photos of veronica sams
makeup by ashley simmons
styling by jordan marx
Not so long ago, artists considered a long tour in Las Vegas to be the beginning of a long and painful career decline. You still had the stash of filling a ballroom with drunken tourists six times a week and making a good living, but all cultural relevance was as dead as the bodies buried in the desert. In 2022, the whole perception of entertainment in Las Vegas is turned upside down, especially if you’re a DJ. To put it bluntly, if you’re a DJ and didn’t get a residency in the American playground, no one will remember your name.
When Charly Jordan landed a coveted residency with the band Zouk, she wasn’t just settling into a stable gig in her hometown, she was firmly planting a flag and telling the world she shouldn’t be taken for granted. light. By landing the gig, Jordan not only gained instant credibility in the world of EDM, but she also became one of the very few women to have achieved the feat.
“All the best artists and shows are in Vegas, so having a residency there is key,” says Jordan. “There aren’t many female DJs in residence, which is another big motivator for me. I want more female empowerment in the music space, that’s something I’m really pushing. I love seeing a whole row of girls every night at my shows.
Chances are, every time Jordan looks over her turntables and into the crowd, she sees several of the same girls dancing and sweating in the front row. Playing constantly in the same space allows him to build a relationship with the audience, a difficult aspect to do when bouncing from town to town like many DJs do. Having the residency gives Jordan a base, a place to experiment and try new music with an audience she knows and trusts.
Having this opportunity is essential to Jordan’s musical growth. Given her accolades — she’ll also play a starring spot at this year’s Lollapalooza — it’s easy to forget she’s still a newcomer. Just a few years ago, her notoriety stemmed entirely from her Instagram account where she posted gorgeous photos as she traveled the world. In doing so, she unwittingly became one of the first notable travel influencers.
“It’s so funny, for years I was criticized and scrutinized for doing it,” she says. “Everyone thought it was a joke, and now it’s taken so seriously, which is amazing because I’ve been working on it for years. It’s really cool to see everyone acknowledging how much it can be powerful.
Jordan was raised in an extremely conservative family and her passions did not always match the expectations placed on her. Social media has opened up the world to her, introducing her to countless other people who share both the same enthusiasms and struggles.
“It’s really hard, I think everyone struggles to find approval for what you grew up with,” she says. “I grew up in an LDS (Mormon) family so just like tattoos or drinking or traveling or going off the beaten track wasn’t really an option, especially as a woman. I was expected to get married, have kids and have this whole other life, so I really wanted to prove that there was a better way to live than that.
By sharing her way of life with the masses, Jordan not only created a job title that didn’t exist before, but she also ended up creating a brand for herself. It was never her intention and she would bristle at the accusation. Since she poured all her heart and emotion into what she did, it seemed rude to hear her actions summed up like this. For her, social media was her way of connecting to the world, not a tool to become famous.
“People sharing their thoughts and opinions about things they’ve been through was a big part of why I was drawn to social media,” she explains. “There were things that I had really struggled with – mental health, depression, anxiety – and I always asked my family about it and they didn’t really have any answers for me. When I got on the internet, I was like, “Oh my God, there are people who are going through this and struggling with it.”
“I think that was the whole point of the internet in the beginning,” she continues. “These relatable experiences. This cathartic, empathetic feeling of, “Oh, this person is cool, that inspires me to do this”, this spreading of information.”
Even the most optimistic among us are cynical about going online after seeing how toxic certain corners of the internet have become, but Jordan’s journey shows the intrinsic value social media can have for people struggling to find their place in this chaotic world. Just a few decades ago, a person growing up in a small town or in a strict household would not have an easy way to see the possibilities of a different life.
“[Social media] definitely pushed me to change my life,” she says. “Literally walking away from what you grew up with in hopes of finding people and an environment you feel comfortable in is a pretty crazy thought for me, so I must have been pretty uncomfortable where I was to push so far.”
While appreciating all that social media has made possible for her, Jordan was adamant that she would not use her fame as a crutch when embarking on her DJ career. She had been sneaking around festivals since her teenage years, finding freedom in music and developing a deep reverence for those who made it.
Her massive following would have landed her a ton of gigs, but she wanted to do it the right way. For months, she spent every second of her free time behind her turntables, learning the craft and performing to non-existent audiences in her bedroom.
“I didn’t want to give anyone a reason or an excuse to say I couldn’t DJ, especially because I’m an influencer,” she says. “People try to put that in a box and criticize you too much if you come out of it. I spent years teaching myself properly so that when I got on stage I would have the confidence.
This confidence propelled her on a new trajectory, with this residency in Las Vegas a testament to her success. Jordan could very well have predicted all of this the day she walked into the tattoo parlor for her very first tattoo – the numbers “702”, Sin City’s area code, on the inside of her finger. She got a good tattoo when she was 18 and chose the placement so she could hide it from her parents, which turned out to be pretty pointless.
“My mum didn’t know I had my first tattoo, and then for my 18th birthday celebration she said, ‘I’m going to take you to get your first tattoo,'” Jordan laughs. “I was so confused, my whole family is Mormon, so I was like, ‘Wow, what are you talking about?’ My mom took me to get each other’s name tattooed on each other’s ribcage, which hurt like hell. I definitely acted like it was my first tattoo and it hurt so much I didn’t even have to act.
As the owner of two “first tattoos,” it’s no surprise that Jordan’s collection continues to grow. She finds myriad reasons to get tattooed – some serious, some heartfelt, some downright silly – and much like her Instagram grid, her tattoos tell the story of her amazing journey.
Over the next two months, Jordan will be playing some exciting shows, releasing a house single titled “Soak Her” which she says will be the fire track of the summer, and much more.
“I’m so happy that everything is back to normal,” she said. “Being able to come out of quarantine, I was so grateful to be able to perform. Summer is the most popular time for gigs, DJs and festivals. My summer is booked and busy and I’m so excited to see everyone back. world.