Fulltime mobile DJ Chris Loyd of Loyded Productions took an unusual route to get to his current position as a successful DJ in Music City, Nashville, TN. Starting out as a sports announcer and then spending time as a stand-up comedian, Chris discovered DJing by accident a little over a decade ago, but since then has excelled at what is clearly his true calling in life.
Born and raised in Eastern Iowa, Chris grew up in the Amana Colonies for almost fourteen years. His father had a distinguished career in radio that lasted over twenty-five years, serving as the long-time host of WMT’s Open Line and a number of other popular programs. Chris has found memories of these early years and even credits his dad’s career for helping give him the confidence to get to where he is today. “I would sit alongside him during his show,” Chris told us. “That was so much fun. My dad definitely deserves credit for me being comfortable behind a microphone today.”
After Chris’ father retired, the family moved to Western Kentucky to fulfil his mother’s dream of living by a lake and owning a pontoon boat. That was where Chris attended High School before heading to college at Austin Peay in Clarksville, TN, where he planned to major in Broadcast Communications. However, it soon became clear that college wasn’t for Chris and he eventually found himself in Nashville, TN, which has been his home ever since.
“I love Duran Duran and if I could spend a whole night playing nothing but ‘80s, I would be very happy.” – Chris Loyd
Unlike many DJs, whose stories start with music, Chris’s journey began as an Emcee for sporting events, which he started at the age of just seventeen. “My first gig was announcing the starting lineups for my high school’s basketball games,” he explains. “I would play ‘Sirius’ by the Alan Parsons Project from a cassette player (dubbed from CD) plugged into the gymnasium PA system. I studied a lot of boxing announcers, including the legendary Michael Buffer. The end result was something like Michael introducing the 90s era Chicago Bulls! That’s probably where the public speaking bug bit me.”
The next step for Chris as a public speaker was to enter the world of stand-up comedy. By the time he was settled in Nashville he had become an established comic and was soon performing, as well as hosting, at several of the city’s comedy shows. And that was where he fell into the world of mobile DJing.
“I kept bumping into this guy, Cody, who was always setting up or tearing down gear from his karaoke shows,” Chris told us. “I thought I was doing a lot of shows, but he seemed to be everywhere! We soon became friends and started to share stories from our experiences of performing. Then, out of the blue, one night he said, ‘Man, I don’t know what your schedule is like, but one my DJs just got his fifth DUI, so I have some work for you if you want it?’”
Always up to a challenge, Chris thought he’d give it a go and soon found himself busy presenting music trivia contests, hosting karaoke nights, playing music for instore promotions and DJing at corporate events, private functions, pool parties and wedding receptions. “It wasn’t long before I was doing it fulltime,” enthused Chris, “and, except for the karaoke (in my mind, if eating liver had a sound, it would sound like karaoke!), I loved it. DJing allowed me to incorporate my passion for performing live with my passion for music played at a very loud volume!”
While initially still performing stand up, Chris’ perspective on life soon changed when he found out that he was about to become a dad. “I had to make some financial-based decisions,” he told us, “which unfortunately meant sidelining one of my passions, and that was stand up. I decided I had to focus on DJing as I felt that it would allow me to earn a better living to support my family.”
Having learned a lot from Cody, and having paid his dues performing at all kinds of events working for his multi-system business, Chris decided that it was time to start his own mobile DJ business, which was when Loyded Productions was born. “We are still very good friends and, even though I’m doing mostly my own thing now, I’ll always be grateful to him for all that he taught me. Not only did I learn what to do, but also what not to do, especially when it came to the technical side of the craft.”
Loyded Productions is now a well-established DJ, Emcee and lighting supplier in Nashville. As well as providing his services for all kinds of private parties and events, Chris also DJs five nights a week for the Strike & Spare bowling centers in Middle Tennessee. “The shows are called The All Request Night Radio Network,” explains Chris. “They have a radio styled format incorporating requested music and prize giveaways throughout the night. Bowlers can either make requests in person or via the show’s Facebook page. I like doing this a lot, it’s very interactive and keeps me very busy. The shows also give me the opportunity to showcase what I can bring to private bookings.”
"My biggest piece of advice would probably be general, for any situation, and that’s to be polite! Always remember that the clients are the ones who are providing you with an income. If you listen to your client and play what they want you to play, good things are going to come out of it." – Chris Loyd
Famed around the globe for being the home of country, we were interested to know what it’s like being a DJ in Music City. “DJing in Nashville is almost like acting in LA,” Chris told us. “One way or another, almost everyone I meet is connected to the music industry. There are a lot of bands around, as well as lots of other DJs, and I mean A LOT! But there are also a ton of opportunities to entertain and make a living. Another thing about working in Nashville is that you will be more than likely to work with a celebrity. When that happens, it’s important to set aside the star struck syndrome and focus on the job at hand. I remember one time a venue I was doing a show at had Uncle Kracker perform a surprise solo set. I was introduced to him and filled in what was going to go down and I was like ‘who?’ He liked that! I love Nashville and wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. It’s also very centrally located, making for easy travel north, east, west and south. But, Nashville is full right now, so please don’t move here!”
Being based in a famous city has also generated work for Chris that wouldn’t be available anywhere else. “I was ‘DJ Nashville’ for the first two seasons of ABC’s TV show Nashville,” he told us. “My hands – while DJing – even made an on-screen appearance! My main role, though, was to entertain the extras, upwards of eight hundred at times, and keep them occupied and excited between takes. They were long days and nights, but I got to meet some great people, stars of the show from both on screen and behind the scenes. I’m also the ‘Official DJ’ for Star Struck Fan Events, which feature lots of the stars of Days Of Our Lives. I remember setting up my first show for them when out popped Eric Martsolf who plays ‘Brady’ and then Bryan Dattilo, ‘Lucas’, and countless other stars. I was like NO WAY!! Yes, I don’t miss an episode!”
When it comes to his own musical tastes, you may expect country to be Chris’ thing, but it’s actually classic ‘80s music that he loves. “I really am a huge fan of the ‘80s,” he told us. “I love Duran Duran and if I could spend a whole night playing nothing but ‘80s, I would be very happy.” Obviously, as a mobile DJ, he’s happy to play any genre of music and has found that ‘Tequila’ by the Champs back to back with ‘Fireball’ by Pitbull works well, as does the theme tune to the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ mixed into ‘Apache’ by Sugarhill Gang.
Outside of DJing, Chris is also a busy guy. He is very active at his son’s school, volunteering on a weekly basis, as well as serving on the board of the PTO. He is also the Middle Tennessee Representative for the Tennessee Smoke Free Association that advocates for tobacco harm reduction. As you can imagine, together with a busy work schedule, this means that Chris never has a spare moment. “Thank God for the internet and the ability to watch TV after it airs!” he joked.
When asked to offer some advice for up-and-coming DJs, Chris had plenty to share. “My biggest piece of advice would probably be general, for any situation, and that’s to be polite! Always remember that the clients are the ones who are providing you with an income. If you listen to your client and play what they want you to play, good things are going to come out of it. It’s ok to have an ego, you’d be boring if you didn’t, but keep it in check! Learn as much as you can. I’m still learning; but the more I learn, the more I grow as a DJ and as a business owner. Also, treat fellow DJs with respect, as you would expect from them. Stay positive, and keep an open mind. Lastly, use ADJ Lighting for your events! Their products and customer service is out of this world and they will literally go out of their way to assist you and help you grow. And, lastly I would say 'Hit 'em with the Hein!”'
Rather modestly, Chris sums up Loyded Productions as, “a small business, with big dreams”. In fact, he is humbled to be asked to feature in the ADJ NewsWave. However, with clear talent, a great work ethic, a busy diary and lots of happy customers, we’re sure that Chris will not only achieve those dreams but surpass them as he continues to bring his unique brand of DJ entertainment to the parties of Music City, USA.
For more information on Loyded Productions and Chris Loyd or to connect with him on social media, follow the links below.
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