Gatekeeping: Kenneth Francis



Curating the musical stylings for Asia's highest dusk to dawn nightclub is no mean feat. Despite it's difficulty Kenneth Francis has been doing an amazing job for Bar Rouge, located on the 71st Floor of Swissotel The Stamford in Singapore.


Kenneth's love for all things Soul, Funk and early Motown, listening to the likes of Al Green, Parliament Funk and many other artistes at a young age has enforced the artistry and versatility of the DJ he is today. His present day sounds consists of an eclectic mix made up of Afro, Funk/Soul, Latin and he’s just as comfortable playing to a dance floor, covering House, Tech House and Techno genres. With a span of almost 30 years musical experience under his belt, his inimitable ability of reading the crowd and innate sense for music selection has seen him holding residencies in various reputable club establishments like Café Del Mar, Barfly, Ministry of Sound (SG), KU DE TA (SG), Kyo (SG, KL), CÉ LA VI (SG), Potato Head (SG).


ADM: What do you look for when booking a Guest DJ?


KF: Firstly, I align and curate acts, local or International, based on the identity and direction of the Club followed by the demographics. I don't let personal choices in music genres affect my bookings.

That being said, what I look for in a DJ is his or her versatility and showmanship reputation.



ADM: What can an up-and-coming DJ do to increase their chances of being booked by a prestigious club like Bar Rouge?


KF: A general rule of thumb for securing slots in clubs is to put yourself out there, go to gigs/parties/nights that other DJs are playing, show your support, get to know people and the staff/management of the clubs that you want to play in. It will be easier to have your mixtapes heard.



ADM: Becoming an entertainment manager is quite a big step up from just being a DJ as well, what does it take to become one, especially at a big club like Bar Rouge? 


KF: It's a learning process everyday even with experience. You will need to know the different music genres and styles of DJs locally and internationally. You will have to work closely with the marketing department, know the trends and how it affects the market.

Last but not least understand/learn how to work with a budget.



ADM: What would you like to say to any new DJs who are trying to get their first gig?


KF: In Singapore, we have mobile DJs that work with event companies.


Start with that, it teaches you a lot and make you work with different music genres, and then find your own niche or what you like to play personally.


Being a mobile DJ helps you technically as well, troubleshooting your own equipment instead of relying on technical staff.


Most new music types samples music from the past. Do your own research, it helps a lot in creating your own sound.


Striving to find your own style in playing is the key, and not sounding like every DJ out there.


Practice as much as you can...


Also, if you think you play well at home, it does not equate to playing well in a club. 


Do not take short cuts which a lot of people tend to do, it will show in your DJ sets.


Lastly, have fun and don't take yourself too seriously.


Be sure to catch Kenneth at Bar Rouge alongside his other resident DJs for a night of the best beats 71 floors above ground.



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