Jan 26, 2022
5 min read
A true veteran of dance music, Mz Worthy cut her teeth in Washington D.C and New York City before moving to the west coast and helping found the now iconic, Dirtybird brand. Coming up in New York City in the late 90s gave Worthy a unique opportunity to witness a new era of electronic music emerge. Legendary residencies inspired her to take up the art of DJing and producing.
“It was after I moved to New York… I was hanging outside my dorm room and some girls said they were going to a party down the street… I walked in there and it was like, what I had been looking for for a long time. This is the music I’ve been trying to find for a long time and I just didn’t know how to find it… Once I had that moment I was just like, what’s going on next week? It was just like an electronic music education in New York City. I was listening to house music, jungle, Drum n Bass…”
After that breakthrough moment, Worthy devoted herself to learning the ins and outs of the scene. Her first night out in New York City was shared with her good friend, Justin Martin who became equally infatuated with the world of electronic music. The two of them got turntables and explored record stores, buying everything they could.
“We’d go record shopping together and buy the drum and bass records and we’d go back and just play records in my dorm room. We’d sit there and just kind of imagine that we were in front of a big crowd, pretending like we’re at Twilo, drinking 40s and smoking… Justin Martin moved out to San Francisco halfway through the year and it was a big reason as to why I made the move.”
Shortly after departing the east coast, Worthy linked back up with Justin and his brother Christian Martin. They befriended a guy named Barclay Crenshaw (now known as Claude VonStroke), and never looked back. Within a month or two of being out west, the group decided to start throwing parties. Even with their shared expertise, none of them envisioned a future with Dirtybird festivals when they had their first get-together.
“Those first couple of parties, there were like 20 people, maybe 50 on a good day. I don’t think any of us had any idea that it would get to where it is today, you know, with a giant festival and parties all over the world… But it was exciting to just have a room and party with our friends.”
Eventually, the group began renting out spaces to ensure the party could be inside. They started doing some club dates and the brand began to grow organically. More and more people started to attend the events, leading to larger-scale shows and eventually the foundation of a label, music festival, and so much more.
Despite a tremendous amount of success in her career, Worthy found herself feeling increasingly unhappy as the years progressed. In 2020 she came out to the world as transgender and began transitioning. The decision gave Worthy a massive sense of relief and freedom, finally allowing herself to truly be the person that she always knew she was deep down inside.
“It became really obvious that something was just not right in my life. Probably like six or seven years ago, I realized that there was something going on that was just not normal. It felt like I had this traumatic event that had happened to me in the past that I didn’t know about and was trying to figure out," she remembers.
"The pandemic really gave me this opportunity to sit with myself more and explore myself. Being locked up and alone gave me the strength to explore dressing up, and talking about it with someone which ended up being my ex-wife. After discussing at length with her that I’ve always been doing this and felt this way, she said that I could be transgender. That was kind of all I needed to hear.”
Those words of affirmation confirmed why she felt so conflicted about her gender identity. With renewed clarity, the idea of accepting her identity became a reality. She began transitioning and has since become a beacon of happiness and acceptance. Worthy also notes that the transition helped her take new steps musically. Not only is she free as a person, but she feels the confidence and strength to play any type of music while DJing, and explore a wide variety of sounds in her productions going forward.
“I think before there was kind of a wall in front of me that made connecting with the audience difficult… Now everything seems to flow smoothly. I think it’s a bit about finding myself, feeling confident again standing in front of people, and that parlays into feeling confidence in my track selection and not second guessing what I’m doing.”