Below are Mike’s most recent blog posts. Click on the title to be taken to the full post where you can comment and share with friends!
- Hamilton Manor Wedding for Caitlin & Sean
It was our pleasure to provide entertainment and photography for Caitlin & Sean at the Hamilton Manor.
Dominic Sestito and Dave Perrone provided the MCing and music and they made sure everyone had a great time
Congratulations Caitlin & Sean!
- Our First Private Show of the Year is a Huge Success
We held our first Private Showcase last week at The Lobster Shanty in Point Pleasant and it was a huge success. We had over 35 couples in the room who came to check out everything we have to offer. And when I say everything I mean everything. Besides all of our top MCs, we also showed off every one of our event enhancements including our latest, Magic Sparklers. We also worked some new songs into our setlist with Phil Walsh leading everyone in the NYSNC dance moves of “Bye Bye Bye” and Thomas Williams getting a soul train line going to “The Perculator” because, the 90s rule!!!
Wanna thank Cyndi from Elite Digital Images for grabbing these awesome shots!
Here’s Tom performing bridal party introductions:
Enhance your grand introduction with our CO2 cannons!
Sarina belting out a beautiful rendition of “At Last” for the first dance
The Elite Entertainers getting the party started!
Here’s Alex Cameron getting everyone to “Wobble”
Phil Walsh bringing everyone back to the 90s with some NSYNC dance moves
Chris Monaco showing everyone “Apache”
- English Manor Wedding for Rachel and Scott
It was our true honor to provide the entertainment and photography services at Rachel and Scott‘s December wedding at The English Manor. Dan Fumosa along with Melissa provided the music and MCing and Lynn and Chris from Elite Digital Images took all the pictures.
Love these pictures from the ceremony! In order to get into the Holiday spirit Rachel and Scott used a lot of Trans-Siberian Orchestra for their ceremony and introduction music
So many great spots at the English Manor for outdoor shots. We’ve include a few of the pictures Lynn and Chris got in this blog. To see even more head to Rachel and Scott’s album on Facebook
After cocktail hour it was time for Rachel and Scott’s grand entrance. Look how excited they were
Rachel and Scott’s first dance was Chris Young’s “Who I Am With You.”
Dan tells us that two main things stand out about this wedding. 1- Rachel and Scott are Dream Theater fans (which is Dan’s favorite band and usually no one ever knows them) so Dan got to play a song from them during dinner (“Another Day”)2 Rachel sang “Defying Gravity” after dinner as a slow dance to open the dance floor. Here she is belting it out:
After the formalities it was party time!
- “Perfect” May Have Some Competition For Wedding Song of the Year
I wrote a blog recently analyzing Ed Sheeran’s song “Perfect” because, quite frankly, I assumed it would be THE WEDDING SONG of 2018.
But I’ve recently gotten a few requests for the Faith Hill, Tim McGraw duet “The Rest of Our Life” and I have to say, this could be a tight race.
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw have a lot going for them. First they are an actual couple (21 years married which is an eternity in the entertainment field). Plus they are pretty familiar with singing huge ballads. I’m old enough to remember when their duet “It’s Your Love” was a huge wedding song in the late 90s and McGraw’s solo effort “My Best Friend” has certainly been a popular first dance as well. The fact that Hill and McGraw sing a very pop influenced style of country music doesn’t hurt either (or is it a country influenced style of pop.) It means they appeal to country music fans without turning off non-country music fans. That’s pretty much the sound that Shania Twain helped perfect back in the day and it has helped so many artists out of Nashville win cross-over appeal.
So will “The Rest of Our Life” be huge wedding song?
Well, it’s certainly got all the elements. First of all, as I argued in the blog about “Perfect,” duets usually make the best first dances. And when it comes to the lyrics, they are as universally appealing as can be. I love the sentiment about growing old together (“If one gray hair shows, I’ll be fine. If my waistline grows, I’ll be fine”) with the added touch that “we’ll stay young for the rest of our lives.” In fact my only challenge with the song is the music video they released for it which starts with McGraw and Hill getting into an argument in the back of their limousine which results in Hill walking off in the rain. Sure they eventually make up but it’s an odd choice for a song that doesn’t speak at all about fighting and reconciling and is a far cry from a video that matches a romantic song’s lyrics perfectly (like say, John Legend’s “All of Me.”) Still, music videos are rarely played during a first dance so this shouldn’t hold the song back from contention for WEDDING SONG OF THE YEAR.
If I had to place my bets I’d say “Perfect” still has the better shot at being the most popular first dance of 2018 simply because it was out first and Sheeran’s duet version with Beyonce has already spent multiple weeks at the top of the charts. But it won’t be the runaway choice like I thought it’d be as recently as 2 weeks ago and if Tim McGraw and Faith Hill can nudge their way into contention I wonder what other artists can as well. The year is still young after all and who knows, maybe Justin Timberlake will have a great ballad on his soon to be released album Man of the Woods.
- Bridal Show at The Ocean Place
Yesterday we kicked off our 2018 Bridal Show season with a performance at The Ocean Place Resort and Spa in Long Branch. My mom was there taking some pictures on her iPhone so I’m sharing these in the blog and yes, there are more of me than one else on staff. That’s what happens when your mom is taking pictures!
If you’d like to come see us perform at a future bridal show click here to check our schedule
Here’s our setup before we began. Awesome job by Tom Monaco and Thomas Williams making us look so good!
Before the room filled we had a chance to take a staff shot
“Let’s Get Loud!”
- Sterling Ballroom at The Double Tree Wedding for Kelsey and Kevin
My 58th and final wedding of 2017 was literally around the corner from my house. The Sterling Ballroom at The Double Tree in Tinton Falls is a mile and a half from my home, in fact I jog by it regularly that’s how close it is. Kelsey and Kevin were a great couple to work with. They had a few specific requests but mostly left the music up to me and I did my best to keep everyone dancing all night!
Besides proximity to my home I love working at The Double Tree because the staff is so awesome and accommodating. Nemo is a great maitre d’ and everyone else there is easy to work with as well.
I also had the pleasure of working with Lynn and Angelina from Elite Digital Images. They got some beautiful pictures, a few of which I’ve shared here in this blog. To see even more head to their photo album on Facebook.
- English Manor Wedding for Brittany and Patrick
It was my honor and privilege to work with Brittany and Patrick at The English Manor last Friday night. We provided ceremony music as well as MCing and DJing for the reception and we helped everyone have a great time.
Brittany and Patrick were big Beauty and The Beast fans so going into dinner we played “Be Our Guest” and then we ended the night with “Beauty and The Beast.”
Congratulations Brittany and Patrick!
- Carriage House Wedding for Kelci & Ian
New Years Eve Weddings are always fun and special and Kelci and Ian’s at The Carriage House in Galloway was no exception.
Their DJ and MC Dan Fumosa tells us it was a great party! Kelci and Ian upgraded their package to include HD-TVs and Dan utilized them all night, with a good mix of (appropriate) music videos and also photos from the party that Jon Zemak captured. We’ve included some of those zap shots here in this blog. Please note these are not from our photography company. Dan also reports that the confetti cannons were a perfect way to usher in the new year.
- Is “Perfect” The Perfect Wedding Song?
Early last year I had my first request for Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect.“ It hadn’t been released as a single yet so I downloaded the song from Sheeran’s latest album and gave it a listen. I smiled ear to ear when I heard it because I knew from the first spin this song was going to be a huge wedding song. And I’m not trying to sound like a future-teller or anything, I think everyone who hears the song for the first time can recognize greatness. This is a ballad, a love song, that is great for just about any couple’s first dance. But as I’ve used it more and more I typically introduce it by saying the song is, “well, perfect.” But is it? Is there such a thing as a “Perfect” wedding song?
First of all, I’ve often felt that the best wedding songs are duets. Other than same sex weddings, I think when a first dance can have both genders represented, it makes for a better choice. So in my experience, songs like “It’s Your Love” , “Finally Found Someone” and “Just You and I” are some of the greatest first dances of the last 30 years. By the way, that last one makes the list because it was the Wedding Song at the very first wedding I ever DJed.
So “Perfect” obviously had its flaws until late last year when Sheeran teamed up with none other than Beyonce to release a duet version of “Perfect.” This is the version that I consider to be as near to perfect as you can get. Where the original was all from the male’s point of view, (“well, I found a girl” and “I found a woman”) the duet obviously changes the perspective with each singer. So Sheeran sings the “well, I found a girl” line while Beyonce changes the wording of verse two to “well, I found a man . . .”
But that doesn’t solve the issue of whether the song is “perfect” or not. And as close as this song comes, I have to say the answer is “no.” In fact, I’ve already worked with one couple that wanted me to make an edit to the song to eliminate two lines. The first is “’cause we were just kids when we fell in love.” That lyric is one that makes the song not universal for every couple. Not every couple started dating (or fell in love) when they were kids so if someone is going to analyze each and every word (something I advise couples not to do) that line can stand out for some. As can the line right after that, “I will not give you up this time.” That line implies that this is a relationship that has gone through a break-up and reconciliation. And while that’s not a bad thing, it’s not universal either.
As I’ve stated I don’t think couples should over-analyze ever single word of a song because when you start doing that you may wind up with an instrumental as a first dance because no song can tell your exact story. Still, with this song being the clear front runner for Next Big Wedding Song, I thought it was important to point out that, like many relationships, the song is GREAT but not PERFECT.
- Two Year End Mixes For Your Enjoyment
One of the things we pride ourselves on at Elite Entertainment is diversity or talent. We know clients have different expectations for their MC and DJ and we want to ensure that whatever your vision is, we’ve got someone for you.
This year we present two “Year End” mixes for your listening pleasure that demonstrate just that. I, (being the oldest on staff) have put together a very commercial mix. It’s an hour long and features 32 tracks that were all pretty popular on mainstream radio. Click the picture to hear my mix
Our second mix comes courtesy of one of our younger MCs and DJs, Alex Cameron. Alex loves all kinds of music, but he has a particular passion for EDM. On his off time he is often attending festivals where he dances till dawn to some of his favorite DJs. When asked about his mix he tells us:
“2017 had tons of consistently great music from the legends, and excellent new sounds from some newcomers that are poised for great things. I’m excited for artists like Illenium, REZZ, Kayzo, Gammer, K?d, Sullivan King, and many more. I split the mix into two parts because the original was 8 hours long. I like doing these year-end mixes to see how much i’ve improved on my mixing and music selection as well. I definitely mixed it up with all the different subgenres of EDM. Mostly dubstep, psytrance, bass house, house, progressive house, future bass, and big room in this portion. The second part is consisted of trance, psytrance, moombahton, hardstyle and future bass. Enjoy and be sure to check the second part and all the other pizza party mixes! Can’t wait for 2018!”
Click the picture to hear the first half of Alex’ mix (please note these are unedited versions – at events we always play radio-friendly tracks. So, um, don’t play this around the kids)
Happy New Year!!!
- Clarks Landing Wedding for Cory and Lauren
Here’s my recap of Cory and Lauren‘s wedding at Clarks Landing:
As the year winds down I only have a few precious weddings left so I tend to savor them. This was a special one for a number of reasons. First and foremost Lauren and Cory had very specific music requests and we worked very closely to get almost every single one of their 100+ songs played, crafting playlists for cocktail hour, dinner and of course dancing. And speaking of dancing, there was A LOT of it! Cory and Lauren’s guests really came to celebrate and it showed – with a packed dance floor all night.
Another reason this was a special night for me was working at Clark’s Landing. I love it there! The location, the food but most specifically the staff. From Kristen and Nicole to Don and Judy and the entire Clarks’ family, everyone is just happy and seems to genuinely love their jobs. And since I feel the same, it’s a match made in heaven.
On top of that, I got to work with Marissa from Heyn Photography for the first time in a long time. I used to work with Marissa’s dad John and it’s so cool to watch how one generation has moved on while another has stepped up. John was one of the icons in Wedding Photography in New Jersey and his daughter is well on her way to carving out a similar reputation. The pictures that you see in this blog are just a small sampling of her work. To see even more from this wedding click here for Cory and Lauren’s Facebook album and be sure to like their Facebook page to see even more of their great work.
And finally, for the second weekend in a row, we got snow! It made for some beautiful pictures and a perfect, pre-Holiday feel. And sure, loading out wasn’t that much fun, but I’ll take that trade off any day.
Lauren was very nice leaving me this awesome WeddingWire review
Congratulations Cory and Lauren!
- English Manor Wedding for Christine and Craig
We had the honor of providing DJ and Photography services for Christine and Craig at The English Manor on a beautiful, snowy day.
Jay Thomson and Coretta Doll provided the music and MCing. Here’s Jay as introductions began.
Lynn Monaco and Chris Smith from Elite Digital Images were entrusted with capturing all the pictures. We’ve included a few of the beautiful photographs they took that day in this blog. To see even more you can click here for their full album on Facebook.
A dusting of snow turned the English Manor into a Winter Wonderland
Here’s Christine and Craig’s first dance to the timeless “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis Presley
And then it was time to PARTY!!!
After the wedding Christine offered us this wonderful WeddingWire review
Congratulations Christine and Craig!
- Corporate Event at The Hollywood Golf Club in Deal
I got to MC and DJ this awesome event last week and for me, it was the culmination of events going full circle. Let me explain:
Eight years ago I had to have surgery on my left Achilles. It seemed all the running I was doing had caused some damage and I had to have it repaired. Then a few years later I broke my right leg (another running injury). Both times I went to Seaview Orthopaedic and Dr Aron Green made me whole again.
What does this have to do with DJing? Well last week I got to DJ for this awesome group. They were having their annual party and contracted us to provide sound, lighting, HD TVs and a photo booth. They had a 50s theme so we all dressed the part and played plenty of early rock and roll hits to get the party going. I even got to thank Dr Green in person for getting me back up and running after both of my injuries. Here are some pictures that John Zemak took:
- English Manor Wedding for Nicole and Craig
We had the honor and privilege of providing DJ, officiating and photography services for Nicole and Craig at The English Manor recently. They were a fantastic couple and the night was a complete success.
Nicole and Craig had entrusted me to be their officiant as well as DJ which was so awesome. I worked with them closely to craft their ceremony and things went so well that during cocktail hour one of their guests asked me if I was related to the bride or groom. When I said I wasn’t he said, “wow that’s amazing, you told their love story so well during the ceremony I thought you must have known them for years.” That was an extremely nice compliment. One of my goals when I officiate is to have a few laugh lines in the script. Brides and grooms can be nervous when they stand up there in front of their family and friends and I find that laughing can break that tension and set everyone at ease. I love these shots because they show I was able to accomplish that
Nicole and Craig happened to get married on the day of the first snow of the season. It was the perfect amount of snow because it didn’t hinder anyone’s transportation but it turned The English Manor into a Winter Wonderland. Look how beautiful:
And of course one of the things I love about working with the great photographers from Elite Digital Images is they always get some cool shots of me “in action.”
So what did Nicole and Craig think about their wedding? Good question! Here’s Nicole’s WeddingWire review:
- Best Songs of 2017
As 2017 wraps up I want to look back on the year and highlight the best songs, in my opinion, for our events. These are songs that were released this year (or late enough in 2016 that I consider them 2017 songs) and had an impact on my dance floors. You’ll notice many of these songs have a very cool, chill, lounge type vibe to them and that’s because that was the type of year it was. Most DJs will tell you, beats per minute and energy in songs are cyclical. We went through a number of years where almost everything was upbeat and very danceable and now, these past few years, the beat has been smoothed out and dance songs are a lot more chill.
“Despacito” (Remix Audio) Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber This was BY FAR the song of the year both commercially (16 weeks at #1) and professionally as it packed dance floors all summer long. When I think back on 2017 it will be remembered as the year of “Despacito.” Everything else was a distant second.
“Perfect” by Ed Sheeran Every once in a while a slow song comes along and you just know it’s going to be the next big wedding song. That was my reaction the first time I heard Sheeran’s “Perfect.” The lyrics are, well, perfect, and Sheeran is such a red-hot artist that anything he releases shoots right to the top. And if that wasn’t enough, he just recently released a duet version with Beyonce (you’ve heard of her, right?) I predict I’ll be playing “Perfect” as a first dance for quite some time.
“I’m The One” by DJ Khaled featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne: Besides The Year of Despacito, 2017 will also be remembered as The Year of DJ Khaled. He cranked out hit after hit and none had more impact for me than “I’m The One.” Maybe it was Bieber’s presence on the track but this one was in steady rotation for me most of the year.
“Something Just Like” by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay A match made in lounge heaven. “Something Just Like This” lived up to its all star billing and became a really big song for me this year. I usually used a remix to punch up the beat a bit and make it a little more danceable but either way, crowds always loved when I dropped this in and sang along to the catchy chorus.
“Strip That Down” by Liam Payne featuring Quavo I got my first request for this early in the summer and was happy with the way it worked. I got my hands on a remix shortly after and started working it into some sets. The vibe fits perfectly with most of the more popular songs of the year, sitting in that groovy, low 100 beats per minute range.
“Unforgettable” by French Montana featuring Swae Lee I’ll admit it. Earlier this year I got a request for “Unforgettable” and I played the Nat King Cole song. When the guest asked me again later in the party for “Unforgettable” I realized my mistake and dropped this in. I love the combination of dancehall and rap which makes me feel like I’m chilling Negril, my favorite beach in the world and soaking up some rays.
“Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran The year was only a few day old when Ed Sheeran made the unprecedented move of releasing two singles on the same day. One of those two songs was “Shape of You” which went on to become a huge seller and a very popular track at my events. The song is sexy and sultry and fits in perfectly with the tempo of most of 2017’s biggest songs.
“Mi Gente” by J Balvin & Willy William I used this one often this year as a follow up to “Despacito” and it worked very well, keeping that cool Latin vibe going while picking up the tempo just a bit. The hook is infectious (it’s actually repurposed from Willy William’s solo track “Voodoo Song”) and it makes for a memorable song.
“Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B It takes a lot of editing to make a song like “Bodak Yellow” radio and event friendly so if it sounds like every other word is dropped out of this song it’s only a slight exaggeration. Still, I love the Cardi B’s story (from stripper to the top of the charts) and when you know her background the lyric “I don’t dance now I make money moves” takes on a whole new meaning.
“Rockstar” by Post Malone featuring 21 Savage Another song that takes a ton of editing to make radio or event friendly. This song recently sat at #1 on the charts for a few weeks and it’s been highly requested at my events. There is zero energy in its 80 beats per minute but the combination of hip hop and trap make this a perfect song for 2017. And with Post Malone’s followup “I Fall Apart” also climbing the charts I think we’ll be hearing a lot from this rapper / producer
“Slow Hands” by Niall Horan In a year of songs that simmered rather than boiled over, nothing was steamier or sexier than this one. Horan delivers the lyrics perfectly, delivering a message of sexual urgency that comes through loud and clear. And I love that nothing in this song needs to edited or bleeped, proving you can get sexy without being explicit.
“Body Like a Back Road” by Sam Hunt It’s not often you can describe a country song as sexy but Hunt’s record breaking song (30+ weeks at #1 on the Country charts!) fits that bill and it’s one I played often this year.
“What Lovers Do” by Maroon 5 featuring SZA You wanna feel old? It’s been 15 years since Maroon 5 burst on the scene. And in that time Adam Levine and company have proved there’s no genre they won’t take a crack at. This year, fittingly, it was a pop song with a beat that matches most of 2017’s offerings. “What Lovers Do” was released in the late summer and as I write this it’s still climbing the charts so I think this one will be around for a while.
“24K Magic” by Bruno Mars I’m cheating a little bit by putting this on my list because it was released in November 2016 but I really didn’t start dropping it regularly till this past winter. It’s not as catchy as “Uptown Funk” but it’s pretty close and of all the new Mars songs, this one’s been my most consistent dance-floor-filler.
“You’re the Best Thing About Me” by U2 The boys from Dublin released this in September as the lead single to their album Songs of Experience and I immediately got my hands on a remix that punches up the beat to a very danceable 124 BPMs. The lyrics are just perfect for a wedding and I’ve been dropping this with success at my most recent events.
“Young Dumb & Broke” by Khalid Alright, I’ll be honest, I didn’t rock too many dance floors with this one. I only played it a handful of times at events this year. So why is it on my list? Because I LOVE it! I actually love Khalid’s entire debut album (American Teen). The kid’s an amazing talent and he hasn’t even turned 20 yet.
Well there you have it. That’s my list. And to hear these songs (and more) mixed together, click here to check out my Best of 2017 mix.