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The untimely tragic death of lead singer of the Cranberries Dolores O'Riordan back on January 15, 2018 had me thinking immediately about taking things into a totally different direction for my next installment of the Charleston Wedding DJ playlist cocktail hour series. This next installment digs deeper into an early - mid 1990s alternative vibe that began to take over MTV as early as the late 80s, but was more prominent in the early 90s. Back in 1986, MTV began to air a show called 120 Minutes that featured more of an 80s alternative musical genre with the likes of New Order, Kate Bush, and XTC. By the early 90s, the show began to feature artists like Sarah McLachlan, the 10,000 Maniacs, and The Cranberries, as well as The Sundays.  I noticed back when these songs were released that it was a rather strong sub-genre that gained significant airplay, while grunge was doing it's thing over on the alternative radio stations. The songs included in this cocktail hour playlist possess a chill vibe, and are perfect for a cocktail hour over at the Historic Rice Mill while looking at the water, or even out on Kiawah right after your wedding ceremony out on the beach. For me personally, they conjure up thoughts of a burgeoning music scene here in Charleston that featured the likes of Hootie & The Blowfish, Edwin McCain, and Jump Little Children.  If you grew up and graduated from high school in the 90s and are planning a Charleston wedding in 2018 or 2019, this iteration of my cocktail hour playlist will take you back.

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Whether you are downtown on the water at the Historic Rice Mill, over on the other side of the river in Mt Pleasant at Harborside East, or right on the ocean having your ceremony on Seabrook Island, the soundtrack to your amazing day will make whichever beautiful wedding venue you choose and its scenery even better. Your wedding day should be one of the happiest days for you, your family, and your guests. There are numerous ways to ensure this is the case, but one of the top ways you can make this happen and have fun and happiness on your wedding day is great music, but not just great "tunes", but music that has an overall "happy-go-lucky" vibe to it.  They do say laughter is contagious, so why not create a playlist for your cocktail hour that breaks the ice for your guests after your wedding ceremony. Music that picks you up and makes you feel good and smile. When you sit down with your Charleston wedding DJ, let them know you want a cocktail hour playlist that gets people happy and primed for a night of dancing later in the evening.

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If I could narrow things down to one thing that is needed between brides and grooms and DJ in regards to the hiring and execution of their Charleston wedding it would be "communication". It is absolutely imperative that the bride and groom communicate what it is that they want when it comes to the creation of their soundtrack for what their wedding DJ will provide to them. Brides and grooms need to feel comfortable about who it is they are hiring too. As I've discussed previously and actually did some podcasting about, meeting your DJ is essential to the success of your upcoming wedding. When you meet your DJ (either in person or online via Skype-Facetime), you can begin to get a good idea of their personality, and it's important that you are on the same page. Brides and grooms need to remember that they are the boss of their wedding when it comes to the music, as they are the ones doing the hiring and writing the checks. When it comes to creating the perfect soundtrack for your wedding, when the bride and groom say "Jump", the DJ should pretty much say "how high".

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This is definitely a bit of an impromptu post for January 16, 2018. As I get deeper and deeper into this post, it's really too bad that it's not February 14, because the romantic music of Valentine's Day goes hand in hand with this lovely singer. I had logged into my Twitter account this afternoon @djmikebills and a friend of mine had posted that today is Sade's 59th birthday. It's really crazy how these things play out because I had begun planning a smooth jazz cocktail hour playlist that included a few Sade tracks, but I felt that since it was her birthday today that I should try to get a post up and online spotlighting her incredible work over the past 30 + years. Look for that smooth jazz playlist for your cocktail hour in the next week or so, but in the meantime I felt I would celebrate Sade's birthday because her music shows up very often on Charleston wedding playlists. Sade released her debut album back in 1984. "Diamond Life" sold over a million copies in the UK, and her music began to get airplay here in the United States.

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We've reached the middle of January now, and perhaps it's because the temperature only made it to 45 degrees today that I have caught myself numerous times today daydreaming about much warmer days. Reggae is definitely a genre of music that has me thinking of those carefree Charleston days of spring and summer. Reggae has it's origins dating back to the late 1960s coming from Kingston, Jamaica. Maybe it's the fact that the music came from that lovely tropical island that allows me to think about gentle summer breezes downtown at the Historic Rice Mill while at a wedding ceremony or maybe out at the Seabrook Island Club watching the sunset, and doing the same while out at the Creek Club at Ion, which might have the best sunset views in the entire Charleston area. Reggae seems to pop up quite frequently on many Charleston wedding playlists, but how about doing it for the entire duration of your cocktail hour? I love to mix things up for my clients and doing an all-reggae cocktail hour playlist would make for an amazing start to the music at your wedding.

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How does that Christmas song go? "Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful....." Those familiar lyrics from the oh so popular Christmas song "Let It Snow". Mother Nature did just that, only 9 days after the Christmas holiday. Here in Charleston, SC, which is one of the top wedding destinations of the country, snow is a rarity and usually happens (where it accumulates) about once every 8-10 years. Charleston might get measurable snow once every 8 - 10 years, but the stretch of very frigid temperatures that have accompanied the frozen precipitation are pretty unprecedented, and something not seen in over 28 years. The average high temperature in Charleston in January is 59 degrees, and since New Year's Eve 2017, the city has not been above 40 degrees. This is a cold streak not seen since December of 1989. Thankfully it's rare, and it'll hopefully be another 28 years until this happens.

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Today's post gets into the meat of creating the perfect wedding reception playlist for your upcoming Charleston wedding reception. It's a step-by-step approach and advice from a DJ himself. You are about to task your DJ with a pretty lofty goal; keeping your dance floor nice and full all night long. What makes this goal rather lofty is the fact that this DJ has not met any of your guests, so they don't know their likes and dislikes. It also is a lofty goal because no two weddings are the same. Each wedding has a wide variety of people of all ages, musical tastes, and etc. As a result, the playlist that gets created must incorporate a wider variety of dance-able and "familiar" music that spans multiples generations and satisfies multiple ages. For instance, if today I DJ a wedding and the bride is for instance, 25 years old, and her mom and dad are 50, it's a pretty safe bet that throwing some 80s classics are going to get them out on the dance floor. And, if her grandparents are also there, and they are 70, the DJ should be able to find some music so that they can also get a few dances in as well. These are all things that a professional wedding DJ needs to take into consideration. For me personally, the playlist should be mixed so that all guests get a chance to be dancing on the dance floor. If you are ready to begin planning your wedding reception dance music, then you are already halfway done if you have hired the right Charleston wedding DJ.

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2017 has seen some totally amazing wedding receptions all around the beautiful destination and city of Charleston. The year has seen it's share of fresh, danceable pop and rap hits, where a lot of the songs have strong enough legs to probably be mixed into more wedding receptions deep into 2018. While "Despacito" certainly exploded into the song of summer 2017 and broke You Tube records with views of nearly 4.6 billion, it was Ed Sheeran who was even more dominant on the charts all year with songs like "Shape Of You". And as the summer turned into fall, "Perfect" started to hit the airwaves,as well as at Charleston weddings and is now well on it's way to becoming one of the biggest songs of the year in 2018. As the calendar turns from 2017 to 2018, here are some of the best bets for the biggest songs that will be rocking the dance floors at Charleston weddings all year long.

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Well, here we are again and we are just 5 days away from the brand new year of 2018. It seems like just yesterday I posted about the tremendous loss we experienced in 2016. The good news is 2017 (at least with 360 days down) saw much less loss when it comes to our favorite musicians. The bad news is the lesser amount of musicians that passed still included some pretty iconic ones. Truth be told, if one person dies, that is one person too many.  We saw classic rock artists, R&B artists, as well as jazz artists pass way too soon. We also saw some big names in the modern and alternative rock genre pass as well.  Some of these artists that I'll spotlight you might not think would be played at weddings, but as I have found out in recent years that no two weddings are the same and there is a chance that a lot of these get thrown into a cocktail hour playlist or even a dinner music playlist. Remember when you are brainstorming for music that you would like to hear at your wedding reception, jot down a list of artists and when we meet, we can go through your list and begin to create that perfect soundtrack. Getting back to 2017 and the artists we've lost,  I will cross my fingers that I have not jinxed things and that we remain in the clear for the next 5 days and that we do not experience any more major loss of of life in the music industry.

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Happy Holidays to all my prospective brides and grooms! Where on Earth did 2017 go? It seems like just yesterday it was January 1 and we were just days away in getting ready and prepared for the inaugural Charleston Wedding Week. Tomorrow is December 1 and you cannot seem to go anywhere without hearing any Christmas music. We'll do a "best-of" Christmas blog post as we get a little closer to the big day so I can spotlight some of my Christmas favorites here at Mike Bills Entertainment.  Are you already a little burned out on hearing  those Christmas tunes? It seems like the moment we take off our Halloween costumes, we immediately reach for the mistletoe and skip over Thanksgiving all together. All this while temperatures are between 75 and 80 degrees in November. For me personally, I like a nice mixture of the traditional and contemporary Christmas songs, but let's wait a few more weeks before I go all out.

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Highly Recommend

DJ Mike delivered well organized and orchestrated results that made for a great wedding and reception! Couldn't have picked a better DJ to cover our event and truly appreciated his availability to pick up the job and execute in such a short time period. I highly recommend his services, overall great quality.

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Before choosing Mike Bills as our wedding DJ, we looked at several companies and DJs and looked over the reviews for all of them. We chose Mike Bills because of the overwhelmingly great reviews he got and I am so glad we did! They were all spot on! Mike was great to work with, quick to respond, came to our rehearsal to do a run through with us.

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Professional and Creative

Mike was kind, courteous, professional, and creative! We thoroughly enjoyed working with him for our destination wedding at Folly Beach. We gave Mike minimal guidance and he caught on to our "style" quickly and efficiently. Our guests are still raving about the music selections, and how they were a great balance of new tracks and standards for everyone to enjoy.

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