Chicago is the epicenter of dance music, with many of the most prestigious clubs and dance clubs around the city attracting some of the biggest names in the industry.
But the city has also seen the rise of a new breed of dance club DJ: the superstar dance club.
In this series, New York’s own Justin Whelan explores the different ways Chicago is reinventing its dance scene to compete with the bigger, more established clubs.
The first step to becoming a superstar is to make it in the game.
That’s what happened to the DJ Toni, who started out as a humble street performer, and has become one of the world’s biggest dance producers, thanks in part to her partnership with hip-hop producer Young Thug.
Toni says that dance clubs have changed over the years.
She says that the dance scene in Chicago is changing from an all-night party into a social event.
“I started out doing that because I was hungry for a good time.
It was like a little bit of a social experiment to see how far I could take it,” she says.
“Now, there’s more money in it, and it’s more about the dance than the party.
You can do the dance, but you can’t play the game.”
Toni has also opened up the world of dance for the whole community.
She opened her first club in 2015 with her brother-in-law, and she’s been in talks with several major labels.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” she tells New York.
“Dance is a very different world.
We’re living in a very digital world, so there’s so much to learn.”
The first wave of superstar dance clubs are popping up all over the country, with Chicago’s being a prime example.
“There are literally hundreds of dance clubs operating in Chicago, and there are so many of them, that it’s easy to see that we have this super-talented, creative, creative dance community,” says Toni.
The next step for Chicago is to be recognized as a city where it can really shine, she adds.
“I think it’s been the best city for dance in the world.
Chicago has really become the next big dance city in terms of talent,” she adds, adding that she has also found success at clubs like Club Paradise in New York and the Roxy Lounge in Miami.
The New York club is located in a building called the Ritz, and Toni says the venue has become her hub for working with the music.
“That’s where I get to connect with the world,” she explains.
“When I’m on tour, I’ve found that if I go to a club in the city, I can just walk in and have a drink, and people just sit and listen,” she continues.
“You can talk to the people and just hang out.
That experience has been so important to me.”
Tiri’s not the only dance superstar who has found success in Chicago.
“My first club was called the Creme de la Moka, and they had a line up of the hottest hip-hoppers and the best producers in the business,” she reveals.
“People like D.R.A.M., A$AP Rocky, Kanye West, Drake, and Jay-Z are all on the RCA.
I love that atmosphere.
I’m just like that kid who loves everything about music.
I just go out there and party.
There’s nothing better than a party.”
Tani’s biggest success has been as a superstar DJ in her own right.
“If you’re a star, there are a lot of different roles that can be played in a dance club,” she notes.
“The dance scene has evolved a lot over the past 20 years, and I think there’s a lot more of those roles that are being filled in dance clubs.
So, for me, it’s about being a part of that.
It’s really important to know what you’re doing.
It could be a solo show, it could be with a crew, it might be with someone who you know or know well.
It really depends on what you like to do and what you think that’s cool.”
The Chicago scene has grown into a major player in the global dance music game.
“Chicago is a big market,” says Whelans executive editor, Matt Lauer.
“And it’s a very diverse market, and so there are some amazing people who are coming out of Chicago to do what they love, and to make music, and the music is what makes Chicago stand out.”
Chicago has been a big part of the global pop music game, with major artists like Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift, among others, being born and raised in the area.
“They’re living and working and working in Chicago,” says Lauer, adding, “They can really connect with their fans in Chicago and bring their music to the world