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Picture of Weston Estate at their recent concert in Chapel Hill
Picture of Weston Estate at their recent concert in Chapel Hill
Mackenzie Culp

More About the Boy Band That Dominated My 2021 Spotify Wrapped

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Duke chapter.

As 2021 comes to a close, I thought it’d be appropriate to commemorate it by talking about an artist I discovered that has quickly established itself among my favorites: Weston Estate. According to Spotify, I was in their top 0.05% of listeners for the year, and all of my five most played songs were produced by them. Therefore, based on the data, it can be reasonably concluded that I may have a slight obsession . . .

I heard about the band through–let’s just call it a situationship–that I had with a guy from UNC last February. I remember him taking us through a woody patch on the drive from Chapel Hill to Durham, the sun bathing the scene in a warm golden glow, and angelic voice from the stereo singing over a dreamy guitar: 

No, it ain’t a waste of time

I just really wanna figure out what’s on your mind

No, she ain’t a friend of mine

And baby, I just wanna see ya

Unfair, got you out of luck

Fresh air, you remind me of

I swear, it’s been long enough

Right there’s where I fell in love

Immediately, I was enraptured. I excitedly asked him what the song was called, and he replied that it was “Fresh Air” by Weston Estate–an ensemble that some kids from his previous school formed a few years prior. I was super impressed; they legitimately sounded like an act that one would hear on the radio–in other words, a far cry above the Soundcloud rappers that plague the halls of just about every suburban high school in America. 

About ten minutes later, we arrived at my dorm, and he kissed me goodbye. . . Like, in a literal sense–I never saw him again after that. But, what did last from the entanglement was my fascination with Weston Estate; so when you look at it that way, the whole thing, to quote the band, wasn’t “a waste of time.”

. . .

Okay, so I know I’ve mentioned Weston Estate four times so far, and if you’ve never heard of them before, you’re probably wondering who the heck they are. Don’t worry, I’m getting to that.

This lo-fi alternative band is composed of five very attractive lads (Tanmay Joshi, Marco Gomez, Manas Panchavati, Abhi Manhass, and Srikar Nanduri) from Cary, North Carolina. Their moniker is inspired by a wealthy neighborhood near where they grew up called Weston Estates. Y’ALL, this place is no joke. I Googled it out of curiosity, and the first sentence on its website was, “Weston Estates is an elite community featuring the very best of everything: magnificent dream homes, oversized lots, gracious amenities, plus a close proximity to all metropolitan conveniences.” It’s giving very much luxury, exclusivity, and stay-at-home moms dressed in Lululemon, which is how you can surmise that the boys probably adopted the name ironically.

Weston Estate, as demonstrated on their Spotify page, is best known for hits like “Fresh Air” (as they should be) and “Cotton Candy,” but much of their recent acclaim can be attributed to the viral success of “Pears,” which blew up on TikTok over the summer.

Ever since “Pears” garnered them more recognition, they’ve been keeping the momentum going with more singles (such as “Outside” and “Stoked”), music videos and acoustic versions, and live performances.

I had the opportunity to attend their concerts at Have U Heard Fest and at Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill, and I, as to be expected, vehemently enjoyed my time at them. Their vocals and stage presence were fantastic, and it was surreal being surrounded by so many people who listened to them as much as I did. The only outstanding complaint that I have about these experiences is almost being mowed over by drunk UNC students. At Have U Heard Fest, I was repeatedly pushed into a large speaker and had to grab onto anything I could find–my friend, an unsuspecting stranger in front of me, and most curiously, a fake tree–in order to stay upright and prevent the sound from cutting out. Would I be less salty about this if these students were from Duke or NC State? Probably. Will I still attend their future concerts, even though I know this will inevitably happen again? Duh.

Expanding on my answer to the last question, I will continue to go to their shows not just because the quality of their music warrants it, but also because I’m really rooting for them. As a fellow North Carolina native, college student, and person of color, watching them finally start to reap the rewards of their labor and live out their dreams is incredibly inspiring. It makes me ask myself: if they’re able to do what they’re doing now in spite of various obstacles (a pandemic, school work, living in different cities, entering into an industry in which the representation for South Asian Americans is virtually nonexistent, etc.), then what’s holding you back from going after what you want? Nothing? I thought so. 

In the name of transparency, I should admit that the other major aspect of Weston Estate’s appeal for me has to do with the fact that I completely missed out on the almost mandatory boy band phase of my adolescence. I never understood the hype of One Direction (even though I considered Harry and Zayn dreamy as can be) and 5SOS never got onto my radar, so my investment in this group is my way of living out that missed phase of my young adult life. Could that be regarded as immature and infantile? Yes. Is it fun to pretend that I’m in a relationship with five different dudes who have no clue who I am? Also yes–especially when my actual love life has been rather uneventful. But more about that in my February article.

Thank you all, as always, for sticking with me until the end. Provided that the next time that y’all will be hearing from me is January 2022, I hope that you have the happiest of holiday seasons and an epic New Year!



Mackenzie, a music lover and reality TV enthusiast, hails from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is a junior at Duke University who, after changing her major 17 times, settled on pursuing degrees in sociology, Spanish, and Portuguese. As a nerd with a huge passion for analyzing social phenomena, Mackenzie primarily aims in her writing to explore the intricate ways in which race, gender, and sexuality shape current events and pop culture.