Oakland Roots, LA Grooves: Jackie Hollander's Story

Jul 8, 2024

Photo of Michela Iosipov

Michela Iosipov

10 min read

Made in Oakland and now residing in Los Angeles, Jackie Hollander has been on the come up in the exciting world of house music. Growing up in Oakland, Hollander was immersed in rich musical surroundings , attending concerts and raves that would lay the foundation for her future career. Her early experiences, from a memorable encounter with G-Eazy at a Drake concert to her father's enthusiastic support for rap concerts, shaped her music palette, and added flavor to her good taste in sound.

Jackie's self-taught DJ skills, honed during high school house parties and a pivotal summer camp, set the stage for her entry into the scene during her university years in Los Angeles. Unlike her peers who frequented frat parties, Jackie and her friends were drawn to every house music club and rave in the city, cultivating a deep rooted love for the genre.

Her dedication paid off, leading to releases on prominent labels such as Realm Records, There Is A Light, Nervous Records, and Street Tracks. Jackie's journey from playing local gigs to opening for industry giants like Gorgon City, Max Styler, Justin Martin, and many more at massive venues like the Bill Graham Auditorium, Exchange LA, The Midway, and others.

In this interview, Jackie shares insights into her musical influences, the challenges she's faced in a male-dominated industry, and the memorable moments that have defined her career. From her preparation rituals to the funniest encounters during her sets, Jackie's story is both inspiring and relatable. As she continues to climb her way up in the industry her journey offers an exciting and humbling glimpse into the life of a rising artist. We’re happy to be a part of the wave.

How did growing up in San Francisco influence your musical style and career?

I grew up in Oakland, and it definitely had a huge impact on my career. The music scene here is so strong and diverse. I grew up going to concerts and then started going to raves in high school. I went to see Drake once with my dad (yes, my dad—he loved taking me to rap concerts), and G-Eazy was just walking around in the crowd. I remember going up to him to take a picture and introduce myself. At the time, he only had one song out, and very shortly after, he took off. That was an inspiration to me that a local person could reach a mass audience very quickly.

Since a young age, I have always been obsessed with music. I would do weekly Spotify searches since I can remember, lying in bed and spending hours looking for new music. I grew up listening to rap and '70s/'80s rock, which I think is where my love for darker and emotional music comes from. Music has always been my escape and the place I go to feel all my emotions. Growing up in the East Bay, it is in our culture to push boundaries and live on the edge, so I definitely think that is why I went after my dreams and know that good things don’t always come easy.

What sparked your passion for music during your university years in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is where my love for music turned into my love for dance music specifically. My friends and I would go to every single concert at The Shrine, every tasteful house music club in LA like Rasputin, and random music festivals like Nocturnal Wonderland, etc. We were obsessed. Everyone else in our grade would be going to frat parties, and my friends and I were the group that was always at some sort of rave. It was awesome.

At some point during my sophomore year, I started thinking I really wanted to do this. I learned how to DJ at a summer camp when I was very young. I also DJed in high school with my sister when we would throw house parties. I had some background experience, but it all seemed very daunting, especially because everyone at USC wanted to be in the music industry. Everyone was obsessed with DJing/house music/you name it. The biggest issue was that everyone doing it was a guy.

I had no role model to approach or turn to. I was one of the first females at USC to pick up DJing and really go after it. It was so uncomfortable and scary, but I am very grateful for all those early challenges because this industry is not easy, and it has made me very strong.

What was the journey like from being a self-taught DJ to playing at major events?

The journey has been long but wonderful. Once I got to a place with DJing and playing shows, I didn’t want to be the opener anymore; I wanted to be the main act. I wanted to play my own music and connect with my listeners. There have been so many nights where I would stay in instead of going to parties and literally teach myself music production off of YouTube. Music production is very hard to learn, but once you get it, you are off to the races. It has been incredible to form my sound and really find myself through this process.

I have never spent so much time on something in my life. I truly spend hours and hours in my room on my computer making music! I know it is only the beginning of that commitment, and I am so okay with that. I love it so much. I am at the point where I dream about song ideas. It's pretty crazy!

I do want to note that this jump from making music to playing these events would not have been possible without the support from my manager Simon, my family, and my roommate and best friend Riley. It takes so much support and love to believe in yourself and make everything come together.

How did it feel to open for industry giants like Gorgon City?

I am so grateful for Gorgon City. Matt and Kye have truly helped me in so many ways. First, they are the most authentic and real artists I have met in this industry. I remember the first time we met; they genuinely wanted to get to know me and were so warm and welcoming. I feel so lucky to have found Palm Artists and be on their roster with people like Matt and Kye. It was truly surreal to open for them as they are one of my biggest musical inspirations, and I can’t wait to play many upcoming shows with them—to be announced!!

How do you prepare for your live performances? Do you have any pre-show rituals?

I always get a workout in or some kind of walk. I have to move my body and fit in my morning routine whenever possible. But most importantly, before every show, I have everyone I am with join hands and close our eyes, and I say a prayer to the universe for how grateful I am for the opportunity and that everything goes smoothly. Lastly, after the prayer, I always go into the bathroom alone, look into the mirror, and hype myself up. Both rituals are very important and special to me, and I truly think they get me in the right mindset.

What has been the most challenging part of your career so far, and how did you overcome it?

So far, it has been at USC and being the only girl DJing and making music. A lot of people didn’t take me seriously and didn’t support me. People would talk badly about me behind my back and put me down. It was super hard to push through that and continue to teach myself music production and play shows. A lot of my friends wouldn't come to my shows or publicly support me, and that was really hard. I wouldn’t take it back, though, because I learned how to get through that and only compete with myself to go after my dreams and always show up as my best self.

It is no secret that this industry is male-dominated, and because of my early experiences facing that, it doesn’t intimidate me. It motivates me. I want to be known because of my performances and my music. I want people to judge me or love me based on that—never because I am a girl.

Who are your biggest musical influences, and how have they shaped your sound?

My biggest musical influences will always be Gorgon City, Fred Again, Eli Brown, and John Summit. Gorgon City because they are the legends that they are and have had such an incredible and strong career. Their music is always evolving and changing, yet it stays true to their sound and is always amazing. Fred Again because he wasn’t afraid to be different and is such a genuine soul. Eli Brown because he is really shaping the future of techno. Lastly, John Summit because he always went after it and has such a strong work ethic and has built a very genuine and authentic brand. He is helping dance music reach new heights, and it has been incredible to watch his whole career unfold.

What has been your most memorable performance to date and why?

Probably my Superior Ingredients set with Max Styler in New York. I absolutely love doing shows with Max; he has been such a huge supporter for me, and I think the energy we build together during our shows is incredible. He has always had my back, and I am so appreciative. The crowd in NY that day was just incredible, the energy was unmatched, and the wine was flowing. I got to test so many new demos I had just finished, and they were all received so well. I will always remember that set.

What’s the funniest or most unexpected thing that has happened during one of your sets?

This man wrote on his phone, “What is your ring size?” Haha, I will always remember that. I could not stop laughing.

What’s a fun fact about you that your fans might not know?

I am very free-spirited and funny. I don’t take life too seriously. I love to seize the day. If you want to get up at 4 a.m. to see the sunrise, I will be there with you.

If you weren’t a DJ and producer, what career path do you think you would have pursued?

I would have opened my own hotel/event company. One day, I want to start my own label and throw events. I am super into health/wellness/spirituality and food, so I want to tailor my events to those interests and create a completely new experience in the space.

More from Magazine

Read next

Copyright © 2024 Seer Assets, LLC. All rights reserved.