One of electronic music’s leading artists charts her singular path from Gary, Indiana to the bleeding edge of contemporary music.
Jerrilynn Patton, better known as Jlin, is proof that geography has no bearing on success in the internet era. Born and raised in Gary, Indiana, a city notorious for extreme violence and poverty alike, Patton is now one of electronic music’s leading artists. After discovering footwork while majoring in math at Purdue University, Patton began ditching classes to study music from genre pioneers like RP Boo and DJ Rashad. As she developed as a producer, she befriended Boo and Rashad on MySpace and, in 2011, her track “Erotic Heat” caught the attention of Planet Mu founder Mike Paradinas, who included it on the label’s Bangs & Works, Vol. 2 compilation. Not convinced that her music would sustain her financially, Patton worked at a local steel mill while she composed her acclaimed 2015 debut, Dark Energy. Her sophomore release, Black Origami, received even greater praise for its bold deployment of punishing percussion and rhythms from around the world. While she’s already expanded the limits of footwork and forged a path for women in the still male-dominated world of electronic music, Patton has continued to chart new territory with Autobiography, a score for her collaboration with renowned British choreographer Wayne McGregor. In this episode of Couch Wisdom recorded at the 2018 Red Bull Music Academy in Berlin, Jlin talked about her roots, mental health and the importance of mistakes in order to stay true to yourself as an artist.