How J. Worra was Inspired to Make Space for Women in Dance Music
J. Worra first fell in love with dance music when she moved to Chicago after college from her tiny hometown north of the birthplace of house. Attending her first music festival, one of the earliest editions of Spring Awakening, was a lightbulb moment that inspired her to take a stab at DJing and electronic music production. The complete absence of women booked to play the fest moved her to do something about it.
She bought a Traktor mixer and watched YouTube tutorials on mixing. Six months later, she started teaching herself production with help from fellow Chicago artists like Win and Woo, who invited her into their studio. In 2015, she released her first track, "Substitute," on Perfect Driver Music, and there was no looking back. She's now an important female and queer voice in dance music.
"I want to change the tone. I want to show what women are capable of, and what hard work and being true looks like," she told Daily Beat. "Above all, I want to impact people's lives in a positive way."
And once she began to get recognition for her uplifting productions and DJ sets, she made sure to bring other women up with her. She's found herself more and more in the good company of other women who lift up women and non-binary artists. Among them is LP Giobbi, whose ever-expanding Femme House platform offers free music production and engineering courses, all-femme club nights, Sirius Radio and Twitch shows, and more.
"I went to a festival early in my life and saw no women on the lineup at all. I had to give it my best to join this world and try and flip that. Now there are so many of us doing our best. LP Giobbi with Femme House, streaming every week with new female artists… I was able to book people for my tour that I found off her stream. Just having that exposure is a game changer," J. Worra told Gray Area in 2021.
J Worra with VNSSA at EDC Orlando 2022
"When I started, it was desolate for females but we're seeing a big surge now," she said. "Men are paying more attention, and women are trying harder to help one another out."
She's been intentional in bringing other women on tour with her and getting together with them in the studio. As a queer woman from a small, conservative town, it's also been important that she foster safe, joyous spaces for everyone to be themselves on the dancefloor. She also uses her platform to be loud and proud about supporting LGBTQ youth charities.
"It is very important for me to create not just a safe, inclusive space, but also one that makes people feel like they belong right where they are, in the skin they are in. My journey has shown me the importance of those moments; they may seem small but they can completely change the course someone is on," she told Metal Magazine.
"That's why I take the time to connect with fans, to give away tickets to shows and festivals I am playing, and to respond to emails and DMs," she said. "The impact I want to have doesn't stop when the lights come on at the club."
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