Man, the Internet really loves VERITE.
If you Google the name of the young New York-born-and-based singer and songwriter (which is usually stylized in aesthetically pleasing uppercase letters), you will find that several taste-making blogs and sites – BuzzFeed, Pigeons & Planes, etc. – have been enthusiastically singing her praises this past year.
“Honestly, I’ve had nothing but a positive experience, especially as a new artist releasing music on the Internet and kind of becoming involved in that sort of community to, you know, have people find the music,” says VERITE (real name: Kelsey Byrne), 24, on the phone from her Williamsburg, Brooklyn, apartment. “And everyone seems to have a positive response to it, which is amazing.”
Although people have only recently taken an interest in VERITE and her work, she has spent most of her young existence either playing or composing music.
“I’ve been playing in bands for a really long time,” she says. “I think, one day, there was just this sense of, like, I can do this, after playing in punk cover bands in middle school and high schools. … It was a really long process of curating a style and a vibe and a voice as a writer – but a good process, you know.”
About two years ago, the VERITE project started to become a reality, as she and producer/drummer Elliot Jacobson, who has performed and/or collaborated with many female artists (Ingrid Michaelson, Jenny Owen Youngs, Elle King) began working on the songs that make up her 2014 “Echo EP.”
“I think it was just like this really, often natural process of, you know, we write everything via email and we’ve sent ideas back and forth for a long time,” she says. “And, then, 10-12 songs later, we were just like, ‘oh, maybe we should release something.’”
Considering that VERITE performs the sort of synth-heavy, up-tempo alternative pop that’s all the rage now, people have been predictably comparing her to other one-named, alt-pop songstresses such as Lorde and Banks.
“There’s definitely a sense of, like, I am a fellow female artist with a one-name stage name, and, so, definitely ... I’m in an alternative pop category with them,” she says. “But I think the females that are currently in that category, each has such a distinct and clear voice that, like, my goal isn’t necessarily to be in the same group, but just to kind of create my own, distinct voice and go from there.”
If anything, she wants to live up to her stage name (which refers to any form of media based in naturalism and realism and, of course, is French for “truth”), making sure she stays honest in both her music and her everyday life.
“What sold me on the name was this one definition of a representation of candid reality,” she says. “And, for me, I was just like, that feels so right to me and it’s definitely what I try and do in writing and interacting with people in general. I tend to be a little bit of an open book.”
At the moment, VERITE isn’t signed to a label – which is cool, since she wants to stay as independent as she possibly can. The online buzz has given her enough clout to tour and headline shows, like the one she’s doing Friday night at Local 506 in Chapel Hill. And in an age when the term “Internet sensation” is usually taken with a grain of salt, VERITE is more concerned with getting her music out there and having it speak for itself.
“I think, for me, I’m not too concerned about becoming lost in the Internet hype, because I’m really focused and have a clear sense of what I want to do as an artist,” she says. “And, for me, so long as I maintain that, the rest is kind of gravy.”
Who: VERITE, with Jesse Anderson Ainslie and thefacesblur
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Local 506, 506 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill
Info: 919-942-5506 or local506.com