The couple said “I do,” and then comes the fun part — hitting the dance floor. We asked three Louisiana DJs for their best ideas on the right music to get wedding guests on their feet and on the dance floor.
Brandon Journet may live in Lafayette, but he’s known across the South as DJ Digital mainly for doing big events, clubs and corporate events, but every now and then, he does a wedding.
“Crazy to see how over the top weddings have become,” he said, adding that some people shed other wedding standards and focus their dollars on the party.
Journet, who also has two nationally syndicated radio shows, said wedding DJ costs vary but are usually around $500 an hour, with a three or four-hour minimum.
Brandon Journet, DJ Digital, hosts two nationally syndicated radio shows and is Brand Manager/Program Director/Music Director/On-Air Personality for HOT 107.9 at Townsquare Media in Lafayette.
“I’m a student of the game when it comes to music — why is that chord progression so popular and figure out why a song is timeless,” he said.
When he’s working, Journet uses his understanding of music, music theory and ability to read a room to play one “bona fide banger” after another. He also has seen evidence time and again that the sillier the song, the better. For example, Journet said, “’YMCA’ is forever a no. 1 banger.”
“I’m really big on earworms — the ones that get stuck in your head and live forever,” he said. “‘YMCA‘ — it transcends everything, race, age, demographics. It’s like Coca-Cola, it tastes just as good to everyone.”
Journet said “the cornier, the better. It lets people be silly,” adding that people have memories locked in that music — “memories between fathers and daughters and cousins and friends.”
Timothy Breaux dances as he holds his grandmother, Margaret Duhon-Robin, at Zachary and Megan Duhon’s wedding in 2018 in Crowley.
He added that there’s got to be a little Cajun and zydeco music sprinkled in the mix at a Louisiana wedding, but not as much as it used to be.
“However, you’ve got to have some Wayne (Toups) in there,” he said. ‘Don’t underestimate’Take My Hand.’ Waltzing is a big thing in our culture.”
“The best line dance songs are the ones that weren’t written to be line dance songs,” Journet said. “The juxtaposition of songs is what makes it work.”
Blaze Stutes Petersen has taken note of the magic Journet creates.
“DJ Digital is good at matching a moment with music, modulating the energy in a room and keeping people moving,” she said. “A hallmark of a great DJ to me is when some amazing, B-side song that you loved but haven’t thought about in 10 years comes on — and that always happens in his sets.”
Journet said when he plays a song like Lionel Richie’s “You are,“People love it.
“They don’t even know why they love it,” he said. “It was on in your mom’s van. It’s just embedded in your brain.”
Journet said there’s a reason every huge song catches on, from the “Macarena“to”Oh Breaky Heart.”
“Like ‘Old Town Road?’ No one understood it. Sometimes it was just a moment, but there’s a reason why it catches on,” he said. “Right now, ‘My Money Don’t Jiggle Jiggle it Folds‘ is big. Why? It’s just so catchy.”
He said that while there are obvious songs to play to get people on the dance floor, he prefers to focus on the “hidden ones.”
A dozen of Journet’s recommendations to get folks on the dance floor:
- “shout” by The Isley Brothers — “I blame ‘Wedding Crashers’ for that,” Journet said.
- “Come and get your love” by Redbone
- “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire — “Earth, Wind and Fire managed to have two of the greatest voices of all time,” Journet said. “Never understate the power of falsetto — I’m serious. ‘September,’ the horn section, the fact that it’s a specific date. It’s the perfect danceable tempo. It plays between 122-127 beats per minute. It’s in the pocket. The melody is so funky. The falsetto. Very few songs can be called the perfect record, but it’s close.”
- “I’ve had the time of my life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes — “It’s a hidden one that always works,” Journet said.
- “Shania Twain cannot go wrong. If I play ‘any man of mine‘It’s game over. When she says, ‘Let’s go, girls.’ She says the most simple things in the best way.”
- “rock and roll” by Gary Glitter — “I always do a mashup of Gary Glitter ‘Rock and Roll Part 2’ They played it every IceGators game when they scored. People go crazy.”
- “dancing queen” by ABBA. “bangers.”
- “Hot in Here” by Nelly
- “Calling Baton Rouge” by Garth Brooks
- “neon moon” by Brooks & Dunn — “A bona fide banger,” Journet said.
- “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners
- “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran — “Ed Sheeran showed up in the fourth quarter and slayed a lot of them. He snagged up two or three of the slots.”
by Jan Risher, features editor
DJ J Rock
Jacob Snearl, also known as DJ J Rock, has been controlling the feet of ample crowds with his song selections for 14 years.
The Brusly native said his specialty is being able to cater to any crowd, especially at weddings. The local DJ said the secret is to have a diverse musical playbook.
Jacob Snearl, aka DJ J Rock, takes advantage of his versatile music playlist and 14-year-old career to know which songs are appropriate for a wedding reception.
He has mastered which songs to use to add fuel to already shared sparks between a bride and groom on the dance floor. The same songs will guarantee to get the guests rowdy as well.
According to DJ J Rock, the best songs to play at a wedding reception are club bangers. His three go tos: “wipe me down” by Lil Boosie, Foxx and Webbie; “swag surfin‘” by FLY (Fast Life Youngstaz); and “Can’t stop jigging” by Hb4president.
When all else fails in Louisiana, he relies on zydeco music and popular party favorites like “wobble” by VIC, and “Cupid Shuffle” by Cupid to win an audience over.
One song, however, is inappropriate. DJ J Rock identifies Baton Rouge artist Pokey Bear’s “My Sidepiece” as possibly the worst song to play at a wedding.
“It takes the vibes away,” he said. “It’s a song that everybody likes, and it’ll get people hype, but it’s just not the right song to play at the time.”
The title of the song tells it all.
by Myracle Lewis, staff writer
DJ Magic Mike
DJ Magic Mike has been doing his thing since before actor Channing Tatum was born.
Tatum, of circa 2012 film franchise “Magic Mike” fame, was born in 1980. Michael “DJ Magic Mike” Perkins’ first gig was playing music on reel-to-reel for his 1979 high school prom.
After 35 years, Michael ‘DJ Magic Mike’ Perkins says it’s enjoyment that keeps him doing gigs. ‘Like they say, once you enjoy what you do, you’ll never work,’ he says.
Officially, the Denham Springs music maker said he’s been DJing “over 35 years” and has supplied the tunes for a wedding or two, or three, well, you get the picture.
So when asked for his take on the best wedding songs, he was only able to narrow it down to 17 picks, with the super-romantic Luther Vandross ballad “Here and Now“leading his list, and Robin Thicke’s super-sexy”blurred lines“rounding things out. In between are some classics, like 1976’s”Always and Forever” from Heatwave and the 2009 BeBe and CeCe Winans tune, “I Found Love;” a few Beyoncés and the song that no wedding down South these days would be without, “Cupid Shuffle” by who else, Lafayette singer-songwriter Cupid.
“The main thing that gets everybody out on the dance floor, it’s the line dances, the slide songs,” Perkins said. “… where everybody can do it together.”
That’s why VIC’s “wobble“and”Flex.” also by Cupid, made DJ Magic Mike’s top 17.
Perkins, 61 and a retired state worker, said he listens to and will play (from a laptop now) all music genres for his audiences.
“Basically, I listen to a little bit of everything, from zydeco to rock ‘n’ roll, to country, R&B, rap, I listen to it all because if you’re going to be a DJ, you got to know it all ,” he said.
But some of today’s music does give Perkins a pause.
“It’s strange now, because you’ve got techno and all this high-tech country stuff. These days, this music, these kids, I’m like, ‘Man, where’d you get this from?'”
by Judy Bergeron, staff writer