So… Craig has been asking me for months to write a little something about myself for the blog. At first I figured it would be no sweat, but as I started writing I realized that there is just so much to say. When you love something as much as I love being DJ, you can talk and write about it forever, so I’ll try to go easy on everyone and give you just a brief history about Richie Abrams, the MC, DJ, Event Coordinator & Entertainer.
I probably decided I wanted to try becoming a DJ at the age of thirteen. I’d been to many block parties, mitzvahs, and school dances by that age and had witnessed many ‘human jukeboxes,’ playing music and shouting out cheesy lines to the crowd. After each party, I would think to myself, “I could play better music than that,” and so it started. A few months later I had found a job at Cutting Edge Entertainment. I would start off as a DJ assistant (as my co-workers at Cutting Edge might call it a ‘grunt’) where my job was to carry and set up equipment, and then when the party was over to help break everything down. The job I thought was going to be a piece of cake was harder and much less fun than I originally expected. I was told that to become a DJ I needed to know all genres of music; not just the Top 40 stuff I listened to as a kid, but Motown, Disco, Classic Rock, and even Country. I kept asking myself “Country? Who listens to Country?” Within my first two years at Cutting Edge I studied music, mostly by listening to oldies radio stations and going through my parent’s vinyl records. I would spend time watching and observing the older more experienced DJs at Cutting Edge. Over time, I started to do less grunt work and more DJ work as I learned to put together dance sets for every genre of music. I also learned how to ‘read a crowd,’ which I still believe to this day is the most important skill a DJ should have. To ‘read a crowd’ means knowing what to play next to get the crowd dancing and involved, and once you have people out there dancing you need to continue ‘reading’ the guests of the party in order to keep them on the dance floor. Merely knowing songs isn’t enough. As time went on I began to master the art of beat mixing, which is perhaps the hardest to learn but best way to transition between songs seamlessly. I began to earn a lot of praise not only from my co-workers at Cutting Edge, but also guests I would meet at events I worked, and naturally my love for the job grew, which only made me want to work harder and get better… striving to be the best.
Throughout my college years I continued to DJ not only at parties for Cutting Edge (weddings, bar/bat mitzvas and corporate events), but also at bars and nightclubs in the Philadelphia and New Jersey areas. Some of the bars I continue to work at to this day include Fat Tuesdays & McFaddens (in Philadelphia), and Katmandu (in Trenton). At college, I took an interest in event and meeting planning. My internships and classes had me setting up and running fundraisers, events, and parties. I graduated from Temple University in 2005 with a degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management, and afterwards I went through through job after job, working for a few months – not liking them- and quitting. The cycle continued for about three years, all the while still working hard DJing and becoming a popular MC. I learned through the many talented MC’s at Cutting Edge Entertainment how to work together with my clients, plan with them, and put together (with their help) the amazing parties they would envision. Finally, I got to the point where I decided to take being a DJ and MC at events as a career. So I’ve been a full-time entertainer for over a year now and haven’t looked back once. I have never been more happy in my life than I am right now. I have a great family, awesome friends, and I look forward to going to work. Although I have probably worked thousands of parties and events so far, I still look forward to doing thousands more. However, still to this day after each party I do, I find myself critiquing my own performance, always striving to find ways to improve and become better at my craft.
As of late, I have taken a liking to teaching younger DJs who are just starting out what I know, hopefully passing on some of my passion for music and my DJ skills to them. I am thankful that I have found something that I enjoy doing so much, and I work hard not to forget that.
Thanks Everyone for Reading!!
Photo by Kevin York – www.kyorkphoto.com