Who is VÉRITÉ? Some might be wondering now, but it won’t be long before the world is exposed to the New York based multi-talented singer and songwriter. At 25 years of age Kelsey Byrne, better known as VÉRITÉ, took the stage at The Drake Underground on May 7, 2015 for Canadian Music Week. Prior to that, she recently finished at SxSW (South by Southwest) and will be off to play Lollapalooza, FireFly Music Festival and shows in the UK in the upcoming months. Her hit single “Strange Enough” was featured on MTV’s Finding Carter, and was recently listed on Tidal’s ‘artist to watch out for’. It’s no wonder that VÉRITÉ is definitely an artist ‘to watch out for.’
Opening her set at the Drake Underground with “Heartbeat,” majority of the fans knew all the lyrics and couldn’t stop dancing. The whole venue was memorized and made sure they were as close as possible to the stage to hear VÉRITÉ sing “Echo” and “Colours.” Just as she started to sing “Strange Enough” the beautiful voices of the audience singing along truly came together and made it an unforgettable night.
VÉRITÉ’s stage presence captured the attention of everyone at the venue, even the ones who aren’t familiar with her music. Closing her set with “Weekend” and with catchy lyrics such as ‘We’re on the edge baby, Two hearts starting to slow, And we can fall in love for the weekend’ there wasn’t a single person in the room without a smile on their face.
We sat down with VÉRITÉ, just before her set to talk about her first time in Toronto, upcoming plans and her passion towards her music.
Read the interview below, and check out our photoshoot at the bottom!
You’re here playing the largest music festival in Canada, how do you feel?
I feel phenomenal. It’s sunny and it’s warm and I’m ready.
It’s your first time here in Toronto, have you checked out Tim Hortons or done anything exciting that you want to share?
I haven’t really done anything. We literally got here and checked in and then I saw you. It’s funny, Tim Hortons, they have in New York. The one Tim Hortons, is where I use to work across the street. I’ve been there once.
Where exactly does the name VÉRITÉ come from?
It is french directly translated to truth. So it’s based of the concept Cinema Vérité to represent candid reality and the word fit and it made sense. Then the meaning kind of fell into place.
You’re one of the 2015 “artist to watch out for,” how do you differentiate from all the other new and up coming artists?
I don’t know, especially in this genre I fell in, there’s a lot of super bad ass females killing it. I don’t think about the “competition” and kind of focus on what I’m doing and trying to do it to the best of my ability. In a new and unique and trying to figure out what my lane is in the industry.
When it comes to songwriting, do you think it’s the lyrics that affect the music or the music that affects the lyrics?
I’m a solid 50/50 on that. With some tracks you get a lyrical idea caught in your head and it sticks. Then you build off of that and then the music and the melody come from that. Other times, you have something more produced and then it comes together. It’s definitely 50/50.
We’re at a large music festival and you just played SxSW. What makes you stop and listen to a new artist?
It depends what medium…
*Interrupted by a bee* “I’m terrified of bees. Now you have all captured my one irrational fear. I am horribly afraid of bees.”
I think it really depends how I’m listening, if it’s one of those things I’m listening to on spotify or online, it’s more the lyrics and where the vocals wind up sitting. The vocals and percussion for me, and the quality of the production. But yeah, live is definitely percussion and energy.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
It definitely goes through phases of discovering new artists and finding new artist. I’ve recently been obsessed with Childish Gambino, a little unhealthy. And then always James Blake. I’ve come from 90s alternative rock, it’s what I grew up on. Literally, when we’re driving, we listen to Lithium, so it’s like throwback music. Recently I been like The Cranberries, and Stone Temple Pilots.
How did you and your producer come together ?
We have met years and years ago and he’s such a great musician. It was just really random, he direct messaged me on Twitter and we started from there. It’s been like this back and forth email relationship ever since. It’s really interesting as we have new producers onto the project. As comfortable as I am, let’s just email, we don’t even need to get together, just email me everything and we’ll be okay.
What’s the meaning behind your tattoos on your wrist?
They were my quitting “Applebee’s tattoo”. I’m a work-a-holic, give me a job and I’ll do it. It means mother of God, I’m not very religion. But I feel like the catholisim from my family has slowly seeked into my veins. I like the tradition of it.
You recently released your new EP Echo, what’s next for you?
We have EP number two done and we released two tracks off of that so far. So finishing that release and then writing and playing shows. We have a lot of exciting shows this year so far, and they’re still getting booked. We’re excited.
How would you say you go The Xtra Mile ?
I think, especially with these guys, it’s definitely a sense of I have this family that surrounds the project from the band, to the producers from my management. For me, I always just want to work harder than everyone. I feel like I’m the leader of the ship, and if I’m not working harder than everyone else, then no else is going to work as hard. They kill it, literally just us humans. I want to be the best I can for them and for everyone who listens.
At the end of the day, when you call everyone family, you don’t really see it as work do you?
No, I mean there’s definitely moments when you’re really tired and you have to pull yourself together. So those moments it’s never. I mean I literally waited tables for the past ten years and just quit my day job. We’re good. I’m in Toronto playing a show, we’re fine. We’re on an adventure.
We definitely see you getting bigger in the music industry. Is there one thing you want people to always remember about you?
The high energy. Also maybe that I’m genuine. I really want to be the type of person that puts together this very cohesive perfect little package. I try and obviously I want things to be together and look good but I definitely write everything and produce everything. It’s really important to me to translate my vision for all of this, I feel like if people are receiving that in a way that feels like it’s authentic, then I’ll be happy.
What would your end goal be?
It’s funny, I been asked that question before and I have no end goal. I have no humble aspiration to the project. I want to work my ass off and go as far as I can. If there were to even be an end goal, it’d be to be happy and make people around me happy. If I’m doing that in any sense, then I’m successful.
Listen to VÉRITÉ’s hit single “Strange Enough” below!
[Photography by Lucas Wieckowski]