2019 has been a big year for AWFBEAT, the musical duo consisting of Uni Hunte and Grant Glazier. The two sophomores have released two tracks on Spotify, “Better than Me” and “Side Eyes,” and amassed over 20,000 monthly listeners on the platform. They also opened for bülow at the Activities Board-sponsored concert earlier this month.
Hunte is originally from Harlem while Glazier is originally from D.C. The two artists’ paths coalesced when they met at a pre-college program here at Carnegie Mellon. There were no long-term expectations then. They simply created a group to make music over the program and expected to never see each other again afterward.
Fast forward to Orientation Week 2018. The two found out that they both lived in Stever and immediately rushed to see each other. Their complementary personalities and skills allowed them to take off with AWFBEAT from there. Hunte took over writing the lyrics, and Glazier filled in with the music production.
The name “AWFBEAT” may have been coined from a random word generator spitting out the words “off” and “beat,” but they have begun to attribute deeper meaning to their moniker. The deliberate misspelling of AWFBEAT’s name encapsulates the two’s desire to do something different or even something conventionally considered “wrong.” By naming themselves something that most artists aim to avoid or be otherwise skeptical to dabble in, the pair demonstrates that they aren’t afraid to go outside the norm.
AWFBEAT doesn’t see their schooling and musical career as a zero-sum game where they have to choose one or the other. Both believe that their Carnegie Mellon experience has greatly contributed to the development of their musical career. AWFBEAT’s first songs were written using Carnegie Mellon’s piano in Stever.
“Not prioritizing school doesn’t seem like an option,” Hunte succinctly summarizes.
“Better Than Me” was released in February. The song appears to be a standard love song about admiring someone from afar, but it actually was inspired by “true infatuation with someone’s talent.” Being in an environment like Carnegie Mellon where one is constantly surrounded with incredible talent and passion can be overwhelming, and that aura did not go unnoticed by the duo. Ultimately, this culminated “genuine awe in meeting someone” and seeing someone who makes one go “damn, she is ‘better than me.’”
“Side Eyes,” as stated by the duo, is about the story of a woman dealing with a man who is awful to her. Hunte draws from his upbringing “by strong women,” most notably his mother and his two sisters, saying that he “learned the most” from them. After coming to Carnegie Mellon, he and Glazier both met people with inspiring stories and personalities that all helped shape their further development into early adulthood.
Their contribution to the creative scene at Carnegie Mellon doesn’t stop at their music. Now, they reach out to other campus resources and collaborations with other students. Most recently, the two collaborated with Charles Wang of White Porcelain on some merchandise, which was sold when they opened for bülow. As they expressed in the making of their track “Better Than Me,” the two recognize the outstanding amount of talent and passion on campus and want to expand their network to both showcase their talent and other students’ talents.
What does the future look like for AWFBEAT? Just like any other college student, both Hunte and Glazier are taking it day-by-day. Attending Carnegie Mellon and being emerging artists are both difficult as is individually. Juggling the two is demanding and keeps the two on their toes.
For now, though, they’re going to work on learning to “take care of ourselves” and allow their art and schoolwork to influence one another. Their hearts are truly in the work, which is bound to take them far.