VÉRITÉ Is So Fucking Ready

“If you haven’t put a sledgehammer through a television, you’re missing out on life.” – VÉRITÉ

Photo by Gemma Warren. Bud Out Vegan Moto Jacket. Bud To Tie For Lace Dress.

By Anna Bulbrook

Sitting across from VÉRITÉ in the Nasty Gal offices just a few weeks before her debut album of thirteen alt-pop anthems drops, the first thing I notice is the hair: perfectly déshabillé waves of center-parted auburn. It’s truly epic. (Full disclosure: we spend the next three minutes complimenting each other’s hair.) She’s warm and bright, and makes incredible eye contact. But her down-to-earth vibe and deeply-rooted work ethic understate her early and rather stratospheric successes. Her cover of the 1975’s “Somebody Else” has over 57 million streams on Spotify and her first single, “Strange Enough,” immediately went to #1 on HypeMachine. She’s about to drop her first full-length record on Kobalt. And the best part is? She doesn’t take any of it for granted. Humble, hard-working, and talented as hell: VÉRITÉ is so fucking ready.

So, you grew up on alternative rock, grunge, pop-punk…

Yes, I went through ALL the stages! Early on, it was definitely the Cranberries, the Breeders, 4 Non Blondes, Nirvana, Green Day, the Indigo Girls. And then really whatever was on alternative radio. I grew up an hour north of the city, so we would drive everywhere, and I’d hear everything on there.

How did that all of that inform the alt-pop that you make now?

I grew up listening to really strong female voices. And strong voices in general, or just people who had this very live, raw energy. So I think for me the gravitation towards pop is oddly natural.

So, your song “Strange Enough” went straight to #1 on Hype Machine. That must have had a real impact on you…

It was very unexpected! I always have low expectations, or think that I’m going to fail. That EP was super pivotal and gave me a nudge that this is the direction I’m supposed to be going in. And it gave me a boost of confidence to push forward and make ballsy decisions—and to be ok with that!

That’s the perfect segue to my next question. You quit your job at Applebee’s in Times Square to pursue music full time. What was it like to make the leap?

It was horrifying! I’m very logical. There was no part of me that thought going into music full-time was cushy. Applebee’s was my safety net. I knew that I could pay rent, and that I could make a living, as shitty as it was working there. I was literally dragged out of Applebee’s kicking and screaming—but the second that I left, everything flipped around. All of a sudden the project started making enough money to sustain, and I could continue being independent, which was really important to me.

It definitely was a positive thing, but there were also moments when I cried. I know… I’m the only one that cries when you say I can quit my day job!

Photo by Gemma Warren.

Given your experience taking the leap, you have any advice for other bosses-in-the-making who are either working their asses off to pursue their dreams, or who are ready to make the jump?

Don’t be afraid to work. People don’t understand that sometimes you have to work hard in another field to sustain [your dream]. Being a woman who has worked really hard to maintain independence and owns all my shit—that’s really important to me. Don’t be afraid to put in hours elsewhere and transition at the right time. … I couldn’t be in a better position because of how hard I worked before.

This is your first full-length album, and it’s long—thirteen brand new songs! So: how did you conceive of this record?

The record was made in a similar fashion that the way the EPs were written. I didn’t get to lock myself away and romantically write my album. I was touring, I was doing eighteen million things, and I would write in these small pockets of time.

And what’s it about?

It’s about my human condition, which can be dark, and can be strong, and can be anthemic, and can be kind of meandering at times. And so I just wanted to write a record that was a statement piece in that way, where I’m not afraid to be more assertive and bold in the music and melodies that I’m writing. But I also wanted people to feel something, feel anything.

Let’s talk about your lyrics. Do you find that you have themes, or muses, or motifs that you return to?

The one constant is me hyper-analyzing these tiny situations, blowing them up, and creating a more significant narrative around them. A lot of it has to do with my relationship with the world and my environment and people, and this disconnect that I tend to feel. And I just overanalyze the disconnect. It’s super cerebral. I don’t know how people will interpret it, but to me it seems like a clusterfuck, of just, like, my mind.

In the video for “Phase Me Out,” you’re smashing things, throwing things around. It honestly looks kind of fun. How did it feel to shoot that video?

Um, if you haven’t put a sledgehammer through a television, you’re missing out on life. It was great! We were frenetic, just smashing things, and the director was screaming at us, “Smash it harder!” And yeah, it was great. I just made a video with the same director for “When You’re Gone.” Nothing breaks, but people definitely put their faces in food, which is awesome.

Photo by Gemma Warren.

What’s your approach to style? Do you have a code?

My style in general tends to be a lot of black… I try to buy color and revert back to black! But for me it’s very classic, simple, and chic (ideally) and then really trying to curate awesome accent pieces to brighten it up, or make something lighter… Cool belts, cool rings, cool necklaces.

Ok. So. What do those rad tattoos on your wrists mean?

Mother of God (one wrist) and Jesus Christ (other wrist). But it’s from a painting that my mom got me, the Black Madonna and the Virgin Mother Mary, and so it’s all based on this painting and not my love of religion. Which is odd, but I guess Catholicism has somehow seeped into my being.

Be honest. What was the name of your middle school punk band?

No Smoking. And then at one point it was Shattered Window. I’m not kidding. I was all angst.

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