Uncle Waffles is taking DJing to another level, coming out from behind the decks to groove with her dancers — emphasizing performance along with specializing in the South African Amapiano genre.
Before her set at the UnitedMasters event during Grammy weekend, the DJ from Eswatini spoke with Rolling Stone’s Delisa Shannon about repping her homeland and how she’s changing the game in a predominately male dominated space. “Putting Amapiano on the map is like my main priority, so getting to headline shows and getting to showcase Amapiano, [I’m] very excited to see how people are feeling it,” she says about what she’s looking most forward to ahead of the night’s show.
Unlike many DJ sets, where their gear draws a bit of a line between them and their audience, Waffles tears down the fourth wall so to speak and gets front and center with her dancers for some intricate footwork, as Rolling Stone showcased in a previous interview during her headlining debut.
“I realized that as we’re doing more international shows, as we’re going to the world, people don’t understand the genre, people don’t understand the words, so they need a way to connect. And because dance is such a forefront in Amapiano, I always knew that I needed to take it to another level,” she says. “As much as people don’t understand the language, people understand dance — that’s something that doesn’t need to be explained to anyone, people always get it.
“I go to shows where I’m the first touch they have of Amapiano and I always want to show them that there’s the music, but the music goes hand in hand with the dancing. The dancing is extremely important. So yeah, I discovered that if I want to keep showcasing the sound and growing bigger as an artist also, there needs to be a lot more performance.”
Along with repping her homeland, she also advocates for women who are rising in the DJ world. “I think it’s a big responsibility,” she acknowledges. “I love seeing women take over because, you know, this is a very male dominated space. Most of the stars within the DJ space are always male.
“So having stars that are female, emerging — so many females coming out… As much as people always have something to say,” she sighs about the naysayers. “But I think they’re doing absolutely amazing. All the girls that are coming out, emerging. Yeah, some are inspired by me, some are inspired by other people. There’s so many amazing people coming out, and I’m really happy. I’m very happy. There’s plenty of space for all of us to coexist.”