Meet The DJ
Celebrating 20 years in the DJ business, Todd Davis never thought DJing would become his profession, but his love of music and dancing made it seem like a natural fit.
Todd got his start in the DJ business through a mutual friend, Paul Gardner, who was a local school teacher and part-time DJ for Sound Express in central California. “My first gig was a wedding reception,” Todd recalls. “It’s funny, back then I trained at one wedding and the next week I was on my own.” Soon Todd, who was a delivery driver for Budweiser in Modesto at the time, was spinning records on the weekends and passing out his DJ business cards to his delivery customers, lining up gigs for Christmas parties and weddings.
It wasn’t long before his friend Paul took a job involving extensive travel and turned his DJ service over to Todd, who had some ideas of his own on how to make a lasting impression and gain market share over his competition. “I think what sets me apart from other DJ’s is my attention to detail,” Todd says, of the way he conducts his business. “I meet every client in person and help them plan the event they want. I listen to the goals they are looking for and then we incorporate them into the plan for the event.”
Eventually Todd was convinced by friend Tom Adams, a program director of a local radio station, to quit his day job and work the DJ business full-time. “Tom felt that if I was home and could answer the phone right away (not everyone had cell phones in the mid-1990’s) I would book more events and I would have the time to go meet with other vendors to spread the word of my company even more and even faster.”
Todd took the leap of faith and never looked back. “It worked within that first year and I was able to make more as a full-time DJ than I was making with two jobs.” Today, Todd and his team provide DJ service for about 400 events a year.
Although weddings are its specialty, Sound Express Mobile Entertainment doesn’t limit itself to bridal events. Sound Express also does parties, school functions, banquets, and events at nightclubs and bars. Additionally, it provides lighting, staging and FX needs for special events, concerts radio station festivals, car dealerships and grand openings and other events, as well as event and music planning for bars and nightclubs. The company’s new 10 x 10 and 20 x 20 video screens have allowed it to add video projection to the company’s repertoire. Past projects include set-ups for country artists Craig Morgan, Mark Wills and Chris Cagle, pop artist Daniel Powter, Ed Kowalczyk from the rock band Live, and singer/actress Mandy Moore. A recent partnership with California Bridal Events and International Wedding Festivals to handle their bridal shows has given Todd and Sound Express many new opportunities.
After 20 years as a DJ, Todd says he is most proud that Sound Express has changed the way DJ’s do some of their business in his area, by meeting personally with the brides and grooms who hire him for their weddings. “I once heard a competitor say, ‘I have to start meeting brides because Todd does.’” He counts as one of his proudest moments the time he did the weddings of three of four friends within two months. “The three I did just loved everything we did for them and the fourth girl, well let’s just say she wished she hired Sound Express in the end. Her event was the last one and she had been a bridesmaid in the other three.”
“I never thought this (DJing) would become my profession, but I’m glad it did,” says Todd. “I have come a long way and had a lot of ups and downs, but one thing is still the same after all this time – I love doing this job!”