Story / Erica Hawkins
Photos / Zachary Gray
In preparation for my conversation with Addie Sartino, lead singer and of the indie rock band The Greeting Committee, I ceremoniously sleuthed her online presence. First, I stumbled upon her delightfully succinct Twitter bio which reads, “lady in the street but a freak in the band,” second, I landed on Addie’s auspicious contribution to the recently retired Rookie magazine — an article, titled “The Ways I Wear My Pride.”
She leads with a break down of descriptors, writing, “I’m a performer, writer, daughter, sister, friend, feminist, businesswoman, no-bullshitter, and member of the LGBTQ+ community. My sexuality made the bottom of the list not because it is a hidden part of who I am, but because it is not all I am, nor is it at the forefront of who I am. I have so much more to offer than who I choose to kiss.”
From this, I made a few authoritative determinations: one, that at just 20 she somehow already knows herself in a way that I’ve been and am still in the process of figuring out three decades in. Two, that I was really fucking excited to speak to her. Three, that although her sexuality is part of who she is, we would focus our interview on her first signifier. Not that she is in any way against letting down her barriers and being vulnerable with the world, because, as she shared with me, “Some artists put up a bigger wall between them and others and want to portray themselves the way they want to be seen. I try to be realistic but I also tried to be a good role model and I think my fans have given me the chance to grow. To be more of who I want to be.”
Authenticity is a word that has been clearly overused and abused and nearly devoid of meaning considering we live in a world bursting at the brims with phony personas posturing for social media, but Addie is not one of those. The Greeting Committee’s debut album, This Is It, takes “pho-veracity” to task with its astute recollections of what it feels like to love and come of age simultaneously. This is thanks in large part to Addie’s lyricism. “As far as lyrics go being authentic comes pretty naturally to me honestly just because I’m not that great of a writer. I completely pulled from my own experiences, whereas other writers can really embellish and make this beautiful piece but so different from who they are. For me, all I really know how to do is tell my stories and tell other people’s stories. At the end of the day, selfishly I want to get up on stage and I want to be able to feel what I’m singing and know that that’s my truth. And you know, feel less alone when other people recognize that it’s their true too.”
That call for common truth is reflected in tracks like, “17” where she bellows out the lyrics “I know something you don’t / you think you know it all but you won’t” over retro guitar licks, her voice embodying the calm collected coolness of an early aughts post-punk revival band (Julian Casablancas would be proud).
“It’s interesting to look back at the songs where the lyrics were written years and years ago versus the songs where the lyrics were written within the past year or so. I think “17” is a perfect example, because that’s me writing about looking back at that age and how I didn’t need to fight so hard for everything. When you’re a teenager, and I would never tell anyone to not go through this phase because I think it’s pretty imperative to growing into an empathetic adult, but there’s just so much anger and growing up to realize that you don’t have to be.”
When we got down to driving forces and asked what the band hopes are the key takeaways fro an evening with The Greeting Committee, Addie takes in a breath before letting out an optimistically tinged “Oh my gosh.” There’s a moment of retrospection before she continues, “One thing I think the four of us all try to do is to let people have fun. You go to work all day or you go to school or whatever it is you do with your day and to have those two hours to release all of that energy to be exactly who you are, to be authentic. I hope people see us up there and see the genuine fun we are having and us being our authentic selves. And I think that’s one thing the boys are really great at is being who they are. I try to live that out. I want people to know that they’re loved and I want them to have fun. One thing I’m really big on is using your voice and speaking for what you believe in. That’s a huge thing and I hope people see me do that onstage and feel like they can go out into the world and to that as well.”
Catch The Greeting Committee on tour with The Arkells, here.
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