What a year 2021 has been for me with sports! Between playing for the SuperBowl in February and now playing for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Finals, 2021 has blessed me with some truly BUCKET LIST DJ experiences. As I find myself sharing with friends and family who ask me what it’s been like to be involved in these events, I find myself thinking about the lessons I learned from working some of the most amazing events in the world this season. So for your reviewing pleasure, I present you with 4 things I learned from playing for the Stanley Cup Finals in 2021.
- Teamwork really does make the dream work – One of the absolute highlights of playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning this season has been the opportunity to work with John Franzone and the Tampa Bay Lightning production team. Every single game and watch party is an ENTIRE production. And our Tampa Bay Lightning Production team is truly one of the best in the business from the cohesive way they work together to the level of professionalism that each team member brings to the table. When I walked into the Amalie Arena this season for the return of the watch parties, I was greeted with a production headset that connected me live to the John Franzone , the VP of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the show director as well as his production team. For soundtrack, this team consists of DJ Bolt (In Game DJ), the fabulous Krystof, their rockstar organist, and myself, the pre-game and in game mix DJ. Since we are working off of Live TV, the show director or show producer would call cues into the headset. And it constantly changed. I had to be 1000% present, 1000% engaged, and 1000% ready to shift of a second’s notice. Sometimes they’d call for me to setup to play the break, and then suddenly we’d get an Icing and DJ Bolt would need to take over with sounds that coordinated with the produced videos that were pushed to the screen. Sometimes I’d be cued up to play the break, but we wouldn’t go to break because of a play or the station or whatever and suddenly Krystof would be called to play. We all had to truly set EGO aside and just be ready to do what was necessary for the production. It’s not at all about being the star of the show at these games, even though I’m the face on the jumbo tron. Instead, it’s about playing your part as needed to add to the value of the production. TRUE team work was absolutely required between every member of the production team to pull of each game.
- To get to the top and to stay there, you MUST be flexible – Just like the teamwork that I described above, these shows required absolute flexibility to make everything come together. There were times that I was scheduled to play, and then the agency would put someone else in because it made more sense with scheduling. For the Players Party after the win on 7/07/21, I was not supposed to play at all that day. I got my call to be on “standby” at 2p the day of the game. And as I loaded in, there was still a chance that I wouldn’t play at all that night. It was the same thing for the Superbowl. I got my call to play the On the Fifty party with a little more than 24 hours of notice. For the Pre-Game experience, I didn’t get confirmation for the gig or the details until about a day before. With large sports gigs and especially things that are broadcasted, this is seeming to be the case. You have to be flexible and ready to turn it on with very short notice. You hear people in the industry talk about the need to “always be ready” all the time. The higher up the ladder you go as far as prestigious events, the more true this seems to be.
- Your network will have a direct impact on your level of access. – This one is HUGE and applies to all industries. Hold on to your pants because I’m dropping bombs here. What I took away from my experience on 7/07 playing for the Players Party (that lead to be hoisting up and drinking from the Stanley Cup on home ice) was that the people you know will have a direct impact on what rooms you have access to. I didn’t just show up and play my gigs. I tried to be friendly with and kind to the entire team. I took time to make friends with the production staff and crew. It was making friends with the crew enabled me to gain access to the Stanley Cup. If I hadn’t made friends with the production team, I would have played my gig and gone home. Instead, as I was finishing my set, the production crew came running in and pulled me into the locker room. I would have never been able to just walk in there on my own. It was my network that allowed that to happen.
- Finally, Being friendly and easy to work with goes further than you think. – Score one for the nice girls! Being kind and easy to work with as well as making friends with the staff and crew in the food lines, on the headset, and in general when working, is what ultimately gave me access to the locker room where we all made our way to home ice and I got to hoist up and drink from the Stanley Cup. It wasn’t by chasing clout. It wasn’t by being a diva. It wasn’t even by being the dopest DJ. It was by being kind to the people I worked with. I think a lot of people go chasing after the wrong things when trying to climb up to the top of the heap. Some people think that pushing others down is most direct way to the top. Others think that flaunting and stunting and bragging or showing off are the way to go. Others think if they chase clout (sucking up to prestigious people) it will get them to the top. I’ve done some really incredible things and had some really incredible access in the last nine years of my DJ career. My secret to success has always been to be as friendly and easy to work with as possible. Also, in an interview I just did with the Iconic R&B Legends, Ruff Endz, David and Dante stressed the importance of being kind by noting that people who were working at the record company as interns when they were just getting started in the 90s were mostly the same people running the game now in the early 2020s. People will always remember how you treated them. And If they’d been anything but kind to those interns and lower level positions then, likely they wouldn’t have the support of the people sitting at the top today. So before you start focusing on trying to impress others with clothes or by bragging about your accolades, remember that years from now, it’s the memory of the way you acted with and treated them that will still remain.
It’s crazy when I stop and think about the way things have run for me this year. From just a music lover who got into Djing for something to do between doctor appointments after a traumatic crash in 2013 (check out my Interview with Daytime about how I got started and Playing the SuperBowl here) to a girl who’s played for the WNBA(Seattle Players Victory Party), The Stanley Cup Finals and TB Lightning Players Victory Party, and SueprBowl 55.
I want to reiterate again that I’m not special. I’m just a girl who is following my passion, sharing my gift with the world, and doing it always with compassion, kindness, and a desire to serve my client to the best of my ability. Those things are my secret sauce. So, based on my experience, I want to encourage you to do that thing that’s on your heart to do. I want to encourage you to do it with kindness and from a place of service. And I believe that if you do you can reach successes that take you to incredible heights too. I believe in you.