Bedford teen turns tables on job market, starts DJ business
Spenser Hukill, 16, works at an event using his computer. The Bedford teen started his own DJ business last year. (COURTESY)
Sixteen-year-old Spenser Hukill of Bedford got his own DJ business off the ground last year, and he says word-of-mouth recommendations have earned him steady business.
Hukill said he started mixing music in the eighth grade.
"I was just messing around on my own at first, then I realized it was a lot of fun," he said.
He put together playlists, using his computer, and mixed some songs to provide the music for his parties, but it was after acting as DJ at his 16th birthday party last winter that he realized he could do it professionally.
"I've just started getting a good number of gigs," he said, starting with parties for friends, then friends of those friends. "Word of mouth really got my name around."
Hukill listens to a variety of music on his own time, including classical, heavy metal and electronic and techno. He said his eclectic music library contains 20,000 songs and he has access to thousands more, so finding the right music for his clients isn't a problem. He asks clients to offer up a list of 20 of their favorite songs, then builds on that selection, compiling three to five hours of music.
Starting a business can be expensive, and Hukill is keeping costs down by borrowing speakers, and continuing to use DJ software on his computer to assist with the mixing.
"I haven't been able to afford a high-end controller yet, but that just makes it easier for me. It doesn't affect the sound," Hukill said.
Cheryl Bartolucci of Goffstown found Hukill's ad on Craigslist when she was looking for a DJ for her daughter Samantha's birthday party.
Bartolucci said she was initially surprised Hukill was so young, but she found him to be professional and courteous, developing playlists by email and meeting with her to plan the event.
"He was so polite and professional, and everyone had a great time," she said, and has been referring Hukill to other parents.
Bartolucci said Hukill's price was reasonable, which Hukill said is done intentionally.
"Since I'm just starting out, I'm pricing a little lower," he said.
Hukill charges $210 for the first three hours, and $35 for each additional hour, but always makes sure he has enough music for party-goers to dance the night away.
"I always have a selection to cover the amount of time I'm playing for," he said.
That selection includes mixes he puts together himself.
"Seeing people react to something I've written or put together is indescribable," he said.
In his spare time, Hukill is involved in theater at the Derryfield School, where he is a junior. Between school, friends and music, his plate is nearly full. "Music is becoming my life right now," he said.
Hukill said he plans to incorporate music into his future, and is considering music production as a career.
"But I'll definitely keep deejaying on the side," he said. "That might help me get through college."
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