DJ KBK turns start at NAU dance into Flagstaff gigs
Story and Photos by: Devontae Browne
In Flagstaff, there’s a student who, after hitting the books during the day, hits the turntables at night.
Kenny Anderson, a public relations major at NAU who also goes by “DJ KBK,” has turned his start as a DJ at a campus event into multiple gigs around town.
“I first started as a disc jockey about two years ago at the NAU-sponsored ‘Black and White’ welcome back dance,” Anderson said. “That’s where I first made my appearance on the NAU campus.”
Jackson Richards, an RA at Sechrist Hall, said that the performance was very impressive.
“Kenny puts on a show not only for the orientees, but for the orientation leaders and anyone who has attended his event,’’ Richards said.
Inspired by his first successful DJ experience, Anderson decided that he wanted to continue working in the field.
“I like to make people have a good time and feel good doing it,” Anderson said. “Honestly, it is just about keeping the people happy and having them be in an energetic mood while being entertained to my music. I believe my ability and talent to get people of all ethnic backgrounds coming together for hours at a time is what really inspired me.”
Anderson said he has worked at Studio 111 — also known as “the Mad Italian” — and at Cinnabar Island. He has also done some work in Sierra Vista, Ariz.
Anderson explained that a disc jockey plays music all night long and gets the people in the mood to dance and enjoy the company of others while expressing themselves in certain rhythmic dances to the beat of any song.
“The purpose of a disc jockey is to get the people to have fun and express themselves freely and be fully entertained,” Anderson said. “Any person can gather people around, but only a disc jockey can get people there doing the same activity regardless of their social status. For instance, being a disc jockey at a bar: the drinks get people there, but the disc jockey is what gets the people to stay.”
Being both an up-and-coming disc jockey and a student, Anderson has learned how to manage the student aspect during the school year while balancing it with his career as a disc jockey.
“I used to be a student-athlete when I played football here for NAU during the 2008-2009 season,” Anderson said. “It is definitely a different balance now as a student and disc jockey. My job is deep in the nightlife party scene. I have to have great balance between school and being a disc jockey. Having a clear line between school and work has been very beneficial to both my school career with my on-the-rise career as a disc jockey as well.”
Many disc jockeys need to have a plethora of songs in order to effectively reach large crowds at events, day or night. As a disc jockey, the crowd is what supports you and wants boundless energy with great music non-stop.
“The first way I decide upon my song selection playlist is to read the crowd,” Anderson said. “My best quality is to know what the people want to hear. I am really good at song selecting, whether I am playing for a group of four people or a massive crowd of four hundred people. I give a thousand percent of me because, if they do or do not like the music, it reflects on me as a disc jockey.”
Both the semesters and the summer in Flagstaff bring events where disc jockeys are needed and wanted. Usually when special events are held — whether a house party, a sponsored event on campus or a night at a local bar or lounge — a disc jockey is necessary to add another element that people can remember.
“Not too many people know this, but there are different kinds of disc jockeys for certain events or occasions,” Anderson said. “Some are mixtape disc jockeys, some just like to do random clubs — they are known as mobile disc jockeys — and others are house party disc jockeys. There are disc jockeys who remain local.”
Anderson was very adamant about what the future holds for him and his career. He said his ambition and determination have gotten him this far in his life, and he has more endeavors to come.
“I want to be a traveling disc jockey,” Anderson said. “As an example, disc jockey Jazzy Jeff: he goes around touring from Europe, Asia and back to the United States. I want to travel everywhere putting on parties, promoting myself to get booked at all sorts of venues. In five years, I see myself doing a national, cross country tour across the United States spreading my name and doing what I do in the northern Arizona community, but on a grander scale.”