How J. Worra Fell in Love With Dance Music

Nov 1, 2022

Ana Monroy Yglesias

3 min read

When J. Worra was growing up in Spring Grove, Illinois—a small town of around 5,500 about 60 miles north of Chicago—dance music wasn't on her radar. But when she moved to the Windy City after graduating college, and her friends introduced her to electronic music and the city's famed clubs, her mind was blown.

"[In Spring Grove] I was going through all different genres; all genres really, except for electronic," she told journalist Kat Bein in 2020. "So, it was eye opening when I went to Chicago, it was like, 'Holy shit, what is this music?!'"

Living in the birthplace of house music in her 20s offered her a swift immersion in, and fascination with, dance music culture. "That's when I started understanding electronic music and that I could have a place in that industry," she said.

And as she started to get into the local scene, seeing Chicago legend Gene Farris DJ at Sound Bar was pivotal in her journey. That show was when she really fell in love with dance music. She recalled, "It was one of those moments where I was just like, 'Holy crap. This is a really cool vibe, really cool energy.'"

After attending her first music festival, Spring Awakening in Chicago, the complete lack of female representation behind the decks inspired her to go out, buy her own, and teach herself to DJ. Soon enough, she started playing shows. In 2015 she dropped her first track and started doing her part to change the gender dynamics in house music.

While relocating to Chicago brought her into the world of dance music and gave her a rich playground of venues to play, surprisingly, moving to Los Angeles brought her deeper into discovering old school Chicago house. The pandemic slowdown allowed her more time and space to dig deep into the roots of the sound, which significantly impacted the music she plays and makes herself.

"I feel like I'm a completely different artist than I was pre-pandemic. I took time to listen to old school Chicago house and sort my roots more. I can't even remember what I used to play like. It's fun to start fresh," J. Worra told Gray Area in 2021.

"Being able to sit still for a while and dig through old music is a rare opportunity for artists who tour," she said. "It changed a lot of perspectives."

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