(Nashville, TN – August 14, 2015) Alan Kohn, Country DJ and owner of a well-known entertainment company called Premier Entertainment based out of Connecticut, has been in the industry for over 30 years. Kohn gives us a little insight into his expertise, his story, and shares his advice for other Country DJs.
How did you start DJ-ing?
I grew up in Camden, New Jersey. I used to have the neighborhood kids sit on my doorsteps and would quiz them on songs and introduce them to the Motown sound. I carried around a tape recorder of music; this was in the 1960’s. I was known as the Soul Man of Camden. I was a DJ at Glassboro State College for two years. I moved to Danbury, Connecticut in 1980. Naturally I became a self-taught DJ and eventually I bought a sound system. That was the start of my DJ career in 1983.
Tell me a little bit more about Premier Entertainment?
Premier Entertainment was established in 1983 starting out with myself as Mr. K the DJ and has gone through many changes.
In 1991, I started to DJ and organize country venues. My first account was El Torito in Danbury, CT, where I pitched the general manager on the country-music idea. The manager was skeptical and feared the idea would turn his restaurant into the laughing stock of Danbury. I asked him to try the idea for 30 days, and the rest is history.
Country music started growing in 1989 with newcomers such as Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Premier Entertainment started a Country newspaper that was called “The Cowboy Beat” (1992). Lasting until 1999, the newspaper covered both local and national events.
During the period of 1992 to1999, we covered over 100 concerts and interviews with the top country acts in the 1990’s: Garth Brooks, George Strait, Shania Twain, Kenny Chesney, Billy Ray Cyrus, and many more. I was the producer for Kimber Clayton’s hit cover song “Jose Cuervo”
Since then, I have been a Connecticut cowboy and an ambassador of the belt-and-boot boogie. I have booked 70-percent of Premier’s gigs in country theme bars and restaurants, and also organized more than 40 country-dance weekends in the Catskill Mountains and the first Country Dance Cruise (in 1992). I have even opened concerts for artists such as Brooks and Dunn, Hank Williams, Jr., and Marty Stuart.
Believe it or not, Connecticut is the country-line-dance capital on the East Coast—hard to believe, but true.” I have transformed my venues into hot spots by offering a nonconventional alternative to the typical bar scene. Some of the country-themed sports bars draw an enormous crowd by featuring country line dancing.
Premier Entertainment Dance Team was featured on SKY TV LIVE LAUGH LINE DANCE, a half hour TV show airing on Sky 212. The show aimed to display line dance as a social outlet that is fun and suitable for all age groups, dispelling the myth that it’s all hay bales and checkered shirts. Country music still plays a role, but the music today is from every conceivable genre.
Through the show we hoped to offer a more accurate insight to what modern line dance and modern country music is really all about – both topics that are frequently, and in our opinion, are deliberately misrepresented by the mainstream media.
Premier was the first group of DJs/instructors to organize a country-dance cruise. We organized 40 country-dance weekends in the Catskills. I have worked at top clubs such as Denim & Diamonds, Cadillac Ranch, Montana West, Coyote Maverick, Mustang Sally’s, etc. We have formed successful dance groups including The Black Velvet Dancers, the Coyote Maverick Girls, and now The Premier Entertainment Dance Team. I have successfully given three seminars in Atlantic City within the framework of DJ Expo on how to become a Country DJ. The seminars were named “Right On The Money.”
Premier Entertainment does all types of events, but specializes in Country music. Granted, there are still challenges to being a country DJ in Connecticut. “There is still the perception for brides and grooms to back off from hiring you for their wedding,” he says. “Sometimes the first thought is, ‘I don’t want that Yee Haw at my wedding.’ But, country is mainstream enough today where that’s not a big deal.”
Give me three words to describe you.
Pioneering, trendsetter, extremely tenacious
In your opinion, what does it take to be successful as a DJ?
Dedication, knowledge, being aggressive, and understanding your crowd. Nothing comes easy in the entertainment business. Remember you can be riding high in April and get shot down in May. Britain’s late Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, said “Beware of endeavoring to become a great man in a hurry. One such attempt in ten thousand may succeed. These are fearful odds.” The cream does rise to the top. No shortcuts. To become something you are not is to do things you haven’t done before.
What is the most memorable event/night you have ever DJ’ed?
In my 33 years as a DJ, it’s hard to say which event was most memorable. Early in my career, I DJed the first ESPN Christmas party in Connecticut. At one point, I had 600 people doing “Shout” on the dance floor. It was a tremendous feeling to have all those people yelling and screaming to “Shout.”
Do you have any funny/embarrassing stories as a DJ?
My most embarrassing moment was when I was doing a Sweet 16 party and the mother had driven me crazy for weeks before the event. I was on edge as when I arrived. I set up and was ready to start when my external hard drive with all my music didn’t register on my computer. I checked everything. I even called another DJ to borrow his CD’s. Thank God that was early during the night. Moments before the starting time I saw that I had plugged my USB into the wrong port. I fixed it and was ready to go. I said to myself, “What an idiot.”
What is the most popular song at your club?
Using Virtual DJ keeps track of the most played songs. I play at many clubs but the No. 1 song is Luke Bryan “Country Girl Shake It For Me.” It is the hottest dance that I have seen in a long time, and I’ll actually have venues and the crowd shaking the club’s foundation singing the song.
What do you love most about your job?
I am happy that I have turned my dream into reality. I go out and know that I will work at something that I love and totally passionate about. My motto is “Great events just don’t happen, they are created.” I am happy and content if I made my audience happy, they had a great time, and enjoyed themselves.