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Conversations with David Pickett

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Pickett.

David, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I’ve always had a passion for playing music. It all started back in 8th grade when I was a bedroom DJ. I received a Mr. Microphone for Christmas and played my 45s so I could hear myself on the radio. While getting my college degree in broadcasting, I DJ a local hit radio station. I learned that proper microphone technique, working under deadlines, and being flexible was just as important as playing the right song.

After graduation, a college roommate asked me to DJ his wedding. Then another asked… and another! After doing a few more weddings for friends, I found I had a talent for reading crowds and saw weddings as more than just a gig, hobby, or paycheck. It was fun to turn weddings into parties!

Soon, more people were asking me to play for their events, so it became my part-time job for over ten years. It didn’t take long before I wanted to do more to help brides create fun, amazing receptions so, I started polishing my interaction and mixing talents. In 2009, I took my business full-time so I could fully focus on customer service. After hundreds of successful events, I still love learning new skills and playing music for my friends.

While I was born and raised in New Orleans, I’ve called East Memphis my home for the past 20 years with my wife, two girls, and two very spoiled cats! I look back on my middle school days and smile – knowing that now I am living the dream!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Jeff Bezos said, “An overnight success takes about ten years.” The road to success for me has been smooth – but definitely not LEVEL! There have been a lot of ups and downs in the 25 years I’ve been DJ’ing events. Moving from part-time to full-time was a big leap of faith – as was creating (and sticking to) a pricing structure that could support my family.

I used to fall into the trap of investing only in my equipment. Over time, I realized that investing in myself (attending conferences, networking, learning new DJ-related things) gave me greater momentum towards success. I began reviewing myself (and asked for my client’s candid feedback) after my events. I strive to improve each performance 1% better by changing the little things. For example, when I was part-time, I used to sit at my table while DJing events.

Now I stand. That 1% improvement (along with many others) gets me closer to success because guests and families have noticed “the little things” and told their friends, who told their friends. Making friends within my industry was also a challenge. The DJ world has various collections of full-time and part-timers. Some have many DJs working under them. DJs are constantly told how great they are – so naturally, they have a positive sense of themselves and their talents.

Once I checked my ego at the door, I developed a more helpful attitude. I like sharing new things I’ve learned and once I found a tribe of local DJs that felt the way I do, it’s helped create a rising tide that lifts all boats – and created a network of referrals between us.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
When I play music as a professional wedding DJ, there is a point in the reception where the music swells and the energy builds. Suddenly, everyone is on the dance floor, or there is the tender, intimate moment where the bride and groom have their first of a lifetime of dances together. A thousand moments in between make a special, indelible memory for guests and family.

That is what I play music for – to make a difference. To make a shared heartfelt or joyful moment that will be remembered long after the evening ends and guests get a chance to get off their sore dancing feet. It’s unbeatable and the perfect natural “high” I love it and my clients do, too!

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk-taking?
“Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” – Former President Jimmy Carter

Risk and reward go hand-in-hand. It’s okay to jump out of the airplane – but pack a parachute before you do. Studying the potential outcomes is important – but not to the point where it creates “decision paralysis,” or the inability to proceed. Make a plan and execute it! ALL of this is just platitudes until you venture out and do it.

My biggest risk was steadily raising my rates in a market where $400 was considered professional and acceptable. My rates are over triple that now – because I took the chance on believing in myself and in the experience that my clients say I bring to their events.

Pricing:

  • Wedding package pricing begins at $1299

Contact Info:

  • Email: david@dnamemphis.com
  • Website: www.dnamemphis.com
  • Instagram: dna_memphis
  • Facebook: dnamemphis

Image Credits
Kevin Barre, Amy Hutchinson, and Ashley Benham

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