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Andrew Guarino / Gavel Media

Mind to Mic: A Profile on Weston Estate

As the semester is starting to ramp up, and the essays and exams are rolling in, students are desperate for a musical reprieve from their academic woes. Mind to Mic, hosted by Boston College's Asian Caucus (AC), is an exciting annual event featuring an Asian American artist. AAPI artists in the music industry have been rising in popularity, but they remain fairly underrepresented. Asian Caucus's event seeks to foster appreciation of and showcase underrepresented artists in the music industry. This Friday, February 2nd, AC will be hosting Weston Estate here at BC!

Weston Estate is a rising indie band consisting of five members: Srikar Nanduri (guitar), Manas Panchavati (vocals), Tanmay Joshi (vocals), Abhi Manhass (production, bass), and Marco Luka (vocals), all of whom are people of color. Marco is Cuban American, and Srikar, Manas, Tanmay, and Abhi are Indian American. They describe themselves as "ya aunty's favorite boyband" on their Spotify. Their story is unique and quaint: the members had grown up together in a neighborhood of Cary, North Carolina, and started making music for fun. After releasing a sample of a Bollywood song on SoundCloud and adopting the name "Weston Estate" from the neighborhood where they used to hang around, the band started writing songs and performing. 

Established in 2017, the band continues to do most of its production in-house despite its rising popularity and success. Some of their hit songs include "So Good," "Pears," and their latest release, "Slowly." Weston is loved for their meaningful song lyrics that navigate the struggles of coming of age as well as the struggles of the members' own creative journeys. In their song "Sixty," the lyrics read, "What do you think about at night? / We live for different reasons / Are you afraid to even try?" "Pears," in particular, was written during the peak of COVID-19 as the band was able to take a trip to the mountains of Maggie Valley (the title of their 2022 album) and use music to heal, grow, and produce music with great meaning to the members. The genuineness and heartfeltness represent the band and transcends their music and stage presence. Weston was in Boston last February as an opener for Vietnamese American singer Keshi and last June on their "Don't Kill the Messenger" tour, generating a continued number of fans everywhere they go.

Members of the Asian Caucus E-Board commented that Weston Estate was a recurring answer when surveying students who they'd like to see at Mind to Mic. They felt that Weston is a band with the perfect vibe for the event and would bring greater exposure of Asian musicians to BC's community. Some of the songs they look most forward to hearing include "So Good" and "Slowly." Asian Caucus's event will consist of a performance by Weston Estate, followed by a Q&A session led by members of AC. The Q&A will look like a conversation among the band members as well as BC's community regarding lived experiences of growing up POC and navigating that identity. Especially in a music scene with a lack of POC representation, Weston Estate exemplifies the importance of representation for both music listeners and those who hope to venture out into the industry. Mind to Mic will be a time for meaningful discussion and thought but also a time to appreciate and relax while listening to amazing music! 

The success of Asian artists in the music industry comes in waves. Bruno Mars and Olivia Rodrigo are among a handful of Asian artists who have climbed to the top of Billboard charts but are too often not recognized as Asian by the greater public. This has much to do with what America considers Asian, namely East Asian and Southeast Asian. Asian music genres such as K-pop and the sweepstake success of groups like BTS are also notable and have helped with the increased visibility of Asians in the music industry. But BTS and other K-pop groups remain perceived as foreign artists and raise questions about why Asian pop stars can succeed in America whilst Asian American artists struggle to. AC's Mind to Mic event also sees this struggle as relatively few students outside the Asian American community know about the event despite hosting well-known artists such as RINI ("My Favorite Clothes") and Stephanie Poetri (I Love You 3000). 

Still, musical artists across the Asian diaspora are setting in the industry, from Grammy-nominated singer Laufey to Vietnamese American artist Thuy, whose songs went viral on TikTok. The Head in the Clouds Festival, which is considered a staple Asian American music event, attracted 30,000 attendees in Pasadena last summer. 

To increase the visibility of Asian artists in the music industry, the first step is to support smaller artists whenever possible. On that note, Be sure to check out Weston Estate and support BC's Asian Caucus this Friday at the Rat (Lyons Hall)! Doors open at 6:30 PM, and admission is free for all BC students.

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