It’s difficult not to respect a woman who lived in the back of her Mum’s car as a child and is now a globe-trotting mini diva. Dominique Young Unique began writing lyrics as a poverty stricken 13-year-old and has never looked back.
The now 19-year-old Tampa Bay raptress is fast on her way to the top, fuelled by raw talent, sheer determination and the endorsement of some of the music industry’s finest including N.E.R.D and Big Boi. “It’s Dominique’s World. It’s my turn,” proclaims her sweet, helium-tinged battle cry at the beginning of 2011’s Glamorous Touch Mixtape. It’s this heady combination of world-weary, party-popping, fun-loving and steely defiance that defines Dominique’s inimitable flow. Rapid-fire raps sit over pounding electro beats and have been spraying her elated and devoted fans on dance-floors across the USA and Europe for over a year now. She’s even strutted her stuff down the London catwalk, wearing the SS12 collection of Kanye collaborator, Katie Eary. Probably the closest thing that the underground has to a genuine popstar, i-D online caught up with D.Y.U. to find out more.
What inspires you to write? My biggest inspiration is my family. They motivate me. We’ve been through a lot of bad struggles together and they make me want to work harder.
How has it been performing to audiences across the world? It’s fun… and quite hard. I never know if an audience will relate to me, so it’s a little scary, but I love it. We just want to have a great time you know.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far? My fans make me feel very proud. My music is reaching a lot of young people and they hype me up and keep me positive. It’s so exciting to be going so far with my music dream. I’m also proud of myself. No one thought I would make it because I came from the hood, but I had to get me and my family out of that world. Thank God for where I am today.
You filmed a couple of videos from your first Mixtape, Domination, in London and you’ve been here quite a few times right? London, London, lovely London. I think you guys have the best accent ever and I love how you guys party so hard. It’s amazing. I appreciate that the UK is willing to support a foreign artist, that’s the greatest thing about it for me.
Click images to enlarge.
Text and Styling: Aaron Walker
Photography: Justin Borbely
Makeup and grooming: Monica Storrs using MAC
Fashion Assistants: Kirsten Wilson and Sophia Probett
Look 1: Dress Balenciaga archive (at House of Liza). Jewellery Mawi.
Look 2: Jacket Jean-Paul Gaultier (at House of Liza). Bodice Angels. Skirt stylist’s own. Tights My Tights. Boots Charles Anastase.
Look 3: Top and Shorts Junior Gaultier (at House of Liza). Jewllery Mawi. Boots Charles Anastase. Socks Falke.