Teen DJ turns love of music into professional gig

In this Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019 photo, Gunner Welch, 14, also known as "DJ Gunns," DJs in the living room of his family's Port Huron, Mich., home. (Brian Wells/The Times Herald via AP)

By JEREMY ERVIN
Times Herald
AP Member Exchange
PORT HURON, Mich. — Speakers standing on each side of a lighting rack blasted Timmy Trumpet’s music through the living room of the Welch family’s Port Huron home.
Gunner Welch, 14, first got into DJing about a year ago. His family moved from Las Vegas to Port Huron fairly recently. He loved music and started DJing as a hobby with two speakers and a laptop. But his setup grew from there, and his hobby turned into a business.
“You know, this is quite fun, why not try and make a little money off it?” he said to the Times Herald.
He performs as DJ Gunns.
Gunner got his big break performing at last year’s Port Huron Chilly Fest and more gigs followed. He does weddings, dances and other events. As his business grew, so did his rig. His two speakers and a laptop now include a second computer, lights, the frame that holds up the lights and more.
Gunner caters to a wide variety of audiences that include his classmates, senior citizens and anyone in between. He adjusts his playlists accordingly, tailoring it to the client’s tastes.
Once he did a wedding where the bride and groom wanted to do their first dance to two songs: “Then” by Brad Paisley and “I Only Wanna Be With You,” by Volbeat. Gunner figured out a point in songs to switch off from one to the other. He ran it by the couple and they liked it, and the mix became their first dance.
Welch sometimes spends six or seven hours before a gig figuring out the playlist, running it by the client, and making edits. Top 40 pop hits are usually a favorite, but his selections run the gamut.
“I did my high school homecoming dance and they wanted more of the hip hop and techno stuff,” Welch said. “It all depends on the clients and what they like.”
Through the business, Gunner has learned lessons on managing money and working with clients. He said it’s important to keep some money in the bank in case some of his equipment breaks.
Melody Day hired the teen to DJ a Masquerade Dance for her Girl Scout Troop.
“It’s for girls to have some fun and blow off steam in a safe environment,” Day said. “Mostly dancing, refreshments.”
She said she heard about Gunner through word of mouth and was impressed with the way he carried himself. “He sounded very professional,” Day said.
Gunner’s mother, Canon Welch, said she didn’t know how much work went into DJing until she started playing the role of roadie for her son.
“It just seemed easy and when I realized how much work it is and how much time he puts into it,” she said. “There’s a lot to it.”
Overall, he’s received a good response, she said.
“There’s been a lot of support from the community and people attending the events.”