DJ Harvey Cornwell is one of those special people who’s always looking for the lesson. In an earlier career in the restaurant business, he learned about event coordination, which is clearly useful as a DJ. When he worked in a high school, he learned how to work with people and read crowds—also a key DJ skill.
So when it came time to learn the DJ business, he went right to the source, spending nights out at bars and clubs networking with the DJs, trying to find an “in.” And it worked! Harvey got the opportunity to help out with gigs and eventually take on his own jobs. Over the next 15 years, he honed his skills working at school dances, private events, bars and clubs, sporting events, and weddings on the Eastern Shore.
Never one to be passive or “just good enough,” Harvey spent those years learning more about music theory and strong structure. Now, he’s an expert at mixing and blending music together in fresh and unexpected ways. “I have always been a fan of music going back to the tapes and CD days,” Harvey says. And he gets to turn that love into a paid job.
When he’s out of the booth, Harvey is a basketball dad, coaching his son’s team in Ellicott City where they relocated a few years ago. You can spot the duo walking Paxton, their silver labrador retriever, around Old Ellicott City.
We asked Harvey to share some of his thoughts about DJ life with us. Get to know this new member of the Maryland’s DJ team!
Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.
What makes a great DJ?
A great DJ is someone that can relate to the crowd and curate a customized soundtrack to your event that will leave a lasting impression on your guests.
What’s your favorite local wedding venue and why?
I am originally from Kent Island, MD and one of my favorite venues is the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club. Their venue is beautiful, staff is amazing, and the sunsets over the bay are gorgeous.
Photo by Evergreen Photo
What’s your favorite thing about weddings?
My favorite thing about weddings is sharing in the happiness that brought these people together and seeing the love and admiration of all their guests.
If you were getting married this weekend, what would your first dance song be?
Beauty by Dru Hill.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding?
The craziest thing that I can mention without incriminating someone? That's a tough one! Some of the weddings that I have done at private residences on the Shore can get interesting. From farm animals making appearances to pizza delivery drivers joining us on the dance floor, you really don't know what to expect.
Who wouldn’t want this level of cute at their wedding?
What’s the best “little kid moment” you’ve seen at a wedding?
One thing that is always true is little kids love to run around and dance in the colored lights. At one of our weddings, we did a monogram light on the dance floor and there was a little girl that absolutely loved it. She sat in that light on the dance floor almost the whole night. Guests were walking and dancing around her. Didn't bother her a bit. She brought her toys out and had her own little party while the wedding was going on around here. It was very cute!
What's the most unique processional song you've ever played?
I don't know if this one would be considered unique but one of my favorites is The Piano Guys’ version of Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years. The melody and tempo make it a great processional song.
What do you think is the most overplayed wedding song?
One of the most overplayed wedding songs has to be Etta James’ At Last. Not that it's not a great song, but it wouldn't really bother me if I didn't get to play it anymore.
What’s one thing you wish people knew about working as a DJ?
It's more than just pressing play. There are a lot of moving parts that go on behind the scenes of an event like a wedding. A good DJ helps with coordinating the event to make sure that everything goes smoothly. I want our couples to enjoy time with their guest and know that their wedding is in good hands.
Exhibit A: Not the kind of good hands we’re talking about.
When you're not working, what kind of music do you listen to?
My favorite genres of music are Hip Hop/R&B, specifically 90s/2000s hip hop that I grew up on and EDM Pop remixes. I also like to listen to other DJ mixes on YouTube and MixCloud. It's a great way to get inspiration for my own events.
Look at that. Even when he’s not DJing, he’s still thinking about DJing. Love to see it.
You can work with DJ Harvey (or any of our other stupendous spinners) for your wedding, party, or corporate event. Just fill out our online form to let us know what and when, and we’ll match you with one of our professional DJs.
Friday, July 1, 2022