Today we’d like to introduce you to James Barr.
Hi James, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Well, that’s a loaded question for sure.
I guess it all started when I was about 6-16 backward couple skating and playing truth or dare in the snack bar at the local Skating Rink. I also rolled with the Jocks from my soccer and baseball hay days. And I even hung with the Skaters, Wallflowers and Beatles Maniacs. And that was just in Florida. After my parents divorced, I moved to Colorado with my Dad. Then my rave, grunge, and hip hop days followed. Suffice it to say, I was doomed to be an entertainer from the word Go.
In college and in my later professional life, event planning became like a magnet to me. I wanted to do it, and everyone else wanted me to do it. I met my wife working with youth and college students. After our wedding, I thought about how terrible our DJ was. And while I returned to finish my degree, I noodled on what might be next for me. Once having our beautiful daughter, Logan (named after Wolverine), that career track decision timeline moved up a bit.
I knew I could not only Host an elegant event with more class than that guy, but I could read just about any crowd when it came to cuttin’ some rug! [Can I intentionally age myself with Dad jokes and not portray myself as too uncool for this line of work?] Anyhow, one thing led to another and Raise the Barr Entertainment started growing faster than any DJ business in the area. I believe this is due to one factor: I have yet to trust another DJ to represent my brand. I just haven’t found someone who can plan a wedding, host professionally, and ‘get down on it’ when the time is right.
All my clients know they’re getting the same guy all my reviews speak about. RTB may never be as big as some of the larger guys, but my clients always know they’re getting a consistent product and personal experience. Reading a review from a bride that felt I made her day magical fills my bucket to get through another year in this great City!
Since making a presence, I’ve including a Photobooth, Karaoke, and even a Coordinating arm of the business. In fact, on occasion I’ll even build a custom arch for an outdoor Ceremony or donut wall for a fun dessert idea. I’m a jack of all trades, and I love going above and beyond for the awesome couples who trust me with this amazing moment in their journeys.
My dream would be to become the local Ryan Seacrest at a premier event venue. Either that or to one day own a place to host my own events. Though I’d take a radio DJ gig if anyone’s offering. Lol. My roots with my family are here in Kansas, and have been since 2012. I hope to keep making memories here in one way or another for many years to come. Thanks for taking the time to read my story. Maybe I’ll see you on the dance floor.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Oh, definitely not. In fact, if I didn’t double my income each year for my first three years, I would probably have quit. That’s the time frame it takes most start-ups to turn a profit. Having results like that sent a strong message I was on the right track. As for struggles, they were there as well. When I started, I was what I call a Craigslist DJ: Free listing, 3-$400 a pop. While I was learning, I knew immediately it wasn’t a great fit. I’ve never been a club DJ and magical mixologist, but in nine years I’ve only lost one client to that fact. Most weddings need a DJ who MC’s with professionalism and knows when to play their jam… not to mix The Chainsmokers into a Bruno Mars song. I’ve had a handful of Bridezilla’s and even a few Groomzilla’s (of whom I empathize), but going above and beyond for each client has ensured me a mostly smooth road since those Craigslist years and steady growth as someone to trust. I am a Wedding DJ and Coordinator. I know weddings, and staying in this industry has served me well.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
It was hard to choose which category fits me best, but I’ve always considered myself a Creative. I discovered years ago that I’m a natural entrepreneur. And my friends discovered that I’m an extrovert. Those two things merged nicely as I became a professional event planner and youth leader later in life. Creating Raise the Barr Entertainment was such a validation, and it provided me opportunity to discover new ventures. I soon built my Photobooth, then added Karaoke and a Monogram light service. When Covid hit, I took up more woodworking, building dressers, tables, and eventually wedding woodwork. I do vintage signage, arches, and even a donut wall. I dream of bigger ventures like my own venue, a Bed & Breakfast, or growing the woodworking business. For now, I’m happy creating lasting memories on epic occasions for awesome couples in the great Kansas City!
So what sets me apart is probably me. All my clients get me. I don’t mean to say I’m the greatest by any means. But I am consistent, versatile, and very personal in my approach to excellence for all my clients! And I’ve found that’s a comfort to them. When the other guys won’t promise which DJ they’ll send, or change things up even a little to meet a unique need, they come to me. I will always love being that kind of person and professional.
What does success mean to you?
Oh, that’s tough. You can’t deny that money is a factor if we’re speaking in the context of career. If I’m able to provide for my family and plan for their future security while doing a few fun things along the way, then I’m pretty happy. But success for an individual is more personal than their lineage. It’s about our legacy. What do we want to be known for? I think if you discover that, then you’re halfway there. For me, I want to be known as a strong man, who was also kind, who loved God and loved people. I want to be a safe place for those in need, and never to stop dancing or laughing. What else is there?
- $800 (minimum for a decent wedding DJ
- $1200 (average for a decent wedding DJ)
- $3-$400 (Stay clear, unless it’s just a party)
- $400-$600 (50/50 risk)
- Email: Raisethebarrdj@gmail.com
- Website: RTBDJ.com
- Instagram: RaisetheBarrDJ
- Facebook: Facebook.com/raisethebarrentertainment
- Twitter: RaisetheBarrDJ
- Youtube: Raisethebarrdj@gmail.com
- Other: SdipKC.com