Before coming to Belmont, future roommates Grady Wenrich and Sam Gidley knew they both were interested in music, but had not yet had the thought of forming a band.
As incoming freshmen, the two Maddox Hall residents began recording tracks before meeting John Paterini, a singer/songwriter across the hall.
“Sam played drums, I played bass and did the whole rapping thing,” Wenrich said. “We heard John’s voice and asked him if he wanted to sing and play in the group. He plays guitar too, so it just kind of… worked,”
Blending styles of soul, funk, hip hop, and pop, the band began writing a couple songs in their dorm room, but not before creating a memorable name based off Wenrich’s first name: Gravy and the Biscuits.
“We’ll usually write a guitar or bass part and pick a topic, then Grady will write some verses off of that,” Paterini said.
Their first hit, “Butter,” a song about finding one’s own unique creativity, became well-known after the band created a music video to it and posted the video on YouTube. Before they knew it, the video had received 10,000, then 15,000, then 20,000 views. As of now, the video has more than 25,000 hits.
“We thought it was crazy at first, but we’ve just got to keep it going,” Wenrich said.
And the attention hasn’t stopped with just one song. The group’s second video, “That Sunset,” has had more than 14,000 hits.
The band is quick to show appreciation to those who helped make their music and videos popular.
“We had Good Music All Day help us out,” Paterini said. “It’s the No. 1 college music blog for trafficking music every day. We were posted on the homepage.”
On its website, Good Music All Day describes the band as having “swag rhythms, sexy lyrics, funky horns, more soul than momma’s kitchen and a beat that if you can’t groove to – you should see a doctor.”
The initial success of the videos led the band to record and release a seven-song EP titled “Soul Food.” All seven tracks are available for free download on both gravyandthebiscuits.com, and on goodmusicallday.com.
For many Belmont students, “Soul Food” provides a much-needed break to the stressors of academic life.
Sydney Shadrix, a sophomore featured in the video for “That Sunset,” calls the group a “chill, Californian, catchy” band. Those three characteristics have been key to attracting listeners, she said.
Because of their widespread popularity among college students, Gravy and the Biscuits will tour many parts of the United States.
“We’ve already got a few shows planned at a couple colleges already – Kansas State, a festival at Colorado College and some other colleges around the area,” Gidley said. “We’re just trying to play as much as we can since we’re around each other 24 hours a day, basically.”
While the three balance their upstart group with their lives as Belmont students, their goal is to keep people interested in the music they make.
“We’re just trying to keep more people listening by continuing to release singles and videos,” Wenrich said.