Jersey Club’s Queen UNIIQU3’s newest release Shake the Room (Austin Lebrón Remix) finds her collab with Bronx Dominican duo Dos Flakos remixed to flip the track on its head, making for an intense sonic experience. As a Jersey native, she has the talent built in - Jersey sound is all about the chop on the samples, elevated BPMs, and real energy, which UNIIQU3 brings effortlessly to the stage.
This remix marks the end of a limitless year for UNIIQU3 – she has won a BMI Award, released so many new singles, as well as running her PBNJ parties and opening for Beyoncé in the Vancouver leg of the Renaissance tour.
With this momentum, UNIIQU3 shows no sign of stopping soon - as a producer, DJ, rapper and singer, she has never been more in demand, carving out a space for herself as a fresh voice in the industry. She promises us at METAL that she “will be making noise every month of 2024,” and we are counting down the days for the next drop. She also tells us about the incredible highs from this year so far, what it means for Jersey Club to make it big, her experience in the music industry, and what to expect next with a new elevated and amplified UNIIQU3.
You have been so busy this year: you have won a BMI Award, released so many new singles, as well as running your PBNJ parties and opening for Beyoncé. How would you describe your 2023?
I would describe this year as being limitless. This year opened my eyes to the endless opportunities out there. A lot of dreams came true. Not in the ways I imagined but even better. I’m blessed, happy but now hungrier than ever.
Jersey Club is such an important part of your sound and identity as an artist, especially as a New Jersey native. Do you have an earliest memory of Jersey Club that you can share with us?
My earliest memory of Jersey Club is hearing one of my friends in school bang that Jersey Club Beat Pattern on the school table at lunch and having everyone chime in on adding vocals and then seeing people do a dance along to the improv track.
You do a lot of work to promote and support talent on your Club Queen Radio on SXM, as well as of course with your PBNJ parties. How do you find that you approach your role as the crowned Jersey Club Queen?
When I first started my journey as UNIIQU3 I was one of the few girls making room for us in the scene, so all my male peers addressed me as Queen. The title stuck and it’s something I do take seriously to an extent. As a person I always try to treat others how I want to be treated and I practice that within the community. Whether it’s booking my friends and actually paying them, sharing resources with my fellow producers, I’m always giving advice. I just find that to be normal human behaviour to be honest. I’m always doing something, like throwing PBNJ is just something I’m passionate about, I like festivals and parties. Radio, just me sharing good music as a tastemaker. I guess you can say I’m being a good role model but I’m just truly being myself.
DJing and music at large does still have the tendency to be male dominated, so it’s a much-needed development to see women thriving in the industry. What has the experience as a woman in music, specifically the dance music scene, looked like for you?
My experience has been a rollercoaster. When I first started touring, I was one of the few Black Women in the Club let alone being the DJ. At the time it was really hard for me to believe that my dreams would come into fruition because there were few examples of Successful Black Women who DJ on big stages and don’t get fucked over in the industry or Women who make it out of Newark as a successful DJ to be specific. When I traveled to different cities, I always made it my business to connect with the women, and BIPOC communities. I’d reach out to them, and they’d reach out to me. I formed sisterhoods, friendships and learned about everyone’s scene and their experiences of triumph and hardship. It broadened my horizons seeing that, on an international level, I was not alone. Fast forward to 2023 it seems like the DJ booths and dance floors are being diversified and decolonised on a massive scale. There’s always more work to be done but I do want to acknowledge the progress that has been made and I’m just happy to be a part of that movement.
I know you opened for Beyoncé in the Vancouver show of the Renaissance World Tour, congratulations! That is just so amazing, how was that experience?
Thank you. Thank you! This is actually my second time DJing for Muva Yoncé. I DJed the Club Renaissance Release party in LA December 2022 which was a beautiful experience. I was thankful for that opportunity so to be tapped to open for her World Tour really just had me shook. It was really dope to see the empty stadium of workers pre-show and see it evolve into Renaissance. That stage was huge and I got a lot of love from my fans who came early to see me and new fans who rocked with me. It was such an interactive show sonically, and visually. I’m honoured she let me add my magic and set the tone for the Beyhive. She is so dope for tapping into a culture that she finds to be liberating and give everyone their flowers and educate the masses in the process. She got her tens.
Jersey Club elements have been slowly integrated into other genres and music by performers like Beyoncé and Drake. How do you feel about Jersey Club moving more towards the mainstream? What do you make of the TikTok rise of Jersey Club?
Yeah I think it’s an honorable stamp of approval. I’m happy it’s been giving opportunities to my peers to produce for prestigious artists now that they are inspired by our dance music culture. I also think it gives opportunities for artists who’ve been pioneering and evolving the genre to gain mainstream appeal. TikTok definitely amplified the culture as a whole with the production and dances going viral but it’s reminiscent of what YouTube and Vine did for club music in the years prior. I think it says a lot that we have a sound that consistently has a moment in music.
Your newest single Shake The Room (Austin Lebron Remix) – wow! Can you walk us through how this remix came to life? Were there specific elements from the original song that you were excited to see reinterpreted in the remix?
So, here’s a cute story time. I was shooting the Shake The Room video earlier in the day and decided to get some b roll footage of Dos Flako’s DJ Set in New York City at a Club called Defluxx. So I’m on stage we’re running the original and the crowd is going crazy ! Then Chris decided to spin Austin’s remix without me and Rich knowing. It completely took us and the club by surprise when the beat dropped into Jersey Club. It was a hands up, get down, situation. I knew from that moment we had to officially release it.
The Jersey sound is all about this chop on the samples, and elevated BPMs, and real energy. Are there any specific tricks you find that you use to create your own sound?
I think what makes my sound unique is my voice. Nobody owns the floor like me on these club songs man. Whether I’m singing or rapping or even just saying two words. I’m happy I have something that can’t be imitated.
As essentially a one-woman band in its entirety, as artist, producer, and DJ, how do you approach these releases? Can you tell us a little about the creative process and what you start with?
Well, I’m always making music. Yes, it’s my career but it’s something I genuinely enjoy doing. It’s not forced. I usually create a melody and drums and start there. Then lyrics will come in, I’ll freestyle and record different reference tracks with light lyrics and heavy mumbles. Sometimes it takes me days, sometimes it takes me hours, it all depends.  When I complete a song, I often sit and think of the whole vision. After feeling it and hearing it I need to see it and visualise it. So, I’ll just tap into the mindset of finding inspiration in everything. The flowers on my afternoon walks, the feeling I get when I listen to it in the gym, etc.  Then I share it with my manager to see what he thinks about dropping it and he helps me with the backend of scheduling the release date. Then I’ll reach out to trusted creatives within my scene to get whatever promo things I need done, photoshoots, lyric videos, cover art etc. It’s still very DIY for me but I move like a business.
In this single you collaborated with Dos Flakos, how did you find collaborating with the duo?
I’m so happy I got a track in with those guys.  It was dope to blend both our styles. Dos Flakos are amazing at what they do. I’m a fan, aside from being a friend. I love how they stay true to their roots during this dance evolution. Their DJ sets are chef’s kiss. I can't wait until they tour Europe.
I do think it’s really significant that you chose to name the accompanying video for this release a dance video, especially with how the genre is fundamentally a dance genre. How do you approach this aspect of the scene when you are creating?
Yeah, I feel like it’s my way of giving my audience a visual taste of what the song sonically embodies. You get to hear it, feel it, see it, see the faces of who you might see at the club, feel the energy through the screen. I like creating things, so I just try to make them come to life.
You bring a real energy to your live shows, with a lot of audience interaction and call and response featured. Do you have a way to tap into this energy for performing, or do you find this is just your natural creative Aquarius energy taking the stage?
Yes Aqua gang (laughs)! I think it’s natural for me when I’m in a safe space. Like I could be really coy in public settings, a little aloof and in my own world but on stage I bring everyone in UNIIQU3’s world. It’s also one of the things I learned being a DJ in Newark, NJ. The east coast in general has DJ’s that are MC’s in their own right. It’s obnoxious, it’s energetic, interactive and raw.
Do you have a favourite live show that you have performed so far, or a dream venue or performance for the future?
One of my favourite performances was Main Stage Afropunk 2019. It was the Last Festival at the infamous Commodore Barry Park. What made it my favourite was just the energy. My dancers and I practiced for weeks. We had that park in a chokehold. A sea of people dancing in unison to Jersey Club and smaller dance pits forming letting everyone get a go!
I think my favourite show this year has been when I performed in the Sonic Sphere at the Shed in NYC. It was just artistically something I’ve never done and opened my eyes to including production into my shows. It was me, my dancers, and my fans dancing in a sphere suspended 65 feet in the air with over 100 surround sound speakers that got triggered by the frequencies in my music for me! In all I’ve brought Jersey Club into some unique spaces, pun very much intended.
You have more new music on the way, what can we expect? Any new shows or releases we can get a sneak peek into?
Hmm well yes, I do. Feels good to say that! I have an EP coming out with my homies Black Caviar in the Spring. It’s definitely a different vibe from what my club heads will expect but it’s a more elevated and amplified UNIIQU3. I had so much fun making it!  I’ve also been working on a live show as well something beyond my hybrid DJ sets that will just define who I am as a club Queen. I’m kicking things off in January and I will be making noise every month of 2024.
Looking forward, if you had to predict, what 3 words would you use to describe your 2024?
UNIIQU3’s that bitch!