DJ Fanci: For when a casual night in just won’t do

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DJ Fanci is fierce, energetic, charming, and talented. I’ll let her do the talking.

How long have you been DJing?

I’ve been DJing for five years now. It definitely was supposed to be something I started for fun – my first job out of school was in radio, so I had already formed an interest starting in college – but when I could finally afford to buy my first set of equipment, I started playing around and realized it could be a career. I’m all self-taught. I looked at a lot of videos on YouTube, but never formally took a class.

When did you realize you were good enough to go pro?

A few months in. I was doing mixes and having my friends listen to them, and they were saying, “Hey this is really good,” and it turned into a few gigs. I already knew my music, and I realized I could really rock a party.

How did you move from amateur to pro status?

I just linked up with another DJ who heard one of my mixes; he was one of my cowers, so we were both beginner DJs, and we wanted to get into lounges. I started doing hookah spots and lounges where [the DJ] is more of the background music. Then somebody had a birthday party there, and that brought the biggest crowd I had ever played for. They were dancing the whole night, and I thought, Oh my God, I am doing this! This is me right now! So I started to do clubs after that.

Do you have any tips for someone looking to break into the club scene?

Link up with somebody! I feel like a lot of people are always so scared of people taking something from them or stealing their stuff… Link up with someone to become a dynamic duo or with someone who is where you want to be. I knew this was something I wanted to do, but having somebody to link up with in general made the pressure less intense. That’s a lot to have on your shoulders [when you’re just starting out].

And just do it! [Practice DJing.] That’s so basic, but truly, if it wasn’t for my homeboy, who was like, “Hey, do this gig with me,” I wouldn’t have gotten out of my bedroom. I was too scared to mix live in front of people. I would make a prerecorded mix and send it to people, but you have to put yourself out there. You have to fall.

Do you have times where you fall?

Sure! Recently this happened to me during the holidays. I don’t know what I was playing, but the guests were looking at me like, “Girl don’t ever play that again.” I have go-to songs and go-to playlists. I used to have a joke: “When in doubt, play Beyoncé.” There are certain hits that no matter how many times they’ve heard it, the crowd loves it. Those help me reset and go into another mix.

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What is your preparation like before gigs?

I don’t create a playlist. I do have a collection of “new shit,” anything that’s really hot that just came out. I strategically play that stuff because some people know it, some people don’t. I do prepare a lot with new music, practice how I would transition. For the most part I’ve been doing it so long I feel very prepared when I go in there. I know I have the music so I can go in any direction I want to go. If it’s less club and lounge then I will prepare a bit more; especially with an all-ages event, I want the flow to be right. Sometimes I do think we get into a flow that we are used to at clubs, but it’s a different type of flow for a corporate event.

What’s it like when you’re a guest at a club?

I just like the party. I started DJing because I love to party, so as long as [the DJ] is paying attention [to the crowd,] I’m good Sometimes I feel like DJs DJ for themselves, but it’s for us! Not you. As long as they can keep me dancing.

I do love when DJs randomly throw it back. Some of the time DJs get into default mode, so we [in the audience] think, Now they’re probably going to play this song. Well, when they can throw you a curve ball, throw some old Nelly in there, then I’m like “Heeeey!” That’s when I start paying attention. When they start playing something cool, then I want to know who the DJ is.

What might surprise people to learn about a DJ?

There’s a lot of music out there – people don’t realize how much – and it takes a long time to really get your library up. I know a lot of DJs are just like, “Oh, you need a few popular songs, and you’ll be good to go,” but some of the stuff people ask you for, the reactions you get to those good hits, that stuff takes a lot of time. It’s a constant thing. You’re constantly looking for music.

Where do you find your music?

I’m on MP3 websites. I’m registered to a couple of sites where DJs share music. A lot of times I like going out and listening to other DJs because then I say, “Hey, what’s that? Is that a mashup or your original?” Of course, Soundcloud. Exchanging music with other people. I just recently had a gig where I had to play a lot of house – non-vocal house – so I reached out to Neekola and said, “I know house is your thing, shoot me some artists you’re looking into.” I like to link up with those people who have a niche to find some cool stuff.

Top three songs you’re loving right now

Work” by Rihanna; I love that song right now! “Alingo” by P-Square; he’s an African artist, oh my God, he’s amazing. Also “$ave Dat Money” by Lil’ Dicky.

What genre do you specialize in?

“I love remixes. I’m hip hop at heart. But I love pop-type dance music. I spend a lot of time researching hip hop remixes that have a dance movement. Something that gets a lot of attention. Even among other DJs, they’ll say, “Where do you get these remixes, these are crazy!” I spend a lot of time looking for those crossover trackers.

What type of events do you do?

All types. Lounge, club, retail. I’ve been booked for fashion shows, and I do regular in-store DJing. Exclusive retail events with giveaways; I do that kind of stuff.

What should people know about you?

I am a girl power enthusiast. I am all about women doing great things. I love when I meet girls and they say, “Oh I wanna be a DJ…I could never do that!”— Yes you can! You can do that! I love doing awesome women things.

 

Go book this fine DJ immediately! No doubt you’ll be in good hands tunes.

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A good joke is priceless, so luckily Free DC Comedy Week is here!

The first time we met Wayne Manigo (co-founder of the Washington DC Comedy Writers Group with Mandy Dalton) was at the WeDC pre-SXSW party back in February. Our table was all kinds of flashy (duh), Wayne walked over, stuck out his hand, and said, “Alright then, tell me about Pelonkey!” And the rest is comedic history. Wayne is a high-energy, joke-cracking, people-meeting PelonKing. We’ve always been impressed with his enthusiasm, and now we are be impressed with his community involvement. Enter the Free DC Comedy Festival (#FDCCF)!

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The concept for #FDCCF is based on a number of Wayne’s previously successful designs and projects with the primary goal of informing the public of free comedy shows in the area. Most people know about the Improv, and the Arlington Draft House. And that’s where their knowledge ends. But there are more awesome venues and shows out there! You gotta catch ’em all…

#FDCCF’s secondary goal is to help comedians gain more exposure. Hilarious but unknown comedians are no good to us as we cannot laugh at their jokes if we do not hear them. Hosting a festival such as this one will provide those superstars with the opportunity to display their talent to a variety of audiences.

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The Festival is taking place all this week, November 16-21. All the details can be found on their Facebook page.

The schedule of events looks a little something like this:

Monday 11/16, 8pm – Jackpot Comedy Show
Monday, 11/16, 8:30pm – WDCCWG Comedy Writing Session @ Judy’s Bar and Restaurant
Monday, 11/16, 8:30pm – Pretty Funny Entertainment @ Recessions

Tuesday, 11/17, 8:30pm – Bottom Shelf Comedy Show @ Black Whiskey

Wednesday, 11/18, 6pm – WALA Trademark Workshop @ FHFG&D
Wednesday, 11/18, 8:30pm – The DC Writers Group Semi-Pro Show @ Duffy’s Irish Pub (Pelonkey will be there!)

Thursday, 11/19, 8:30pm – The Looking Glass Comedy Showcase (Pelonkey will be there!)

Friday, 11/20, 8pm – Jokes @ Judy’s Bar and Restaurant
Friday, 11/20, 8pm – Smokin’ Hot Comedy & Smoke BBQ

All of these events are – as the title suggests – FREE, so you should all go and check out some funny people saying funny things! And find our man Wayne and tell him nice things, laugh at his jokes, etc.; unless you find him at his roast, then feel free to roast him. But before you do, you should probably know some of Wayne’s background.

Wayne (with Mandy) is currently celebrating the Washington DC Comedy Writers Group fifth anniversary. “We started with five members at Duffy’s Irish Pub, and now we’re past 1,700 people” Wayne said. “We found it odd how there wasn’t a group in the DC area with a dedicated focus to comedy writing. So….we decided to create one!”

Developing a comedy community has always been important to Wayne. Prior to the DC Comedy Writers Group, he held two comedy conferences focused on helping comedians develop a career in the entertainment industry. He also created the annual “Comic Sunday Funday,” a networking event where people can learn more about the comedy resources available in the D.C. area. He attributes a huge part of his comedy education to the years he was employed at the (now-defunct) Riot Act Comedy Theater. “I received comedy advice and coaching from some of the best comedians on earth!” he said.

Wayne continues to provide suggestions to comedians with his “Addicted To Comedy” column for Stage Time Magazine.
He’s been on an Ellen Degeneres segment during Mardi Gras this year.
He is a former writer for On Tap Magazine.
As a chef he organized a cooking club that ran for three years.
An event he organized, “Quiet Party,”  was featured in the Style section of the Washington Post.

And now he brings you the Free DC Comedy Festival. Enjoy, folks!

A wordy (but not overly wordy) and super helpful guide to using the Pelonkey site because sometimes we all need a few tips, right?

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Before you can learn to use the site, you need to sign up. Done that already? Excellent.

Let’s go.

1. Update. Yo. Profile.

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Because when your profile is not customized, and people go to search for you, you look like a ghost, and ghosting is only good for Halloween, not entertainment marketplace profiles, business, or dating.

2. Promote your Pelonkey profile

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(Say that five times fast.) Share your page across social media, link it to a flashing “Book Me!” banner on your website, tape it to your car bumper. Get it out there. This is your career. Rapper or wedding planner, your events are your livelihood.

3. Invite new users for points

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Finally, the swag. With our new ‘Invitation’ feature, we are tracking how many clients and colleagues you invite to the site, which will culminate in points you can trade for perks later.

4. Send a contract to outside clients

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Entertainers, you can now send a contract to a contact/Event Planner who is not yet signed up with Pelonkey. Rejoice! After you send the contract, they will receive an email asking them to sign up on Pelonkey (for free, of course), and after doing so they’ll be able to review and sign the contract. We so fancy, huh?

5. Use the Discussion box to your advantage

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This is your “C.Y.A.” Anytime you and your client discuss something about the upcoming event, especially if it’s outside the Pelonkey platform, you should stick the info in the Discussion box. Just in case. Additionally, if no one has responded to your inquiry or contract yet, send them a message in the Discussion box. They will receive a notification and an email letting them know they have something to respond to.

6. Read the FAQs

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Chances are we’ve anticipated some of your questions even before you have them. Didn’t we tell you we’re mind readers in addition to entertainment business mavens? Learn somethin’ new every day…

7. Make sure your payment information is correct

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Entertainers, if your bank account is not linked right – just one number off – you don’t get paid. And we don’t need to get into that, do we? Event Planners, if your credit card is not in place, you can’t even receive a contract or send an inquiry. Kinda puts a damper on the whole event planning part.

8. Include custom terms from both parties in the contract

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You may not have any other custom terms to include in the contract, but the Event Planner might. Be sure to ask them what kind of language they would like included in the contract, if they have their own text they want pasted in, etc. Chat early and chat often because once you have both signed the contract, you can’t make any changes unless you cancel, and cancellation fees will incur.

9. Leave reviews

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This is helpful and a courtesy. Entertainers and Event Planners both have the chance to leave a review of the other’s performance on the day of the event. Leave constructive tips for next time or sing your praises. Help future gigs succeed. Feedback is invaluable.

10. Send Pelonkey your feedback

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Speaking of helpful reviews, send us your thoughts on the site. Let us know what has worked smoothly. Let us know what’s been a little bumpier. We want to hear your ideas for improvements, future updates, necessary features, anything to help us make the site better. Is there a reason you can’t use us to book your events? Tell us so we can make fixing that roadblock our #1 priority. Email admin@pelonkey.com.

Stone Driver steers into our hearts… and the National Archives

Let me break it down for ya: One live band + Roaming performers + Open bar + Close vicinity to some seriously important historical documents = A chance to party all night long with the Declaration of Independence. ROCK ON

The August MES Mixer will be held at The National Archives this coming Wednesday. The Archives is a pretty sweet place, no? Well, we’re about to spice it up. With music. Rock music. Echoing through the halls and reverberating off The Constitution. Enter Stone Driver.

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The band is made up of members Chad Lesch, Tim Boyer, John Gossart, and Dan Epley, and in their own words, their music is “meaningful, relevant, and real.” It has taken them to venues across the area and featured them in media outlets around the world. Next in line to hear the crooners is the National Archives. Talk about a prominent US stage.

Besides knowing them personally (whaddup, 1776!), we also know their music. In fact, it was the soundtrack to Nicole & Danielle’s SXSW road trip. And it is good. It makes you wanna just, get down and jam, man. I mean, they categorize it as Space Grunge. That’s definitely something you want to listen to, right?

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They’ve been supporters of Pelonkey from the beginning, and we are oh-so-proud to feature them as our hard-working, hard-rocking live band entertainer of the week. (And after Wednesday, we promise they’ll become the entertainer of your hearts.)

Have you RSVP’d to the MES Mixer yet? Why would you want to miss the chance to party with Stone Driver & all our other awesome performers? Huh?? Why?! Why would you do that?!

See ya there 😉

Pelonkey Board, BAM, & Partners celebratory happy hour!

On Tuesday, our wonderful Pelonkey team celebrated our amazing new tech partnership with a fun come and go happy hour! BAMtech members were able to meet and interact with our amazing Advisory Board, partners, and lawyers.

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The whole team had a blast making friends! Pelonkey’s partners the Beat Refinery DJ school and Heist were there to sip in the celebrations!

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Our amazing CEO DJ Neekola made a toast to a glorious future where Pelonkey will disrupt the beans out of the events and entertainment industry!

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We are beyond thrilled to welcome BAM on to the Pelonkey team, and we can’t wait to make this app a success together!

Pelonkey Advisory Board Member Spotlight: Eddie Fam

Written by Ciera Gallub, COO and Staff Writer

Meet Eddie Fam, one of our awesome Pelonkey Advisory Board Members! Eddie is also the President of IMPACT Marketing and Events, the founder of the Meant 2 Live Foundation, and the Marketing Director at the Winery at Bull Run. All these activities, you would think he’d be exhausted! Not Eddie; he is always lively, spirited, encouraging, and ready for the next challenge!

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With all of his great insight and experience, Eddie likes to connect private event clients to Pelonkey‘s many talented entertainers, whether for a wedding, corporate event, festival, or charity fundraiser, to name a few. Eddie has a real passion for Pelonkey and the company’s future impact. Pelonkey is going to change the way clients and entertainers do business together, making both sides more easily accessible to each other within a secure, trusted environment. For Eddie, this streamlined process will make the client’s event that much more wonderful and special!

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In his spare time, Eddie enjoys drinking wine, going to awesome rock concerts (here’s to U2!), and traveling the world. One of his favorite places to travel to is Africa.

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Every year, Eddie and the Meant 2 Live Foundation go out to Africa on a missions trip. In his most recent trip this past July, Eddie reunited with his brother, a Mission Priest who has dedicated his life to care for more than 220 orphans in Zambia. He is already hard at work planning next year’s trip to Zambia! M2L plans on continuing the expansion of their orphans project into three more communities.

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If you’d like to go on the next missions trip to Zambia, book your wedding at the Winery at Bull Run, or just have a smashing conversation with a genuinely happy, passionate guy, do not hesitate to introduce yourself to Eddie Fam! After all, humans are his favorite animal. They can impact every other animal out there! We are so proud to have someone like Eddie Fam on our Pelonkey Board of Advisors! Catch Eddie at any upcoming Networking For Good event!

Pelonkey Advisory Board Member Spotlight: Rich Shea

Our awesome Pelonkey Advisory Board member, Rich Shea runs HiBall Events, which owns 7 different event companies operating in 6 states, and Washington, DC. Most noteworthy within HiBall is the Big Night America New Year’s Eve events, which produce 5 of the largest NYE celebrations in the country! Bigger news than that party, Rich is a new daddy!

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Rich brings great insight to the Pelonkey Advisory Board with all of his event planning and venue experience. Being neck deep in the entertainment industry and managing different artists across the nation on a regular basis gives him a very focused understanding of all levels of company operations. Specific to Pelonkey, Rich brings insight to the relationship between the artist, the promoter, and the venue from the promoter’s perspective. He also has a good degree of marketing/sales expertise, especially in regards to the online world, which can be helpful to Pelonkey as it scales up.

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Marketing is Rich’s strongest skill – he has extensive experience in opening new markets by connecting people with unique event environments. Rich believes that Pelonkey will bring all event industry people closer together, since the back business content is easily automated and taken care of, allowing more time for everyone to do what they love best: entertain!

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HiBall has many exciting events coming up, and the one Rich is most excited for is a new Big Night America in Chicago! Located at one of the best hotels in the city, the Hilton Palmer House, this event is sure to be huge and super awesome!

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One thing you may not know about Rich from the outside is that he loves bananas. They are fruity perfection. Rich also plays hockey in his free time with DC Street Hockey, making sure he maintains a great summer bod all year round! If you would like to email Rich, you should customize your font to Helvetica, which is his favorite due to its aesthetic appeal. We love having Rich on our Pelonkey Advisory Board as a great power player!

Digital DC teams up with Pelonkey for the Summer Kickoff Reception at Capitale!

Last month, Pelonkey provided two of our awesome DC DJs, DJ Costi and DJ Hi Def, to mix and mash up some super dope beats for Digital DC‘s Summer Kickoff Reception!

Hosted by Carlos Gray, Mayor Vincent Gray‘s son, the event brought together awesome people from the DC government, including 1776 mentor Erin Horne McKinney!

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Starting off the night was Pelonkey’s DJ Costi, feeling out the crowd with some upbeat lounge and house music. Halfway through, DJ Hi Def kicked into club mode, mixing in some hip hop and a little modern house. What a great vibe from the two of them!

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Capitale proved to be an excellent space for the networking party, which consisted of NFL Pro Sports, startups (mostly from WeWork, another event sponsor), and real estate members.

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St. Louis Rams Safety, Rodney McLeod, was in attendance with a few of his football buddies, attracting quite a crowd!

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With Lulu’s ice cream also in attendance sharing the delicious love, it was quite a successful event all around!

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Pelonkey was happy to be a part of the Summer Kickoff Reception!

Pelonkey Partners & Advisory Board Happy Hour!

On Wednesday, Pelonkey brought together its fabulous partners and Advisory Board members together for a meet and greet group happy hour! One of our great Advisory Board members, Tony Cord with DC Innovates, hosted the happy hour at his beautiful penthouse over in Thomas Circle, with yummy food sponsored by Chix (Eat Responsibly).

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Stylus Chris and DJ Alkimist came out from the Beat Refinery DJ school to meet our awesome Pelonkey Board! The Beat Refinery teaches people how to be an awesome DJ, and they have partnered with Pelonkey because they believe in the mission – this business will disrupt the events and entertainment industry! Performing artists aren’t always the savviest on the business end. Pelonkey provides a secure business platform for the entertainers and puts the power of their contracts back into their own hands. The Beat Refinery is completely on board with that! Another Pelonkey partner, Heist Lounge owner DJ Dirty Hands came out for the celebration! Heist allows Pelonkey to host sponsored events at their venue at no additional fee, with a heavy emphasis on the DJ market for entertainers.

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Other awesome Board members that came out were Victoria Michael with VM Relations, Rich Shea with HiBall Events, Eddie Fam with Meant 2 Live Foundation, and Steve Britt with Leach Travell Britt Law. DJ Neekola gave a quick update to everyone about all the exciting things that have been happening for Pelonkey, including our most recent win at Tech Cocktail in Vegas a couple weeks ago!

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It was an awesome evening, and everyone had a wonderful time getting to know each other and being the DREAM TEAM that they are! Thank you, guys! Pelonkey wouldn’t be what it is today without all of your awesome support!

CEO, DJ Neekola, Represents Pelonkey for the June #MESmixer at Malmaison in Georgetown

Last month, DJ Neekola went to the Metro Event Specialists‘ June mixer at the beautiful Malmaison in Georgetown!

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Representing her startup, Pelonkey, Neekola was able to network with some of the best in the event and entertainment industry.

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Partnering up with the Meant 2 Live Foundation, Metro Events has started #MEScares by raising donated clothing and accessories for inner city youth as they join the city’s workforce, benefiting House DC.

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It was a wonderful mixer, as always, and this time around was hosted by JBC Events. Neekola walked away with multiple new contacts from her great networking!

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Look for updates on #MESworks as well, which are workshops to help companies boost their events business evening more by taking classes taught by experienced industry professionals. Hope to see you at the next #MESmixer!