Image by Jeannine Pohl, Jeannien Marie Photography
you’re listening to Wedding and Event Insider this is Paul
my favorite reaction especially when I see it from a lot of the ladies, because they control the dancefloor believe it or not, is that when you play a song and they just go “ooooh!” or they put their hands up and say “that’s my song!” and they grab their friend and go on the dance floor. To me that is just like magic. That’s when you know you have the crowd where you want them and then you can just you know take him on a trip.
Our guest today is one of the top DJs in the Twin Cities wedding & event industry. He has been featured in The Knot magazine, has over 20 years experience in the industry, and his love of music dates back to watch his own dad flip eight tracks in their family car while driving around Brooklyn in New York. Listen in as DJ Greg Ellis shares about his life and some tips on business networking.
I’m originally from Brooklyn New York. I was born in New York I also live in Long Island and queens before I came here to Minnesota.
Why Minnesota? Not that Minnesota’s not great, it’s just it’s so cold here in the winters and stuff.
You know what? That’s the first thing I thought about when when the lady that I was with at the time brought up Minnesota. We were both working for the Home Depot at the time and they were expanding here to the Midwest area then and what happened was that a manager of hers saw her potential so he asked her to come here to Minnesota. So you know after me whining about the cold you know we came over we checked it out. We liked what we saw and in 1996 I was a Minnesotan.
We’re gonna come back to that just in a moment but I am curious for people that are listening to hear you share your elevator pitch real quick.
My name is DJ Greg from Neckwerk Entertainment I can make you and your guests dance any night all night and every night with DJ Greg is definitely a party.
I love that! I love that so much and I can actually speak to this because I have been in the room when you start DJing and the energy level like goes from zero to 100 within moments, it’s amazing.
Thank you for that Paul.
I met the love of my life 15 years ago, I call her miss Mel, I have a lot of cute names but I met Melanie 15 years ago at a Karaoke show that I was hosting in Maplewood.
So you’re DJ’ing and even brought love into your life?
I owe a lot to music.
I owe music a lot of things. It’s been the most phenomenal key element in my life.
So you met Mel, is it okay I can call her Mel?
So you met Mel 15 years ago and if I’m not mistaken your anniversary is coming up correct?
Absolutely this September we will be married for 10 years.
Oh I love it the big ten, congratulations!
Thank you man. You know I did not see that coming with this lady you know being together with her and it’s been magic.
So walk me through some of some of those early beginnings or or how or you know give me give me an idea of what that looked like.
Okay. Well, I have to start out with my dad because he was the actual first DJ per se. My dad listened to a lot of music anywhere from Beatles the Rolling Stones to Bob Marley
to Sam Cooke to Isaac Hayes and growing up with those different musical genres as a kid you know that was my first imprint of just music and then growing up around in New York at the time where dance music and hip hop was happening those elements were brought in I’ve also gotten together with other local DJs and in high school and it just grew on me but what happened was I was speaking to a very good friend of mine back in and I was just going through some things like you know wow what can I do you know I want to do something in my life you know what will it be and my friend looked at me he said “you know what Greg the only thing that I know that you do very well is buy music.”
I took offense to it at the time but I know years later it came to fruition he was telling me hey you should be a DJ.
So was that music on vinyl or what are we talking about?
Oh man yeah, all vinyl. We even had some 8 tracks. Man I remember that that a track of KC and the Sunshine Band and it would play in the car and then like Midway right through like shake shake shake your booty without shake shake shake then you hear click and over to the next track shake your butt. It worked.
I’m curious I have a question so you’re obviously great DJ are there any common myths or things about being a DJ that people think are true that just are not true?
Oh man absolutely the myth is that you know DJ’s we just stand up we pump our fists and we just play music but there’s a lot more to that because you have to be able to read the crowd and you have to know what people’s musical tastes are even if you’re entering the room for the first time and you know anybody can play music as we spoke earlier you know I can go in and I can play I’m made in you know I could crank out the Ozzy or night long but that but that may not be what the crowd is into and you know no disrespect I made in an Ozzy you know I mean they’re brilliant for what they bring to the table but as a DJ what you bring to the table is that you have to play the right reactions for people to get up start dancing.
My favourite reaction especially when I see it from a lot of the ladies, because they control the dancefloor believe it or not, is that when you play a song and they just go oh or they put their hands up and say That’s my song and they grab their friend and we go onto the dance floor to me that is just like magic. That’s when you know you have the crowd where you want them and then you can just you know take them on a trip
I’m assuming you work with Brides quite a bit before their event urg’d is it just intuitive for you?
Well I do work with the bride before the event because I don’t want to play a song that she doesn’t like even though it may be popular I had a bride come up to me that told me don’t play happy by Pharrell because I can’t stand that song and you know I’m thinking in my mind okay well maybe she doesn’t like the hat he wears in the video but no you know some songs that you know that you hear so much that you don’t want to hear you know and and I get that but I was very surprised to hear because happy is one of the most popular songs especially this time mm-hmm you know join this time so you you don’t you just never know what a bride may want to hear or what a bride may not want to hear you know everybody’s different but overall there is this term called wedding music that works pretty much across the board with with every crowd but there’s there’s different nuances and you know in indie setting so you have to be able to adapt to that
I do want to definitely ask you a couple of things too as far as like cuz I’ve again I first had experienced watching you like in a networking business environment and I just want to ask. So what is your approach to business networking?
My approach to networking is to get to know the other person first you know because I can come in a meeting and just lay down my own agenda then that’s not what it really is about you know when you’re networking you you know all business have a common goal and every business is a people business so I go into it as I’m meeting people and I’m exploring people what what they do professionally what their goals are you know the future of their business and then at that point I feel that we can share something we could go back and forth and then make that networking meeting the best one ever so I’m looking to to get to know people first before I lay out Who I am every business is a people business you know you may call it B to B or P to P whatever those terms mean right but but to me it’s all about people do you remember your first networking event here in the Twin Cities at all like what was it and what was it like oh yeah I believe I went to a caterers meeting and in that meeting I came with that same approach that I had mentioned but at the time I didn’t know anybody so of course you know you’re a little nervous but I just you know stuck to my approach and I said hi to to a few people and you know this slowly I begin to open up and then pour la bouche Paulla from Hope Glen Farms to be about 20 wedding event professionals and when I will into that meeting I’ve already knew Matt sherry was tonight so so so that kind of like eased up the you know the tensions that you have when you do go into these network meanings because it’s like oh well I know somebody so that just makes it a lot easier then and then he said reducing me to other people and then you know we compensate and that organization has been like really awesome you know and I recommend that organization to anybody and everybody and the wedding event professional business.
We just have a moment here is there anything that you like to say to people are let them know before we go? And please include your website where people can find you.
What I’d like for people to know is that is that if you want to have fun simply I’m the one but but you know what I really do enjoy working with people getting them on the dance floor that’s where my passion is and you can also find me on the DJ Greg Ellis comm more you can go to Facebook you can find just typing DJ Greg Ellis and and I’ll be right before your very eyes you know come on in have fun let’s communicate and when we hit the dance world it’s definitely a party.
I really appreciate you taking the time Greg to to join in and share with me and every all of our listeners and this has been a delight so I really appreciate you and your time.
Paul, I appreciate you also man. Thanks for having me on.
again that website for Greg Ellis is DJ Greg Ellis dot com Ellis is spelt e l l i s.
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Alright everyone we will see you at our next event