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Roxbury, N.J. – Artem Lomaz, owner of NinetyThree Entertainment, is a two-time winner of DJ Expo’s “Entertainer of the Year” competition (2018, 2019), so we asked the Jersey-based jock for some insights he’s gained. He offered plenty more than that.

DJ Times: Were you confident going into the 2019 competition as a reigning champion?
Artem Lomaz: I’m honored to be part of a small list of multi-time winners. I was confident in my concept and presentation. I felt that I had a win-worthy concept, but also knew that the competition is not cumulative, so anything in the past is exactly that, in the past. There’s certainly an advantage to having been in the competition previously, as you somewhat know what to expect. But it’s certainly possible to achieve victory without that — as many have.

Tell us about what you had learned about the scoring and how you devised a routine for it.
The competition is certainly a showcase of MC skills, but it is also designed to be educational. What I mean by that is that, not only are the competitors looking to display their hosting talent, but we are also teaching concepts that will engage an audience. So when conceptualizing, I think of what would encourage audience engagement and participation, and is it something that other entertainers could use for their events, with their own personalities.

What cool things did you see from your competitors?
Every competitor brought something unique to the table. Every year, the bar of showmanship is raised. I loved seeing the brilliance of some performances, the winning over of the audience from others, and I have to say that I was slightly jealous of the performers that executed wardrobe changes. I don’t know if anyone archives the competitions or keeps track of the statistics, but I’d have to say that the “2019 Entertainer of the Year” competition was likely one of the top-tier ones from the first competitor to the last. The interaction and participation level from the audience seemed to be at an all-time high.

Let’s talk a bit about what’s going on: How has your business been impacted by the pandemic?
My business has been impacted by COVID as much as our entire industry has been. I choose to focus on the positives and have an outlook of gratitude; once this is all in the past, celebrations will have that much more meaning for everyone.

Have you been able to pivot in some way?
As an MC, there have been some virtual opportunities, but I’ve found that my pivots have really been more internal. Reassessing goals and evaluating what lies ahead has fueled some projects that I’m excited about.

What have you been doing in the downtime?
I’ve taken this time to focus on various elements of the business that usually find themselves taking a back seat to events. Marketing concepts, promotional strategies, etc. I also took the time to finish off a personal passion project — a children’s book, and proceeds from sales go to a pediatric non-profit. The downtime is minimal… by choice.

Has the pandemic changed your opinion on the DJ business?
No. Industries evolve when needed, and I’ve seen the event-entertainment industry morph into so many different things during this pandemic. We were already experiencing a focus on smaller, more unique and experiential events, and this certainly expedited the trajectory. Brands, businesses, people — we all evolve and with the event entertainment industry full of creative minds, we’ll always find a way to make progress.

Looking back, how has winning the DJ Expo’s big prize in consecutive years impacted you? What’s next?
I’ve been extremely fortunate to have competed in the “Entertainer of the Year” competition. It’s always an honor to share the stage with some of the world’s top event MCs, and I cherish the experience. I’ve had the pleasure of winning, and retaining the title. I have an opportunity to expand further into speaking and educating within our industry and, for that, I’m honored as well. We’ll see what the future holds.

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