J|Adore on Her Serendipitous, Challenging Rise to Headline Temple | Westword

J|Adore on Her Serendipitous, Challenging Rise to Headline Temple

From obscurity to primary residency.
J|Adore was plucked out of obscurity to become the primary resident of one of the biggest clubs in Denver.
J|Adore was plucked out of obscurity to become the primary resident of one of the biggest clubs in Denver. Moskow Music
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J|Adore, whose real name is Jenny White, is known for having a captivating stage presence that is underscored by her ability to deeply connect with revelers on the dance floor. Her infectious energy caught the attention of Temple Nightclub, and she’s been its primary resident since it opened its doors. This position has seen her as direct support for some of the biggest names in EDM, including Benny Benassi, A-Trak, the Glitch Mob, Green Velvet and dozens more. This Saturday, April 2, she plays an open-to-close, extended headlining set.

White fancies the darker, more atmospheric styles of popular EDM, and plays her sets with a mixture of main room accessibility and peppered experimentation to keep things interesting.

But reaching her place in the gritty, male-dominated music industry has not been without challenges. Despite the trials, White has created a career out of deejaying — something only a few in the city can say.

Westword caught up with White about her beginnings, the realities of being a woman in the music industry, and the fateful encounter with Temple that launched her career as the primary resident of one of the most grandiose clubs in the state.

Westword: How did you get your start as a DJ?

White: Deejaying was always one of those bucket list things for me. Growing up, I studied classical ballet and was on a professional dance track. Through dance, music was a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and understanding musicality came pretty naturally to me through it. I have always felt music on a deep level and have been infatuated with it as a way to connect with people. In my early twenties, I opened Denver’s first pole fitness studio, Tease Studio.

During this time, I remember noticing a strong passion for putting playlists together, and an understanding of how to pair songs based on their BPM (beats per minute), key, and energy levels. Then in 2008, I met my now-husband, Walt White. Walt was a DJ and manager at DC10 and I began helping with their marketing. Walt showed me how to DJ and the rest was history! It’s a trip to look back and see how much we’ve both grown since those early days!

How would you describe your style?

I play across the spectrum of house music and bass music. I’m drawn to a pretty dark sound and try to keep my style consistent as much as possible. It’s important to me that my performances are quality and set a high standard.

My strengths and passions in my performances are in building a ton of energy from an empty room to a full-on vibe, which is why I’m excited to play an extended set on Saturday. I also love playing direct support for internationally touring artists with a wide variety of sound styles by curating my set towards that specific crowd.

How did you get set up with Temple?

I was sought out by Temple’s upper management on a recommendation from a stranger. I was told they found me by a woman at a local coffee shop who told them they had to check me out, so thank you, sweet stranger! From there, they saw me play and we began chatting.

When was the moment when they decided you should be a resident?

I was brought on as a resident from day one. I opened Temple on its first night! Crazy to look back on it. It will be five years this fall.

There aren’t a lot of women DJs. Sure, they exist, but compared to men, it’s very disproportionate. What has your experience been? Do you see actual progress, or is it music industry marketing nonsense?

My experience has been significant, and I’m sure it’s even more significant for the women who came before me on a local and international level. In my early days of playing, I was very regularly — like several times a gig — heckled specifically for being a woman behind the decks, and would on a nightly basis be asked by random men, “Did a man pre-program this set for you?” or, “Are you really deejaying?”

This instantly became my fuel for being a part of the change. I set out to prove the stereotype wrong by showing up consistently, putting my head down with the focus on getting even better at my craft, learning to play on any gear set in front of me, getting good at problem-solving issues that could potentially come up during a performance, and being so relevant in my performances that questioning my talent level is unacceptable.

I see the progress locally in that I don’t remember the last time something like that was said to me, and I hope that the newer generations are not experiencing any of what I did.

I have and continue to witness a “boys club” mentality, in Denver and beyond. I try to keep blinders on and not let it deter me, although there are times when it impacts me on an emotional level. I have gratitude for and align with those in the industry who try to be the change.

I’m so grateful to have such an incredible partner who is an advocate for me, there’s no doubt in my mind that his belief and support strengthened my will to navigate this strange world of the music industry. I have great respect for venues like Temple and the promoters and show producers who, without question or hesitation, book a proportionate amount of women to the ratio of women DJs as a whole in the industry and focus bookings completely on talent and draw, not gender.

In the big picture music industry as a whole, I still see issues with women being given equal opportunities and treatment, and I think that we see a fair share of marketing nonsense on multiple levels. But I have hope moving forward that it's women of great talent who are being given opportunities and celebrated, and for the right reasons.

I have seen this become the case more often over the past two decades. It’s slow growth, but it’s happening. It’s funny to me that I still often hear comments like, “You’re my favorite female DJ!” Why does it need to be specified that I’m a female DJ? I have a doctor. An accountant. Yoga teachers. Various mentors and coaches. Favorite artists, musicians, DJs. We don’t specify the gender of other artists or professionals in describing them. I understand that they say this in complete innocence, and I have compassion for the fact that it’s unintentional and actually intended to be a compliment.

How do women approach and navigate an industry that continues to be a boys club?

I believe it’s with consistency, grit and joining forces with one another. We have to continue to push the lines drawn, loudly question them, and align with humans doing it otherwise. The men in this industry who refuse to tolerate the boys club mentality make a huge impact as well.

J|Adore plays at 10 p.m., Saturday, April 2, at Temple, 1136 Broadway. Tickets are $16.
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