UNIIQU3 Talks Being the First Black Female DJ to Play Holy Ship!, Personal Style & What She's Working On Now
Navigating a music festival like Holy Ship! quite literally has its ups and downs. As she broke away from the New Jersey club scene, UNIIQU3 came across a whole different side of dance culture and her responsibility to it. The rising star made history this year as the first black female DJ to ever perform on the cruise and understands she needs to continue bringing this representation within the genre worldwide.
Billboard Style got ready with her onboard before she hit the stage, where she let us in on her overall EDM experience and what she plans to do with her music next. Brace yourself for our empowering conversation below.
What’s your personal style, and is it different from the way you dress at festivals?
I would say I’m anime, 'hood goth. It’s so easy to wear black, plus I’m a goth kid at heart, but I always try to incorporate color into my wardrobe. If I put on black, I end up pairing it with something bright like yellow or hot pink. I also have an obsession with platforms, but I’m getting back into being a sneaker-head, too. I think the only real difference between my everyday style and festival looks is comfort. I’m way more naked and flamboyant when I’m performing compared to a cozy day at home.
That makes sense. Did you end up doing any of the theme nights onboard?
Yes! For the '90s cartoon night, I went as Shego from Kim Possible. She’s so badass. Also, I got some cheetah print for the “Welcome to the Jungle” theme. YOLO.
Between that and performing, you must have had a lot of packing to do. What were some must-have items you took with you on the ship?
I always have my Little MAC lip gloss, and I honestly need to reup because I use it so much. I also have to have my raw coconut oil or shea butter since I’m always flying. It’s so important to keep my skin clear and moisturized. Aside from beauty products, my must-haves include a solid book, headphones, and my laptop. I produce on just about every plane ride I take.
The girl power you bring to dance music is incredible. Have you always wanted to be a DJ?
No, I didn’t always want to be a DJ, but I was always into the performing arts as a child -- everything from acting, dance, and piano lessons. I knew I would be a creative artist one day because I already was one.
What would you say have been the most challenging and proudest moments of your career?
I realized that if I wanted things to change in the music industry for women, people of color, LGBTQ, and beyond... I had to be that change. That was challenging and difficult to accept because it’s hard to do. I’ve been one of the first black female DJs to play EDC Mexico, Hard Summer, and now Holy Ship! I travel the world mostly by myself and feel vulnerable because most places I go to don’t always have people of color present. It may be uncomfortable at times, but I’ve learned to accept and embrace it. It’s like “f**k all those thoughts, you got this.”
My proudest moment recently would have to be just connecting with all these different communities around the world. I get so many kids and adults coming up to me saying how inspiring I am and how I motivated them to do something. It just reminds me that it’s not about me, it’s about us and the impact we can create together through art.
Beyond music, you’ve made a mark in fashion through the brands you’ve worked with. What led you to those partnerships and has it influenced your music at all?
Most brands like Givenchy and Chromat really believe in my music and I’m all about how they stand for body positivity and female empowerment. I can’t wait to get the opportunity to work on sound tracking and creating campaigns in the future. I feel there’s a story to be told.
We can’t wait for you to do that, either! Will you be continuing on this festival route or is it making you want to head back to the club circuit?
I’ll forever be a club kid. It’s what made me who I am today, but I want to continue to grow. I think I was ready to enter a new phase in my career. I went from killer DJ sets to incorporating dancers, and then a live show where I rapped over my productions. It was time to take everything to the next level.
I never planned my club sets, which is a good habit I guess. I go with the vibe of the crowd, as any real DJ should. For festivals, I might curate a playlist a little bit, but regardless, both sets are energetic, interactive, and they take you on a ride. Either way, when you come see me play it’s a whole experience.
So what’s next for you? Can you let us in on what you’re most looking forward to in 2018?
Oh man, well please expect tons of new music -- originals, remixes, and everything in between. I plan to release a bunch of sick visual content and showcase my production process more. I’ll be kicking my year off on my first headline cross country tour “Nailz n Ponytailz” and I’m bringing my girl, New York-based rapper Dai Burger, along for the ride. I’m especially excited about the tour because it’s all about connecting with my supporters on a more intimate level. Hope to see you all there!