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We discuss her sophomore album, festival lineups and... Porridge? 
Published: 26/02/2020   Author: Neelam Hardwarsingh
“This record is my internal dialogue from the last two years trying to find meaning while loving someone the best I could”, Brooklyn based singer-songwriter Vérité says of her sophomore album, “This record is about commitment”. Within that overarching theme: the messiness and occasional discomfort of a relationship, the unflattering, the mundane, and equally, the complexities. In pop, love is so typically glorified and sugar-coated to allow for escapism: the bubblegum romantic. But Vérité is gorgeously honest, celebrating the beauty in settling. We spoke to her ahead of her show in London, supporting Wrabel.

Congrats on the new album! Now the title, ‘New Skin’, what does that mean to you?

I think this idea that we go through really similar experiences throughout our lives, but each time we hit a similar experience, we’ve grown, we’ve learned and we’ve changed; we’re kind of hitting the same obstacles but we’re hitting them as different versions of ourselves, probably better versions of ourselves. I think ‘New Skin’ is that idea of just shedding old skin and growing new skin, and a new perspective on existence, really.

How was writing and recording your sophomore release different from your first, in terms of maybe what you’ve learnt, and new themes you wanted to tackle?

I feel like the processes were similar in a way, as a writer, it’s a stream of consciousness and then stringing things together. As a record, I was much more hands-on with production and being in the studio, and playing the live instruments; I definitely think that shaped the writing and production, and ultimately the final record is me being on that ground level in a way. I think it was that way because I’m more confident than I was previously.

I know they must all be like your babies, but do you have a favourite track, or one you have the most fun playing live?

Oh yeah, they’re all my babies, but I’ll kill some of them! I think that ‘Think Of Me’ is the most fun to play live, especially now I’m on an acoustic tour and I’m playing for so many new people who aren’t as familiar with me and my music, so for shock value its 10/10. With a full band, ‘Faded’ is the most fun to play. It’s vocally acrobatic and it keeps me interested, as well as the audience. I think ‘Gone’ has a special place in my heart, it was the first song I wrote that I knew was going to be on the record and I think it really shaped and informed the direction that it took.

You’re well known for your covers - have you been working on any new ones recently?

I have a few that I’m debating, but I haven’t actually started the process. I think where I am now is when I’m done with the US tour, I have a few more dates in Europe and then I head to the US, I’m really excited to start moving things around and I definitely want to do a few more covers and I have a bunch of new music almost ready that I’m excited to start releasing. My favourite cover that I’ve ever done is ‘John My Beloved’ by Sufjan Stevens. I think that song just actually kills me and people really responded to it which I was really grateful for.

What song do you wish you’d written?

Honestly, it’s anything I cover. So I’ve done three covers to date, I believe; I’ve done The 1975’s ‘Somebody Else’, which is just insanely written. I also covered Childish Gambino’s ‘Sober’, which is brilliant, and I covered ‘John My Beloved’ by Sufjan Stevens. When I find a song that I’m like “fuck, if I had been brilliant I would’ve written that”, I usually just cover it.

Is there a quality to your songwriting - and even production - you always strive to achieve?

I think it’s ease of the melody. Like, I think for me I don’t write pop-specific melodies a lot of the time, but I think for me this idea that I write melodies that are very specific to me, and that they’re recognisable even if you wouldn’t hear my voice. That is always my goal.

Did growing up in New York provide any advantage to becoming a musician at all? What was the scene like there?

I feel like I was so outside of any scene. I think that there’s just a lot of people and there’s a lot of hustle, right? So you are around people that are just working so hard, and so that sort of drive and work ethic was really instilled in me from a really young age. But I do think that even now as a scene, New York feels oddly desolate, and so when I’m home in New York I write alone and I kind of isolate myself in a really nice way.

You had your start in middle school punk, but now you find yourself in between electronica and pop. Do you think there’s any similarity between the two genres? How do they compare?

I think that when I started, I was a little confused about what my sound and direction were going to be. I felt like the only way I could be successful is if I went pop because that’s what a lot of us are told. So in the beginning there were almost less similarities - I pivoted hard from where I started, which was playing in bands, but now I’m kind of merging the two in a cool way. I have a little bit more perspective and can see similarities and ideas now, and I think the similarities come out in the live shows as well.

I see you grew up listening to a lot of alt-rock bands, but is there anyone in the scene right now that inspires you just as much?

Oh, so much! I’ve been listening to so much Big Thief, I think Adrienne’s songwriting is absolutely incredible, and that’s an example of pure rock, but also songwriting at its finest.

And what have you been listening to lately, old or new?

Ooh, I’m trying to think who’s on my playlist! It’s been so much Big Thief, but I’ve also recently just gotten nostalgic and been listening to Daughter again, and their records kill me. Lots of Doja Cat, this artist called Arthur Moon, who’s coming on tour with me in the States, she’s amazing. Yeah, those are the main things on repeat right now.

With the Reading and Leeds lineup just being released in the last week, there’s been controversy about the lack of women musicians on the bill - only 9%, in fact. How does that affect you?

It’s interesting, it’s one of those things I don’t think about often mostly because I’m in hustle mode, so I’m like “cool, fuck you, but I’m going to find another way to do it”, in a way. But I do think it’s shit really, and it does feel like we should be past this point, especially in music, where so much talent is female — but it’s still is an uphill climb to get equal representation. For me, I don’t think that bills need to be 50% male and 50% female, but I do think that when booking artists, people should be looking equally at male and female, and comparing stats and all of that, and I think if you did that you would find much more women on the bill.

And what do you think we can do to change that?

I think firstly talking about it. I think second off, it’s hard as an independent artist to feel as though you have leverage. I think on my level you have conversations, you create opportunities for women… I only want women opening for my tours, and providing women who can’t sell as many tickets as me the chance to get in front of people, etc. So I do what I do, and people who are further along in the process can do what they can do with their leverage. I think it’s a very personal thing of what feels right to you, as well as what are you able to do.

Okay, since you’re here in the UK, what’s your favourite thing about being here?

People keep asking me this and I keep saying the chips, you guys just do it right. The chips and porridge, I can’t choose between the two! The States don’t really do that so it makes me really happy.


The porridge in England is fucking amazing! In the States it’s just a packet of oats and it’s not that good. You guys care really about it, it’s like a whole thing! You offer oat milk, you even give me the option to be better. You put, like, poached fruit in it, it’s great I love it!

What do you do in your downtime?

I feel like I sleep! I feel like I never really give myself downtime, and so I’m constantly like “great, I’m going to nap for a week and then I’m going to continue working”. But recently I’ve been trying to get into graphic design, I’ve been learning Photoshop and I’ve been doing all these different things to try and find a hobby, but also it feels really productive so I don’t feel guilty sitting on the couch for hours working on it. I just did my first artwork - I’m releasing an acoustic version of 'Good For It' and I did the artwork for it, I designed the merch for the tour and so I’m starting to kind of merge both aspects. It feels really good and very empowering that I don’t have to rely on someone else to do that, and I can slowly execute my vision for things. I’m still in remedial stages so it’s nothing brilliant, but it still feels great. 

Vérité’s second album, ‘New Skin’ is available to stream now.



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