If you have been paying attention, you would see how Jersey club has spread from a regional genre, emerging out of Newark, to the New York area and then globally. The simple, yet infectious rhythm has been a staple of the New Jersey sonic landscape for years, for everyone like DJs, rappers and kids banging on tables at school lunches. With its newfound push out into the world, the genre has some new faces become kings and queens. One of them is UNIIQU3. Fresh off the release of her Phase 3 EP, her stock continues to rise with tour dates around the globe and a fall tour wrapping up on the back of the EP. The EP saw her signing on her records for the first time, bringing a soulful sound to some softer Jersey club tracks, while also commanding the dancefloor with trap and uptempo club beats.
We caught up with her at Electric Zoo as the thud of the main stage echoed in the background to discuss how she go into Jersey club, her love for musicals, some of the most EDM shit she has ever done and much more.
How did you get into Jersey club?
Just going to school. It's all around us. Yeah, just being around growing up in it.
What was the first time you heard Jersey Club?
Probably at the school dances. We'll be into the Elmo's World theme song. It was like a little bit of the Dora the Explorer. Then whatever rendition of Jersey Club they might have that and going downtown in Newark.
So what is your favorite one of those like animation Jersey Club remixes?
Elmo's World. It was the first like kid-friendly Club song that everybody to listen to me. Elmo's World was popping at the time. So I fuck with the Elmo club song Elmo's World.
For the uninitiated, how would you differentiate between Baltimore Club and Jersey?
Baltimore Club -- aside from it being at a slower beat, Jersey becomes a bit faster. Baltimore Club has a lot of horns a bit more breaks than in Jersey Club. We only use some of those breaks. Baltimore's known for the think break. I feel like they use a lot of horns and a lot of dry kick. We chop up our vocals a lot more, it is a little bit more fast paced and I feel like we've infused more genres within. We infuse more genres within Jersey club than Baltimore did with their genre. We made hybrids of Jersey, trap, r&b, pop and Spanish Latin club. There are also influences from the UK.
When you hear artist who isn’t really in Jersey Club, use it, does it make you happy or does it make you feel like they're taking it and not really adding anything to it?
I always feel like you should be able to make whatever you want no matter where you’re from. I learned to embrace it because I feel it depends on how people go about it. A lot of producers that I work with, they've done their history and they really adore the genre and they learn all aspects of it from the beginning. I know there are producers in Italy that I DJ with that make Jersey club remixes of Italian rap songs, which is sick. It helps those people that enjoy that other style or language of music how somebody from Jersey would feel. So I learned to embrace it. I really think that is dope. It's Global. I've seen some people do some do some creative stuff with it. I never ever thought we hear like a Jersey Club remix of an Italian rap song. How would I find that?
Who would be your Jersey Club kings and queens?
Well first let me say that all those titles got derived from just people taking ownership and the parts they played in the community and how far they push their artistry to help others. So that's what those titles came from. A lot of people refer to me as the Jersey Club Queen. I probably take that title. DJ Slink is also known as the DJ club king, as well as Nadus and DJ JayHood. There are a lot of club queens in general. There needs to be a Worldwide title.
If I wanted to have a proper Jersey Club night out in Newark where should I go?
I just threw a sick 360 live stream release party at this place called the Vandalhaus. It's a really dope cozy venue. There is a lot of action. You have to get the dancers, the DJ's and more to have a 360. Then we also have Porta. That's in Jersey City, but our friends from North Natives collective throw a sick Jersey Club party every month. Then one of my other favorite venues in Newark right now is called the Mary Mike House. It's a house that we turned into a venue with two floors and a backyard and it gets rammed full of energy.
The cops don't bust it?
Because that's what cops do.
It's something magical about where they don't bother us. We are so hidden and you just have to embrace a lot of sweat and dancing. It was so hot at the last party.
When did you start singing on your records?
I've been doing it forever, but putting out in the world that's new. I used to do theater as a kid. Singing was always something I've done. It took me a while to find a way to put it on a club track and “Afterparty” was just that track. It's very modest. I wasn't over singing it more like, you know, I was just having a melodic conversation with you about how some dude’s trying to be my party, but I don't have any room on my list for +1.
I am going to keep doing it. It's new, but I feel like it's much needed especially from a black woman. I feel like we haven't had a black woman sing on dance music in that way in a long time. Like house house, not just like regular dance music -- soul, with a bit more depth. I got inspiration from Cece Peniston, and Robin S, who is from Jersey. I felt like that was needed when I made “Afterparty.” I was singing, “Do I have to make a singing house song?” House music in Jersey, you go to a cookout and you hear all the music and then everybody knows "Follow Me." I was like what is going to be like our "Follow Me?” Where are those songs but for my generation? So that's where I got the start.
What was your moment when you quit liquor store job?
I worked there for a minute doing just parties in Jersey. I worked to a couple of places. Then Nina [Las Vegas] hit me up and wanted me to go to Australia and I was like damn they're not about to let me go for two weeks straight, so I didn't even quit. I just never went back. It was so bad. I went to Australia and I blocked everybody on Instagram that worked at the job. Then I came back from Australia and I told my mom here like they let me off at extra week like because I'm back, but I was really unemployed as fuck. But you know what? I took all that money I made from there and I saved it.
But that liquor store job helped me throw parties and that's how I made my friends. I was like yo, “Let me throw party at this venue.” And they wanted to know if I could pack it out. I told them go half with me on the door and I will get you liquor from for my liquor store for discount price. That's how I used to do parties.
What's on the people might not know about you?
I know I'm very lit and turnt up and I have a very vibrant personality and that's definitely me 24/7, but I actually really enjoy watching musicals. That's my shit. I love Funny Girl and Gene Kelly and old school musicals because they were so extra. I feel like that's why I'm so extra. They used sing and dance all this hot shit and it was so awesome. I feel like that's something people would never expect from me. lf you were to chill with me, I would get high and we're going to watch American in Paris. You would just be blown away like “oh this shit hot.” Trust me.
Last question. Since we're at a EDM Festival. What is most EDM thing you've ever done?
At Holy ship, I drank Vodka at seven o'clock in the morning after going to surprise my fans. I went to all my fans bedrooms early in the morning with my videographer to see who was up and we drank vodka for breakfast. That's kind of EDM as fuck on a rave boat. It's pretty badass to me.
Were they happy about that?
I wasn't. It was house vodka. Holy ship was the most EDM ship. I feel like that's the most EDM thing I've ever did. I'm from Newark, you know, you are from Jersey. So that's pretty EDM as fuck for me. You tell somebody from the hood that and they’re going to be like "what the fuuuck." So you were on a rave boat it's not even a cruise. We were in the middle of storm. I had daytime and nighttime set so EDM all day.