Wilmington band sings to spread positivity - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Wilmington band sings to spread positivity

They’re a band based out of Wilmington and they're singing about the city. (Source: U.N.I.T.Y) They’re a band based out of Wilmington and they're singing about the city. (Source: U.N.I.T.Y)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

They’re a band based out of Wilmington and they're singing about the city.

Responding to the violence and the opioid epidemic in the city, U.N.I.T.Y formed in 2015 to spread positivity.

“There were a lot of things happening in Wilmington as far as opioid abuse...especially us being African-Americans in Wilmington, there’s a lot of oppression, some known, some unknown, and so we want to be the voice for our people," lead singer Daniel Barrett said. "Not only our people, but a voice for our city and kind of speak out to the world about what’s going on.” 

All four band members have seen exactly “what’s going on” in Wilmington. Growing up in the city, they’ve witnessed friends die from violence and drug abuse, and get sucked into the wrong crowds all while they tried to choose a different path.

“Seeing people you grew up with get killed and going to jail and stuff like that, it takes a toll on you and it’s hard to be a black male in this time period right now and try to not be in the wrong scene and stuff like that," drummer Tyleek Bazil said. "So it takes a big toll on you and helps you embody the music because you feel the pain everybody else has.” 

“A lot of people that were involved in that kind of stuff were telling me, 'You can get out. You can make a better life for yourself' because it’s not worth it," bassist Joey Lamb said. "Going, 'I don’t want to be another statistic and I just want to choose my path in life and make it what I want it to be and not what anybody else thinks it should be.'” 

What they witnessed here growing up, they said, is what prompted U.N.I.T.Y to form.

The band’s first song, We Gotta Make a Change, is about facing fears and obstacles in life, and specifically about violence in the Wilmington.

Their first show was a free gig in 2015. Since then, they’ve done numerous shows, unpaid and paid, practically sold out bars, played in cities across the South and won an open mic night for rapper T.I.

‘You write these songs at home and it’s this personal feeling that you have and then you get on stage and people are singing the songs with you and it’s crazy because it’s like it was all of a sudden one humble moment you by yourself," Barrett said. "You and your mind and some pen and some paper, you know, by yourself and then all of a sudden, a whole bunch of people singing these words that was between you, your mind and the pencil and paper.”

Their recent success only drives them to be better, they said. Practices in the church they still perform in on weekends sometimes last from 10 p.m. until seven or eight o’clock the next morning.

“We want to be able to have a substance to us that people, especially people from here, can be proud of," Barrett said. 

Despite their dedication to their craft and drive to be better, U.N.I.T.Y said the band is about more.

“It’s not even about just the music or trying to be famous or trying to make it," Brantley said. "We know that the message that we’re promoting, the message that we’re sending, people have got to hear it.”

They’re just trying to be the voice they didn’t have growing up in Wilmington.

“I wouldn’t have done a lot of the stuff I’ve done before," Lamb said. "It would show me that I have another option before going through all the stuff I went through to get to where I am today.”  

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