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Lights, Camera, Music: Behind the Scenes of DJUj

By Marina I. Jokic

James Mastrino, or DJUj as he is known professionally nowadays, wasn't always set on making a career in the music and entertainment service. His journey began more than two decades ago in the U.S. Air Force followed by a four-year stint as a postman at USPS. Mastrino felt that he was out of kilter somehow, and never really felt invested in any of his jobs. Thanks to one of his managers' candor and a friend's suggestion made in passing, Mastrino decided to give up the post office and pursue his true calling, emceeing.

With over 20 years of DJ experience under his belt, Mastrino today is one of Illinois' renowned entertainment providers for weddings, anniversaries, and many other parties. He has gathered over 400 5-star reviews on Wedding Wire, The Knot, Yelp, Google, and a few other websites. He attributes his success to good listening skills, never nickel and diming his customers, investing in the best equipment, and meeting with clients on a regular basis throughout the planning stages.

"I do not really have a 'style' of music that I use?it's more of a feeling [or vibe] that I get from the room, the people, and what, most importantly, the bride wants to hear," Mastrino said. "I was always very into music at a young age, was very well versed in all types of different music and customs while stationed in Europe, [and] I have a pretty sweet knack for Latin music as well."

In addition to providing the entertainment, DJUj can also recommend some of the most reputable vendors in town, from caterers to photographers and more. Mastrino also swears by his commitment to state-of-the-art equipment such as Yorkville, Shure, Mackie, and JBL to name a few. The exceptional attention to detail and his customer-first approach have propelled him to the top of the industry.

DJUj mainly focuses its energy on weddings and engagement parties, but can take on pretty much any type of event that requires music and entertainment. School dances, block parties, and bars are also on Mastrino's ledger. Unlike most other DJ companies, Mastrino is always the DJ at all of his events.

"You always get me and only me," Mastrino said. "I really love meeting with new couples [and] I love envisioning how the wedding will go and ultimately exceeding a couple's expectations to include not only being their DJ but their event coordinator and room designer."

In addition to music, Mastrino often finds himself installing uplighting and incorporating customized monograms for clients. DJUj has been emceeing for some families and their families for decades, building relationships with customers that have helped his company thrive throughout the years. Most fulfilling of all is seeing guests' faces light up when the entertainment and lighting is on the spot.

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