Is It Summer Yet? by Private Property on MixcloudLeone is currently juggling college courses and a part-time job at a local restaurant with her love of deejaying. She was recently accepted into the University of Colorado Denver's music-business program and is considering a double major in recording arts. For the moment, she's focused on perfecting her style on the turntables. "I would mainly say I deejay house, deep house and techno. I started deejaying with a lot of electronica -- a lot of harder, faster-BPM, French-style electronic music," she says. "Over the years, my taste has shifted to deeper...some people describe it as Detroit techno and Chicago house. That's what has influenced me."
The young DJ speaks confidently about the effect of pre-Internet geographical isolation, describing the development of Chicago house, Detroit techno and Berlin techno and the nuances that define those genres. But those regional distinctions are disappearing. "It's funny -- now that the Internet makes everything so broad, you can have Chicago house coming from places that aren't near Chicago," says Leone. "The music that I play -- it really is house. It's the closest thing to Chicago and Detroit and all that old-school stuff."
In Leone's view, many DJs claiming to play house music aren't adhering to those roots. "House music is definitely something that's exploited in the mainstream. There's EDM and these big-room DJs who play high-energy tracks," she says. "That's not what house music is. It isn't what is being advertised on the main floors of big clubs as house music."
Back in the lounge at Beta, it's a little later at night, and the back room is filling up with people. A middle-aged couple walks in, but DJ Private Property is focused on her turntables. She barely looks up to say hello as her parents, Robyn and Jeff Leone, relax against the wall. They look on with interest, just like the rest of the growing crowd. These days, their daughter is earning respect well outside the bounds of family and former classmates. She's finally old enough to take the spotlight in Denver, and that's exactly where she wants to be.
"I was heavily debating moving to Belgium, where a lot of the stuff I like is happening," Leone says. "But I thought if I took what I was doing here to there, I wouldn't be doing anything special. I would just be doing the same thing as everyone. It would be cool for me to go to Belgium, and maybe I'll go abroad, but I love Denver so much. I think it's a really good place for new stuff to happen."
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