As Finer Touch Entertainment, a DJ and event entertainment company, celebrates 30 years of success and countless priceless memories made, owner and founder, Harold Johnson, reflects on his beginnings and all that Finer Touch has accomplished.
Since Harold Johnson can remember, he’s had a passion for music. In the beginning, he could have never guessed that this passion would lead to 3000 plus successful events and an amazing business composed of a talented and diverse crew known as Finer Touch Entertainment.
Finer Touch isn’t just focused on DJing and playing hits, but creating a unique, high-energy, and amazing entertainment experience that you and your guests will remember for years to come. If you can dream it, Finer Touch can do it. With such a diverse and talented crew of industry professionals, Finer Touch guarantees entertainment that’s catered to your needs, wants, audience, and culture.
I can’t ask for better people… what I’m doing is not just a company that pays people money to work. It’s a movement, it’s a thing, it’s a thing of beauty and it comes from the love and collaborations from a lot of really talented people.Harold Johnson
Learn more about Harold’s beginnings and his hustle in his own words below! (This is part 1 of a 3 part series on Finer Touch’s impact).
The early years
My DJ career probably started before you could call it a career. Since I was a little kid, I have had a passion for music. I had a Fisher-Price record player that played real records and somehow I came upon this bag of 45 records from my aunt or my cousin. I’d be in my room just playing records for hours and dancing. And this was like late 70s music, disco. I mean, my mom was very into music and every Saturday morning, she was cleaning the house to Donna Summer and Lou Rawls and all these people who were huge at that time. And that’s where my musical influence came from. When I’d be in my room playing these records and people thought “oh, cute, he’s playing”, but it just manifested itself into this vision.
Cultivating a Passion
Through high school, I got a little money for one turntable and then I bought a used mixer, used my mother’s turntable, they mixed match and just looked crazy, but I would be there for hours just with it, cultivating it as my hobby, my passion, and my love.
I went to college, started getting paid a little money to do it, wanted more, and then fast forward to my sophomore year where I walked into an office to get a job for a large company doing weddings and private events. I started working with them every weekend through college and even after, also building my business slowly because I wanted to provide an upscale entertainment service for people of color as well because naturally, I come from that demographic. And the music I grew up on is what people wanted…So fast forward through hundreds of parties and growing and all of that, here we are at celebrating 30 years professionally and over 3000 events in total.
Definitely hustle. That is the perfect word for it because it was very much an analog world. So you went to bridal shows, you handed out paper material, and you had to manually enter everything into a spreadsheet. You could do all this on your phone now and you had to sit there and type it in, and then you had to smile and dial. There are times I called 200 people and then called them again, set up a physical in-person appointment, have them come in.
I had a temporary office in Manhattan, but I lived in Westchester. I’d get on a train, go for the appointment, and sometimes they wouldn’t show up. That was half my day for one appointment, but I did that to make it closer to them so that it could happen. And basically, I did all the things that other people wouldn’t do. You want to talk on a Sunday? No problem. You want to talk on a Monday night? No problem. I did what I had to do to accommodate the clientele so I could show them I was willing to go further than anyone else.
Turning a dream into reality
It’s interesting at 30 years the vision has actually come true. I wanted to create a team of elite entertainers that could provide a wide range of music for anyone because yes, we were a company made up of predominantly black and brown people but, while I started out wanting to provide an upscale service for people that look like me, I never wanted to be exclusive to any group. I wanted to play music for everyone and I want to provide for every culture. I enjoy music of all kinds and cultures of all kinds.
From college parties to Tony Bennett…
I remember doing a private party myself for Tony Bennett and he remembered my name, he shook my hand and said, “Harold, the music was great”. That was probably the most A-list level thing that I’ll ever do…so it doesn’t get any better than that to me. And when I really look at my crew, that’s where we are. It really is. Everybody on my team is really talented and really great at what they do and they’re all very different.
Dedicated in loving memory to my friend and brother, Michael Fowlkes. Thank you for being such an important part of my life journey. You will be remembered always.
Follow the blog to learn more about Finer Touch Entertainment as they celebrate 30 amazing years!