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2000 DJ Awards



 What it feels to be an award recipient

 Bill Smith- 2000 Karaoke DJ Of The Year

I started out KJ'ing in 1996 at the ripe old age of 40. With 20 years of previous activity in bands as a singer, performing at weddings, and various aspects of stage production and live show production, and the urge to be in front of people, being a KJ seemed to be a very logical step. So along with my wife's invaluable help, I started the business now known as "Bill Smith's Magic of Music". In 1997, I added on DJing at receptions and local beauty pageants, and gradually, the word started to spread in my community about the "singing DJ". At the end of 1998, I was surfing the web and discovered DJCHAT and PRODJ. With urging from Mr Kerry McCullough of Final Touch in Cleveland Ohio, and various Internet conversations, I decided to take my business to the next level and crank up a web page. I became heavily involved in 1999 writing on the use of Karaoke for newbie KJ's and seasoned DJ's that wanted to add on Karaoke to their service.  It is Ironic that as I was growing my DJ business, I was more well known on the DJCHAT and PRODJ as a Karaoke guy. I hooked up with 5 network partners in 1999 across the state of North Carolina, and found myself doing less and less Karaoke performances, more DJ work, but continuing to work with newbie KJ's and researching karaoke related topics.

On a cold day in January 2000, I was revamping my sound system road case when I got a call from a guy named Ken Knotts.

"Bill, this is Ken Knotts. Do you know who I am?  I replied very cautiously. "No I am sorry, I do not, but I have heard your name. I just don't remember when or how."

"I am with the American Disc Jockey Awards. You have been nominated and selected by our academy to receive the Karaoke DJ of the year award, and we need to know if you can fly out to Las Vegas to accept the award. You can bring a video of youself, no more than 2-3 minutes long, and everyone can see you performing on video while getting the award. You will need to write an acceptance speech no longer than 30 seconds long. Bill, I need to know if you can you do that. Are you still there?"

I managed to croak out "Ken, can I call you back? This is a little shocking to me. I don't even have a club for crying out loud...are you sure you have the right guy...there are a lot of Smith's out here you know" He said, "Bill, it isn't about who the best club KJ is or isn't. It's about what you have done for the whole industry and yes I know I have the right guy".

It was with that exchange that I learned about the American Disc Jockey Awards. They have a site, which I went and checked out.  I had to check it out. After all, how many guys with a name like Bill Smith get calls like this?

I began to realize that I had been given something early in my career as a DJ that few people get even after many years of DJing. This is like an Oscar or a Grammy, except for Dj's. The "Mikey", as it is called, is awarded to deserving Mobile DJ's in various categories.

I made arrangements to fly out along with my wife, Faye, and was instructed to show up for the rehearsal. I decided to refrain from publicizing the award before it was given. For nearly three weeks, I held in my pride and feelings until I received the award. I finally got to meet Ken Knotts and all of the rest of his staff. Everyone was very nice and they even arranged for Faye to get in as well. I was impressed with the production, especially the light shows.

It was a real treat to see many of the people I corresponded with over the Internet in person. My award was one of the last given out that night. The winner from the year before interviewed me a little to get an idea of what to say about me. Karl Detkin is a class act. As I finally heard my name called, I could barely think about anything. My chest got a little tight, then I straightened up, took a deep breath, waved to everyone and went up to accept the 2000 Karaoke DJ of the year award. WOW!!!  I tried to remember everyone, but I am sure that I forgot to thank my network partners and Sid and Glenn for their nomination of me.  When I finally caught up with Sid Vanderpool- DJzone's editor, he explained that the American Disc Jockey Academy was looking around at people who had done things in the Karaoke world in the past year, and the things that I had done, things that I really didn't think of in this way(work for reward) really stood out as meaningful contributions.  Somehow, somewhere, someway, I had again been picked as being worthy of recognition by an audience of my peers. When I think back on it, I have been similarly honored by such audiences in the Air Force as a singer in 1982, A Karaoke singer in 1994 and then the DJZone Mobile of the month, and finally this. One of my Internet friends told me recently when I questioned aloud my impacts.."Bill you are a modest fellow, but the things you do are always going to gain you attention. Get used to it."

Since receiving the award, I have been so busy DJing and KJing that I havent even put out a press release. I have all the POC's to release the information, so I am hoping that the impact will last for a while. I feel the weight of the award from time to time, when I go online and respond to people. Even more than before, I feel the need to be very positive, constructive and friendly when I am out there. Lot's of people are emailing me about karaoke related topics, and want me to test their products, write reviews, and promote Karaoke actively.

I am proud to have won this award, and if everyone out there who has said congratulations to me wonder why maybe I was a little reserved, it wasn't me being stuck up or shy. It was me being totally bowled over at being in the same room with so many movers and shakers in the industry, and wondering how I got to be there. Even now, looking over the pictures, it seems like a great dream...that came true.

In this next year, I intend to try to push Karaoke aggressively in whatever fashion I can by making information available to the public and just doing what I can do on the local level. The fact that I am the Karaoke DJ of the year makes me feel that I have some responsibility to give back whatever I can in whatever way I can. I only hope that I do a good enough job at it.


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