“Great bands like Uncle Mary aren’t easy to find” expresses their biggest advocates.
If you haven’t heard of Uncle Mary, quit slacking and get on this hype train ASAP.
With the Wammie Music Awards quickly creeping up, District Fray has been non-stop in their attempt to interview D.C.’s most passionate nominees.
And one of the most lovable and passionate groups to hit the Wammie circuit are none other than Best Rock Band and Song nominees Uncle Mary.
As soon as I arrived at lead singer Lesa’s apartment, it turned out everyone I bumped into on the way over was part of the Uncle Mary family.
Kids, friends, spouses, siblings. Even a 9-month old who was chilling despite all the loud instruments.
From the moment I set foot in this beautiful home, I didn’t know who was who aside from Uncle Mary’s point person Vee. But regardless of unfamiliarity, I felt welcomed.
Everyone shook my hand, hugged me, chatted with me and even offered me something to eat.
It was a space where I knew absolutely nobody, but the camaraderie was still so familiar. And that familiar feeling didn’t dissipate when the band and I sat down for our talk.
Who Is Uncle Mary?
“We are unique, versatile, deep-to-the-core and big “’B’ Black,” said guitarist Gabrielle Hights with a large applause following her last word.
D.C.’s Uncle Mary is a passionate rock project conceived by the gracious songstress that is Lesa Campbell and is already making huge waves despite their short time in the D.C. live music scene.
Naming the band after her musically-versed uncle and her inspiring grandmother Mary, Lesa started the band back in 2021, hoping to have a project that voiced her intimacy, self-perseverance and demand for respect in a beautiful manner.
Along with Lesa, you have bassist Sean Davy, a skilled and chilled instrumentalist who’s cool on the surface, but sweetly smiles ear to ear when no one is looking.
Up next: Gabrielle Hights, a Texas transplant who never lacks the Southern charm and has a fashion sense that screams rock-star charisma.
Also catching my eye in the band were UM’s guitarist Chuck, a self-identified nerd and the band’s most fervent advocate, and none other than Sonny Wilde: the drummer extraordinaire and goofball who the band loves like a brother.
The amazing thing about a band like Uncle Mary is their influences know no genre of any sort.
Whether it’s Lesa channeling Sasha Fierce in her singing or Chuck pulling inspo from Avenged Sevenfold, the band takes what they can from musical greats and uses it to create the iconic Uncle Mary sound.
And when Uncle Mary talks about musical greats, it isn’t always the Beyoncés of the world.
If anything, UM sends a lot of love and receives love from other DMV artists.
Artists like the ever-so-bold Nkoyi, a metal screamer versed in gutturals and an arguably magnificent collaborator in the Tiny Desk Contest recording.
Undoubtedly a band who knows how to make the human connection in this beautiful area, the only thing that matches UM’s humanity is their extraordinary talent.
Wammies + Tiny Desk Contest
“Nobody can touch us or even come close to touching us” claimed Chuck despite a shocked look from the humble and polite Lesa.
“I’ve seen the work we’ve put in and it’s no surprise that we got the acclaim we received. It’s deserved.”
When speaking to the band about the Wammies and what an Uncle Mary win would mean, it was almost prophetical how even the modest Lesa had seen this happening from the start.
“I had a plan for Uncle Mary. We were going to work hard, grow and be the best for ourselves. We’re a family. And I love that this family has turned so many heads” proclaimed Lesa.
And when it came to NPR and hopefully being a local band that plays at the same desk that Lizzo, Tyler, The Creator and Mitski once played, everyone in the apartment full-on raved about how amazing that would be.
Imagine it: a Black-and-Proud D.C. rock band playing at the golden pedestal that is NPR. While last year’s winner was from Arlington, Virginia, it would be even more satisfying for a D.C. band to finally earn the honor that’s right across the road — and Uncle Mary seems like the ideal choice.
As soon as we wrapped up and I ended the recording for my notes, Uncle Mary and their entire base showed me a kind of love that honestly made everything worth a million bucks.
Whether it was posing for social media blasts or kids asking me for tips on being a journalist, I felt no lack of appreciation from this wonderful community of UM’s loved ones.
They were heartfelt and gracious. Impeccably forward in their love. It’s no wonder that Uncle Mary is such a charismatic and affectionate band.
With this much heart and family, how could you not be?
Check out Uncle Mary’s Wammie nominated song, “Have Your Love” on YouTube and Spotify. Watch their Tiny Desk Contest submission, here. To learn more about Uncle Mary visit their website here or follow them on Instagram at @weareunclemary.
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