Thank You: Entertainer of the Year
At approximately 11:45 pm, on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018, a new “DJ Times’ Entertainer of the Year” was announced. Every year, throughout the year, 12 finalists are chosen to participate in a competition to showcase their Master of Ceremonies/entertainer abilities and creativity. This competition is recognized as the finale to the annual International DJ Expo. The finalists are judged on their performances by originality, efficacy, crowd (guest) involvement and response, and overall presentation. The judges’ panel is comprised of respected industry veterans, including previous competition winners, and competitors. Once the judges review each finalist’s presentation, they provide their scores, per respective category. The final scores are then tallied and totaled by designated independent assistants. At approximately 11:45 pm, on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018, the winner of the highest honor in the event entertainment industry, was announced. It was me.
Now, I won’t patronize my competitors with “participation” platitudes; all I know is that I faced off with 11 of the most creative, poised, and talented entertainers in the industry. I’m honored to have shared the same stage with each of them. Only 11 other entertainers knew what it was like to compete for that title on that day. That’s certainly something for everyone’s professional resume and personal memories.
Following the victory, I was asked to say a few words, but in all honesty, in that moment, I was only able to muster out some seemingly important aspects (“100% team effort”, “best industry in the world”, make a joke about sponsorship from the host venue); needless to say, my “victory speech” was not prepared. On the trip back home, following phone calls to immediate family members and mentors, I took a few moments to myself to reflect. I popped in my favorite CD (for the younger readers, CDs were what we used before mp3s; you’d have a disc with allotted space and had to decide which songs you’d – never mind, look it up), and while Johnny Kemp sang me his tales of recent lucrativeness, and Destiny’s Child was asking for proof of romantic loyalty, I considered my journey thus far. At the risk of further self-aggrandizing, I truly reflected on those that helped me in not only the victory, but also my professional, and personal, growth (that “100 percent team effort” mentioned before). Although competing was certainly thrilling (and not just because I lived out a dream of entering a stage while one of my all-time favorite instrumentals played), it also made me realize that a lot of efforts lead to that moment. Enter the necessity for thank yous:
My Team: For those that work with me on a consistent basis, I often joke about how you “put up with me” and that I’m “delightfully difficult”. I’m sure that the “delightful” part varies case-by-case, but nonetheless you understand my intentions and that every effort is due to my desire to create special moments for our clients. You understand that, and execute properly - and for that, I thank you. And for reading my long, detailed emails. You read those, right? *For the competition, I asked 9 colleagues for assistance during my presentation. Before even getting a single detail, each and every one of them agreed to participate. I’ve mentioned this to them individually ad nauseam I’m sure, but their assistance was greatly appreciated. That evening, they were part of the team, and I had no doubts in their abilities to execute my vision.
Event Partners: Event planners have a tremendous responsibility. They are tasked with finding the right event partners for their clients, and look to choose those that will help execute each step that it will take to bring their clients’ visions to reality. Their choices will also be a reflection of them, in their clients’ eyes. Planners have chosen to, and continue to, put their trust in our team’s ability to execute and fulfill those visions, which is an immense honor. Venue managers have done the same. Maître D's have accommodated for our timelines. Photographers and videographers have been on the same page with us in being able to capture moments that we help create, and have been kind enough to share those documented memories. There are plenty of other event partners that contribute to the cohesiveness necessary to create extraordinary events. I thank you all for your continued trust, and collaboration.
Family and Friends: Talk about putting up with my delightfully difficult self! My family and friends have seen so much of the background and preparation that goes into our events, that I’m sure they could now deliver seminars on the subject. From being sounding boards for my ideas, to being understanding regarding missed weekends (and at times family celebrations), and providing unwavering support of whatever I choose to pursue, there aren’t enough variations of “thank you” to appropriately deliver my sentiments.
My Mentors: At times, my mentors are like extended family. Between phone calls that could last hours, lunches/dinners that do last hours, and even brief hallway conversations with immensely valuable information, the time invested into helping me become a better entertainer does not go unnoticed.
Our clients: It all starts and ends with our incredible clients. The successes of their events are the driving force for our attention to detail, personalization efforts, and proper execution. Past, present, and future clients keep us striving to elevate events and continue learning. Without our clientele family, we don’t survive. Thank you for trusting us with your incredibly important celebrations and events.
I now personally embark on a mission to carry the title of “Entertainer of the Year” and ensure that I represent our wonderful industry in the best way possible. This also includes ensuring that our industry receives the proper attention and respect that it deserves. From media, and as a result, those that consider hiring top-tier event entertainment, everyone should be aware of all of the amazingness that this industry has to offer.
-Artem Lomaz [DJ Times’ 2018-2019 Entertainer of the Year]