC/DC and love to take a comparatively meaningless phrase from a song and assume that must be the title.
Or they may make up a title, the words of which are not even found in the song they want. For example: "Do you have 'My Baby's Got A Big Butt' by Rick James?" When you reply, "You mean, 'Baby Got Back' by Sir Mixalot?" they stand there and stare at you like you're stupid.
Many a DJ has fallen prey to the Airhead's brand of insidious confusion. They lose track of time while trying to comprehend what the Airhead is trying to convey. Then they suddenly notice the few remaining seconds of the song they are currently playing are ticking away. The panic filled DJ then has to scramble to find another song quick before the sound of silence fills the room!
Favorite Music: You know, the one that goes...
This guest came to party and even though the invitation said 7 pm, they began "prepping" for the event just before noon. Although the main course has just been served to the strains of some delightful dinner music, their buzz is peaking and they want to RAWK right now!
The Inebriator can immediately be recognized by their lack of personal boundary space. They get inches away from your face and "close talk" you in a way that's both annoying and unsettling.
Once their request is made they often hover just a few feet away, watching over your shoulder and waiting for you to play it. No matter how long your list of requests from other guests, the Inebriator expects to hear their song immediately. If it's not the NEXT song, they will be back up in your face repeating their slurred request as if they hadn't just done so 3 minutes ago.
Your only consolation is that, at this rate, the Inebriator should be incoherent soon and probably won't be bothering anyone for the next couple of days.
Favorite Music: "Shout" or anything you can "PARTAY" to.
The Prima Donna-
This person made an unusual request and you took a chance by giving it a spin. On any given night their song would have flopped but, for some strange reason, this time it got a great response from the crowd.
The Prima Donna, having demonstrated their ability to channel knowledge directly from the musical gods, now feels they can do no wrong. They expect you to indulge their every musical whim no matter how avant-garde or experimental. And even though you would love to play their request of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division, you realize that this is more a "We Are Family" kind of group.
Only after you acquiesce, play their song and watch your dance floor clear does the Prima Donna realize that being a music programmer ain't always easy. They typically hide in a corner for the rest of the night and don't bother you again.
Favorite Music: Alternative, Indie and other stuff nobody else has ever heard.
This person has nothing positive to add but mainly wants to tell you how everything you're doing is wrong. THEY don't like anything you've played so far, no matter how big the variety was and they figure everybody else feels the same way. They have no input on how to do it better or suggestions for specific songs.
The Whiner suffers from low self esteem and wants to share their "gift" by pulling you into their web of despair and making you feel the same way. They often hold unrewarding government jobs with no chance of advancement. When the party is over they go home and kick their dog.
Favorite Music: They don't even like music but prefer a good crossword puzzle.
DJ Craig is a party and wedding dj
in southern California.