photos / Jasmine Safaeian
styling / Jessica Worrell
hair + makeup / Ashley Donovan @ Celestine Agency
story / Miz Kane
“I’m not one to make love, but I’m down to give a fuck,” is just an example of the attention-grabbing lines and content singer Verite utilizes in her music to grab hold onto the ears of listeners, to invite them into her world. Her latest EP, Living, simultaneously released on the newly 26-year-old’s birthday, is a very open look into what initially seems like her outlook on love, but turns out to reveal a much deeper and heavier relationship.
While blending genres and giving dynamic-pop realness, the Brooklyn native introduces a new type of romanticism via dual-meaning songs and candid lyrics. With an angelically calming voice, the budding songstress delivers dark material in a light-hearted manner that leaves listeners feeling more daydreamy than emo. A winning combination, Verite’s vocals along with her lyricism can make a relationship coupled with depression sound like #goals.
Your new EP Living came out in May. Tell me about the journey you went through with creating this project.
I’ll preface by saying I’m so glad that it finally exists. That to me is like the biggest weight off of my shoulders. It came together. I had released a second EP called Sentiment I think early summer of last year and I’m always writing and always compiling material so kind of in the wake of that, I was just having a much different experience writing music. It was the first time I had written music full time without a day job, without waitressing and so I had all of this time that I had never had to focus on the project and writing music. I found it ridiculously terrifying and so really what happened was I was able to focus and over-analyze everything I was thinking, everything I was writing for the first time in years because I had just never had the luxury of that. You know, to even focus on writing. I think the result was kind of taking these small moments and not defining them and kind of blowing them up into these songs lyrically. And then, sonically, it was just about meeting a bunch of different people to elevate and expand the sound that I had kind of established in the first two EPs.
And that’s a great talent to have, being able to take small moments and being able to really magnify them because even in like… You know, you write songs and I write stories so sometimes you can overlook little details, you know what I mean?
Yeah, it’s definitely a challenge. I think even for you… I don’t consider myself a story-writer as much as like my goal is to transmit a feeling. It’s impressive that you write stories because even my mind I feel doesn’t work chronologically like that in any way. It’s more so like, “I felt this one thing and how can I draw it out to kind of shine a light on that?” Does that make sense?
Yeah, that makes complete sense because I feel like that’s part of the struggle.
Oh my God! And it’s the worse I guess you’re getting what you need out of it though.
In respect to your song “Constant Crush,” let’s delve into your actual crushes. I feel like I’ve always been crush crazy like all my life so I want to know what some of yours are. There can be different types [of crushes] so we can start off with your childhood crush.
My childhood crush! Oh my goodness! I had a boyfriend in like middle school/high school that I was head-over-heels in love with and he was like… He had long curly hair, his name was Kyle, and he drove a Ford Explorer.
Who is your woman crush?
Ugh, fuck. Everyone. Right now, I just started watching The Girlfriend Experience. I think her name is Riley Keough.
I think I know who you’re talking about. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that show.
Yeah, she’s so good in it! And the show is just so compelling and dark and fucked up.
Who is your current crush?
Current crush? Everyone… [Laughs] I mean, right now practically my current crush is work, but I don’t know. Robert Downey Jr.? I feel like I give the weirdest celebrity crushes because when I tell people, they look at me weird. I’m just like, “He’s really hot!” I don’t get it; how does everyone not feel that way?
So to go with the theme, who has been your constant crush? Like, forever; it’s just undying.
I don’t know. Probably myself. Is that selfish?
I feel like I spend way more time by myself thinking about the shit I need to do and the shit I need to get done than anything else in a productive way, not in a horribly selfish way.
No, that’s a great way to think because you have to be selfish for certain things. This is your life and you weren’t born for other people, you know what I mean?
Alright, so you have several lyrics that reflect a genuine candidness. What keeps you so honest and do you feel like it’s a personal obligation or responsibility that you have to yourself? Or others?
It’s weird. I don’t necessarily view it as an obligation because there are some things that I write that I’m a little bit more detached to. I think for me, I just have a line. There’s a very clear line in the sand. Music that’s mine that I write and music that I write that doesn’t feel like mine. Once I cross the line in any way, I automatically ditch it; I feel nothing towards it. For me, it’s all about if I feel attached to it and if I feel a connection with it in any way. There’s different degrees of candidness within that, I think. And so, a song like “Living,” the last song on the EP, is the most candid I’ve been. It was just very literal and not hiding behind any metaphors. Like, just in case you guys thought I was singing about a boy, I’m not!
See, that’s the thing: I think you said earlier, you can take what you want from it or different people take different things. That kind of goes into my next question because it does seem like you’re talking about a guy.
Always! And I think it’s just a convenient metaphor. It’s a situation when you’re dealing with men/women. You know, like love and attraction. It’s such a universal feeling that everyone can relate to and it’s easy for me to kind of convey things in that way. It’s funny because “Constant Crush” has nothing to do with another human being; it all has to do with me and my mind. It literally means crush. Like, fucking horrible depression, you know what I mean? And all of the songs have dual meanings like that. I intentionally made them to be interpreted both ways.
I’m just listening to it and it’s just like you know like when you were saying on “Living,” one of the first lines is like– ugh what is it?! I completely just forgot, but basically it was talking about you didn’t feel like you were fit to live, like you didn’t know how. That’s what I got from it.
Oh yeah! Right, right.
It was just like a “Am I doing this right?” type of thing. For me, that just spoke volumes because you don’t really hear people speak so candidly and so openly and it’s just a song, something that people can just pick up.
Well honestly, that’s amazing to hear because that’s like why I do it. My goal is to just have anybody resonate with anything I write in any way. If people can leave feeling something, I don’t really care if you listen to “Constant Crush” and you’re just like, “Oh, this is just a sexy song” or whatever. People get what they want out of it, but it’s just like… I don’t connect with people very well, like in the normal world. I’m very rigid and in myself so this is like how I try.
That’s interesting because I kind of felt like that might be your situation. I was wondering, “Is she this way always? Is she always this candid or does she reserve it for the songs?”
Yeah, sometimes I’m inappropriately candid in real life, but most of the time, it’s not. You gotta be on a certain level. Like, my mom knows a lot.
So, we talked about the dual meanings and what not, but while you don’t seem like the lovey-dovey type in your songs, you seem like you still touch on love a good amount. Do you think it’s possible to not be into the traditional and generic ways of love, but still be romantic?
Yeah! I mean, I’m not horribly romantic, which I think is great for any of the boys in my life because I don’t need candles, I don’t need anything. I think for me, I would much prefer someone be sweet to me and make me tea at night. The simple romantic gestures that aren’t over-the-top and aren’t grand. I think that when you need the big romance and all that stuff you need a bigger show of something that should be there and kind of unspoken.
Yeah, it’s kind of funny because when I think of the generic ways of love, like day-to-day people and how they show it, it’s like writing a Facebook post and saying something very generic like one of those sappy memes or something and I’m just like, “Is this real?”
Yeah, we’re not going to advertise my affection for anybody on fucking Instagram, let’s just put it that way. Ever. [Laughs] Sorry, that sounds a bit harsh, but we’re on the same page.
I get what you mean. Okay, last question Others have described your music as electro-pop, but listening to your new EP, it sounds like you’ve taken from several genres. How would you personally describe your sound?
I want it to be just really dynamic pop. Dynamic, that’s it. I made an intentional decision to move away from traditional, electro, left-of-center, alternative pop just because the genre as a whole, is so over-saturated. I just want to do something that’s different.