Let’s start with Ricky G’s celebrated ability: He can remember names like a savant.
At a DJ Expo a couple years back, people sat mesmerized as he stood up at a seminar and one by one called the names of everyone in the audience — more than 100.
It’s a unique talent, and Ricky G (born Rickhoven Gunter, Jr.,) who works for New Jersey-based Total Entertainment, uses it to full effect as one of the company’s prized MCs. We asked some questions and Ricky G was nice enough to answer.
DJ Times: Tell us about this ability you have, to remember names and faces. When did you realize you had it? How do you use it at events?
Ricky G: It was birthed from the understanding that if I am going to truly serve someone, I needed two things: 1) their name because it’s very personal to them, and 2) to get them to talk about themselves in a super-short period of time, so you can speak back to them according to what matters to them or interests them.
So during the cocktail hour of the event, I walk around and have short conversations with every single kid/child that at the event — to the point I have developed the uncanny ability to not think about stuff that matters to me while they are talking, but I listen with a purpose, so I can gather as much information that I can use to form a connection and/or serve them in a unique way.
I just took it and ran with it in a mind-blowing way, where in an hour or so, I can usually remember 100 to 200 of the kid guests’ names, as well as trivia stuff like… what sports and positions they play, where they are from, which friends they hang with, or who they have a crush on, or who their parent or kids are. I’ve trained myself to pay attention to “everything,” so I can hopefully use most of it later in the event to create a “wow moment” for a group or guest, or to simply say goodbye to a specific kid or adult by name at the end of the night!
I’m told you’re among the best interactive MCs in the business. Broadly speaking, what are some of the principles you live by? More specifically, what are two techniques you use to gain control of and keep the room?
That the event isn’t about me and my personal preferences; it’s about using my ability to remind past conversations and meetings before and during the event to put together or build a vision that not only matches their verbalized wants, but to oftentimes exceed their expectations with the knowing of all their kids’ guest names and some of their adult guest names also. Needless to say, if I know all the kids’ names, it’s easier for me to get them to listen, participate, and stop acting up and follow orders because they know that I know their name. They can’t hide or go off and do their own thing because I will know exactly who they are, and who did what! Ha-ha – poor kids.
You work at Total Entertainment – how did you get there?
Yes, I work for Total Entertainment… the company that I worked for 20 years was Double G Productions, which is the company that allowed me the freedom to reshape the way parties were done, and helped me make an incredible name for myself, as the guy who remembers all the kids’ names. It was bought out by Total Entertainment, so I was doing parties for both companies and, though the two companies split, I am still doing parties for both to this very day!
The last year has been difficult for many DJs and everybody else. How did you get through it, and did you spend the time getting better at what you do?
With absolutely no gigs, I used my ability to remember large amounts of personal information, and how to truly connect with people in a super-short period of time that was forged from doing high-end private parties and events all over the US. Also, I started a Relationship Life Coaching business, called Soap Box, Stand Up and Speak, were I go by the name, “GunterMan” and teach my “Life is All about Relationships” seminar and private video chatting sessions to people who want to build stronger bonds/connections with the person or people that matter to them most.
What are a few tips on how best to get along with event staff?
For my crew, I tell them that the key thing for me is for them to have fun, too, because you are going to see me acting silly and fun out there. Next, I describe to them what looks best on the dancefloor – group participation over long-term, single-person attention. I then ask them if they can help me to remember some of the client’s special requests, and to please tell me if my breath smells or if I have booger up my nose. And lastly, I never correct them during the party or after, and I make sure to make them a part of my opening speech the next time they are on one of my parties.
Now, if you are speaking about the facility’s staff, I introduce myself to them with you ginormous “bring down their defenses” smile – I’m known for my infectious smile. Then, I make myself available before cocktail hour to talk about their needs. I tell them I’m going to memorize all the kids’ names during cocktail hour, which usually gets a “yeah, right” or an “oh my God, I heard about you or saw you do that at so and so party.” It breaks the ice and makes them admire how hard I will be working during the event. And finally, I tell them that I’m following their lead and to just give me a five-minute warning to close out a set!
Describe the perfect gig.
A perfect gig for me is a party where the client – parents and the guest of honor – are all known for their ability to party hard, with a sweet injection of family love in the middle of the madness.
So… 1) their guests all come to the event knowing that they better be ready to participate 2) most people love to see some short display of family connection and respect/honor filled togetherness… that warm and fuzzy moment is a memorable “cherry on top” for the perfect gig.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Well, I tend to book two years in advance, but now with my relationship business taking off nicely, I see myself still traveling from New York to Cali and making clients’ dream events come true as Ricky “The Memory” G, as well as lending my life to the serving of the world as GunterMan, using skills developed from MCing to help heal hearts and mend family situations one relationship at a time.
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