Grady’s Emily Yaremchuk (l) and Samantha Collings; Credit: Dorvall Bedford

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Pop rock band Grady got their start back in 2018 when guitarist and singer Emily Yaremchuk met drummer Samantha Collings at a party. At the time, Yaremchuk only had a couple song demos posted on SoundCloud, but then came Collings, who not only listened to the demos but also came up with harmonies and drum parts for them. Instantly hitting it off, the two had their very first jam session a month later in Collings’ bedroom in Sterling, which Yaremchuk remembers consisted of a twin-size mattress on the floor with a huge crucifix on the wall behind it. That day, they played an electric guitar with no amp and a drum practice pad rather than a real set.

Despite these meager beginnings, Yaremchuk and Collings could feel the musical chemistry. “I loved the parts that she had come up with,” Yaremchuk says. “We’ve been playing together ever since.”

Grady have seen a lot of growth since that first bedroom jam session. Although they have not yet released music other than two demos on Bandcamp, they—bassist Will Salzmann joined in the summer of 2022—have been all over the D.C. area, performing at Pearl Street Warehouse, Slash Run, and even the Howard Theatre, playing shows for adoring crowds. Now Grady will headline their own residency at DC9 with performances every Tuesday from Jan. 31 to Feb. 21. Yaremchuk says she can’t believe how far they have come since their start.

“It’s bananas!” Yaremchuk tells City Paper. “It’s just amazing that we’ve experienced such a smooth and energetic ride in the D.C. music scene so far.”

“We’re super, super, super grateful for the opportunity from DC9 to play all these shows,” Salzmann adds. “The fact they put their trust in us feels very nice.”

Though the band members usually describe their music as punk and power pop, those descriptions don’t quite capture the entirety of their sound. Rather, they have a very specific identity in mind when writing songs. As Yaremchuk puts it, “pop music is anything with a melody you can follow.” To give a more specific description of what Grady’s music sounds like, they often say their songs would easily fit into the soundtrack of a special homecoming episode of either Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Yet, beyond Grady’s ’90s and 2000s aesthetic lies deeper meanings and personal experiences. Inspired by artists such as Courtney Love—who exercise power without sacrificing femininity—many of the songs Yaremchuk writes tackle topics relating to women’s experiences and frustrations. One such song includes “Stepford,” which references the 1972 book The Stepford Wives. But as Collings puts it, Yaremchuk is able to make these hard-to-talk-about topics more palatable through lighthearted humor.

“I’ve always really respected Emily’s writing,” Collings says. “It’s a real pleasure to listen to what she brings to the table because it’s always poignant, but also really humorous. I think it takes a lot of talent to be able to do that.”

They say the D.C. music scene has been very welcoming toward them as a rising women-fronted band and it seems Grady’s target audience is responding well to their message. People often approach the band after each performance to compliment them. Many of those people are women. “The fact that somebody can come up to you afterward and be like, ‘I love your band’ or ‘that was inspiring to me,’ it feels unreal,” Yaremchuk says.

Even with all the support they’ve received from fans and fellow musicians, Yaremchuk and Collings still feel a sense of stress whenever they perform. Yaremchuk attributes most of the pressure she has felt so far to an internalized fear of not being good enough as women in a typically male-dominated space. She worries she doesn’t quite fit in or has to accomplish more to prove herself. Sometimes, Yaremchuk is afraid people will judge her proficiency as a guitarist or presentation as a performer.

“There’s not necessarily a real person standing in front of me telling me, ‘You’re shit,’” Yaremchuk says. “It’s more like being afraid I’m going to be judged because I don’t have the same guitar chops as these guys. And the way around that is literally going out there and doing it anyway.”

Grady, a.k.a. Emily Yaremchuk, Samantha Collings and Will Salzmann, at Jammin Java on Dec. 31, 2022; Credit: Dorvall Bedford

Starting their residency on Jan. 31, Grady will perform with some well-established local bands such as Scorpio, Milo in the Doldrums, and Rex Pax. It was Yaremchuk who carefully picked the openers for Grady’s residency, making sure to provide an interesting mix of genre and performance styles for each night. She was also the one who contacted each band via Instagram.

“My knees are sore from sliding into so many DMs,” Yaremchuk says. “There’s going to be something for everyone at every show that we have during our residency.”

After nearly five years, Grady are finally in the process of recording their debut EP. A release date has not been set, but they’re hoping to have it out in the world sometime this spring. The EP will include both songs that Yaremchuk and Collings have been working on for years as well as songs written within the past two months.

“It’s got that recognizable Grady sound that hopefully people have grown to like,” Collings says. “We’re just full of anticipation and excitement.”

Aside from the EP, Grady have a few goals they want to accomplish later in the year. They’re especially interested in London’s music scene, saying they’d love to be part of it, even if they only get to play there a few times. But more locally, they mention wanting to give back to the music scene that has shown them so much support by teaming up with community organizations and other local bands to raise money for important causes. “There’s such a vibrant live music scene in D.C.,” Yaremchuk says. “It’s a good place to have these community forward events.”

For now, people can stay updated on Grady’s upcoming release via the band’s Instagram. Otherwise, Yaremchuk hopes people will come to their residency at DC9. “If you can come to a show, I urge you to do so,” Yaremchuk says. “Our goal is always to have a fun time.”

Grady perform at 8 p.m. on Jan. 31, and every Tuesday after through Feb. 21 at DC9. $5.