Brooklyn-based songstress VÉRITÉ creates empowering, emotion-packed music that has a tinge of surrealism, which can best be seen through her latest EP, Living.
The EP kicks off with “Constant Crush,” starting out slowly then steadily building up, both as a song and as a perfect intro to the album. It features Kelsey Byrne’s hauntingly beautiful vocals over an almost dark and foreboding backing. From there it moves onto single “Underdressed,” which tells a vulnerable story shielded by poppy synths and a danceable beat. “Rest” is a perfect midpoint for the EP and is where it changes from a typical synthpop album to one that holds a more eclectic sound. It’s easy to see that Byrne takes inspiration from other genres, like R&B, and weaves that into her tracks “Rest,” “Gesture,” and “Living.” From the beginning of the album to the end, it changes from upbeat singles to a collective piece of varying sounds, showing that Byrne’s isn’t willing to be confined to just one genre.
I was able to sit down and chat with Kelsey for a bit about her new EP as well as her musical influences.
Nicole for AudioFemme: You recently released your EP Living. What were your inspirations behind it?
VÉRITÉ: It’s strange in the writing process because you don’t think that much during it. I think it came together more in the editing process where I was taking moments and hyper-analyzing them and blowing them up. There weren’t any specific inspirations, and it was more me wanting to push myself and elevate myself.
I do a similar thing when writing. Like when I’m editing, it all comes together and seems to make more sense then.
What sort of headspace were you in when you were coming up with the EP? I know you said you didn’t have any specific inspirations or a “Eureka!” moment, but was there anything that led you to these songs?
This was really the first time in my life that I had time to write. It’s an odd struggle to have—the luxury of time. It’s difficult, and there was a lot of anxiety and hyper-analyzing. I was really neurotic about it.
What is your favorite song off the EP?
They’re all my babies. I want to give five different answers. When I wrote Living, it was a good moment for me in life. I wasn’t hiding behind anything, and it really shows when I perform. I love them all.
I had a feeling that was the case! Is there anything you wanted fans to get out of your new EP?
My goal is to have people feel anything. I don’t care what they feel—hopefully it’s not violent anger—but any sort of emotions. I don’t want them to feel nothing.
Do you think your sound has evolved since starting out and the release of your EP?
I hope so. I think that with this EP especially I wanted to move away from “electro-pop.” It’s easy to get lost in the alt pop world. I wanted to really push it sonically. “Gesture” was more laid-back, “Living” is a downtempo R&B style. I was trying to really push it more.
What does your musical history look like? And what brought you to writing and performing?
Performing was always in my nature. I’ve been playing little shows since I was eight or nine when my dad was my band. I lived in a small town in upstate New York, and it was a conducive environment for that. I began writing more at 16 and 17. I developed this probably more into how I want to be interpreted. It’s been a slow process.
If you could collaborate with anyone—living, dead, whatever—who would that be?
Oh shit. Loaded question. Just, so many. I feel like lately my number one is James Blake. I feel like I’m supposed to say The Beatles or something, but based on what I’m listening to right now, I’d have to go with him.
Tell me about your plans for upcoming shows and releases.
Right now it’s just mainly finishing my current tour. Chicago last night was incredible, and I’m going from Minneapolis to Seattle to LA. I’m holding off on doing any festivals this summer and am focusing more on an album. I’m slowly plotting for future plans.