Mixmag Interview: Get To Know J. Worra
GET TO KNOW J. WORRA, THE TECH-HOUSE PURVEYOR WITH A BIG PARTY ATTITUDE
Her tracks and sets brim with boundless energy and bass
Dance music and club culture have played a huge role in Jamie Sitter’s life. Growing up surrounded by cornfields between Chicago and Milwaukee, she lived with the fear of being cast out by her family and small, conservative community, and struggled with being gay in small town America. “For the longest time, I felt that it wasn’t OK to be who I am,” she explains. “I didn’t come out publicly until last October.”
Jamie’s life began to change when clubland took her under its wing after she moved to Chicago in 2010. Hearing local legends like Green Velvet and Gene Farris engendered a dance music obsession, and she soon began to pursue a career in music, as J. Worra.
Only a year after first cutting her teeth in both production and on the decks, she entered a competition for a spot on Spring Awakening festival’s line-up in the Windy City. Not only did she win; she went on to win every DJ competition she entered after that. “When I first started, I was still really struggling with who I was,” she says. “Winning those competitions gave me validation, purpose and reminded me how crucial music is in my life.”
Moving to Los Angeles in 2015, she continued to hone her production skills and released a series of belting singles and EPs on imprints like Perfect Driver, House of Hustle, Sleazy G and more. But despite her initial success, the genesis of her career was also filled with periods of self-doubt. After two of her favourite labels rejected her track submissions, it sent her into what she describes as a “miserable state.”
Despite this, she barrelled ahead with bigger and bigger performances, releasing music that was uniquely her own. Eventually she launched her own imprint, Arrow Recordings, the name a daily reminder to keep faith in her vision.
Taking cues from the likes of Chris Lake, Walker & Royce and Billy Kenny, her production style came into its own on her 2017 ‘Downtown Diva’ EP, its bounce and bass-heavy tracks picked up by AC Slater and Justin Martin.
In 2018 she played Coachella, Lightning In A Bottle and Holy Ship, where the premiere of her track ‘Modern Medicine’ was one of the most memorable moments of the cruise. “The stage was slammed!” she recalls. “People always say ‘You’re killing it’ but those are the moments that make you stop and give yourself a pat on the back.”
Finding self-respect in the booth and watching people “live their authentic lives” on the dancefloor has given J. Worra the strength to do the same. “It feels nice to hit a point where you stop censoring yourself and start being you.”
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