Many DJs think about their stage name right before their very first show, and that’s not exactly the way you want to go. Giving it some thought will have a tremendous impact on your career, mainly because it will stick with you longer than most fans and gear.
There are many ways you can go about picking your DJ (stage) name, and today we are going to help you with some cool little tips and tricks, so let’s get straight to it.
How to come up with a DJ name?
You can simply add ‘DJ’ to your own name, shuffle the letters of your actual name, invent something crazy and unique, craft a name after your childhood heroes; there are dozens of roads that can take you to find the perfect DJ name.
Going with your actual name
This is generally inadvisable. Not only do hundreds of aspiring young DJs choose this option (which makes stage names such as DJ Nicholas, for example, all too common), but it also takes away all of the mystique, which is a massive part in branding your career.
Let’s take Deadmau5 for example, he even disguised himself atop of going with a completely fake name, and this made him much more popular. Plain psychology states that people are more intrigued and drawn to something they do not fully understand.
However, if you still wish to go with your actual name, by all means, go for it. There aren’t many restrictions in terms of legal issues since you can’t really ‘brand’ common names, and you’ll probably have an easier going in the initial stages of your DJ career.
Made-up name & basic tips
The vast majority of DJs opt for going with a made-up (fake) name, that doesn’t necessarily have to do with their features, personality, musical preferences, or anything similar to that.
That’s what makes this option so great – there are limitless possibilities, and it’s up to you to decide which way you want to go.
One of the simplest, but least unique approaches is adding the name of something that is present in everyday life, like for instance DJ Cloud, DJ Breeze, DJ Red, and so on. Although this seems a bit blatant, it’s a sure-fire way of avoiding trademark and legal issues (again, no one can claim any right on the name of something in our environment).
List of TOP 100 DJ names to get ideas:
DJ Name Generator
Modifying existing names
If you’re short on any ideas whatsoever, you can pick a name that already exists and simple toy around with it. For example, edgy and cool names such as Axel or Zero are undoubtedly taken (regardless of their actual popularity), so you can simply pluck out a couple of letters and introduce new ones to them – for instance, Axel could become Xel, or Xela while Zero could become Rez, or Rezo.
Going with archaic languages
Languages such as Latin, Nordic, and generally those that aren’t as popular as English may sound cool, but they will definitely be hard to pronounce. That being said, if you know a bit of these archaic languages, you can take some of the coolest words and adapt them to your liking, make them your own.
DJ Ultima or The Vindicator, for example, might suit you perfectly if your playlists are darker and more aggressive.
Tips and things to consider before choosing a DJ name:
Catchiness and pronunciation
Your stage name needs to be catchy before anything else; the bulk of your marketing strategy early on will be ‘mouth to mouth’ approach, which means that people will tell their friends about your show, about planning to attend it, or how they’ve enjoyed the experience.
Now obviously, catchy means ‘familiar’, and the more your audience recognizes you, the more inclined they will be to come to one of your shows again.
If your DJ name is easy to say and simple to pronounce, your chances of it becoming memorable will sky-rocket (and vice versa, obviously). Names that are comprised of up to 6-7 letters are the best usually.
Picking a name that fits your personality, character, and general vibe
Every DJ has a different energy, and you’ll need a name that will fit your style. For instance, you might end up disappointing your audience if your stage name is edgy, gloomy, and even foreboding, such as DJ Hell’s Razor or DJ Annihilator if your playlist consists of mainly pop and R&B songs.
This goes into the other direction too; you’ll hardly attract any hard-core audience if your stage name is too mellow.
Branding (Techno DJ / Hip-Hop DJ )
One of the coolest things about the entire music industry, and this applies to both bands and solo artists too, is that quality often makes ‘anything’ sound cool. Some of the world-class DJs and bands have made their names larger than life simply because they actually perform great and better than anyone else.
The art of ‘branding’ involves numerous activities, events, possibilities, and things you probably won’t be able to affect, but ultimately, it involves ‘making’ your name big regardless of how bland it initially sounded like.
If you are a Techno DJ, your name should be somehow connected to the scene. The same if you brand yourself as a Hip-Hop, Funk, Disco, or Pop music DJ. Your choice of a name should be relative and similar to your style.
Being active on social media platforms, advertising your shows, hitting different states and countries, having a fresh, relevant mix of both modern songs and classic tunes will allow you to form an energetic entity that people will associate with the name you’ve picked for yourself.
That being said, people who don’t want to take the easier way and who can’t come up with a cool, original name will have much more work to do in the other fields. The good thing here is that you’ll be able to balance out the mistakes from one field with successes from the other.
One-time DJs, Party DJs, and non-professional DJ names
Not every DJ aspires to become a world-class entertainer and performer; there are people who like mixing music simply for the sake of doing it; there are DJs who simply want to make a quick buck from a house party or a school event, and there are non-professionals who occasionally perform at local clubs for their closest friends. In this case, you don’t need to bang your head too hard about picking an appropriate name.
Even so, you’ll still want something that’s at least remotely memorable and fairly simple to pronounce. House DJs, Party DJs, and non-professionals still might end up on a bigger stage someday, so it won’t hurt to have a big name, to begin with.
Wedding DJs & picking a wedding DJ name
Many people are wondering how much is a DJ for a wedding and how much does a DJ cost in general; the answer is pretty simple – it varies from event to event, from country to country, and from DJ to DJ.
Some DJs make up different ‘stage’ names and names for one-off events, such as weddings, celebrations, parties, and such. The logic behind this is pretty simple – if you want to make it big, you don’t really want to tarnish your reputation by being recognized as an entertainer; you are a performer, and building your image might involve separating several characters.
If you have any kind of leverage, you should try to pump up the price as much as possible while avoiding the ‘free drink’ passes; a wedding is a time of joy and celebration, so even if your initial deal doesn’t involve a lot of cash, you’ll still be able to earn a hefty sum of cash.
So, if you are wondering how much to tip the wedding DJ, it’s really up to you. Your DJ name might or might not influence the outcome, but ultimately the fact remains that wedding DJs are getting massive amounts of cash via tips, so this is a pretty safe way to make a living while honing your craft.
DJMag TOP 100 DJs of 2019:
Frequently asked questions
- How much does a wedding DJ cost?
It varies depending on how large the wedding is, how popular you are, how long you are going to perform, and numerous other factors. It can be anything from below $100 to well above a couple of thousands of dollars.
- How important is a DJ’s name?
DJ’s name affects numerous aspects of the DJ’s career. If it’s memorable, you will climb up the ladder faster, and if it’s something unique and relatable, you’ll gain popularity and fans faster.
- How can I check if the name I want is taken?
Running engine queries is usually the best way to go. However, simple Google queries usually won’t show up names of lesser-known DJs, so you should also try name-finding utilities, social network searches, look up trademark databases, and such.
- Is it good or bad to have the ‘DJ’ prefix in the stage name?
While most professionals agree that the DJ prefix is something you’ll want to drop at the later stages of your career, keeping it will ensure that people know what you are offering. This will also separate you from other types of musicians, bands, and entertainers, although it will also lump you in with beginners and ‘party’ DJs too.
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