On her full-length debut Somewhere in Between, VÉRITÉ shows a self-possessed intensity shaped by years of working as a decidedly independent artist. In creating the album, Byrne collaborated with producers in New York and London and L.A. and immersed herself in a more experimental process than she'd ever attempted before. "I threw myself into all these different and uncomfortable situations with people I'd never worked with, and said yes to new sounds and collaborations without worrying about how it would all come together," she says. As executive producer of the album, VÉRITÉ blended organic and electronic elements into a rhythm-driven sound that's ornately arranged but charged with raw feeling.
At the heart of Somewhere in Between is a selection of songs that "dissect fragments of my experience as a human and twist them in unusual ways," according to Byrne. "I like playing with the sentiment of human relationships" she adds, "but the lyrics are more about my relationship with the world, and dealing with things like apathy and boredom." On lead single "Phase Me Out," she delivers a beautifully moody slow-burner that shows the full force of her delivery, her vocals gracefully shifting from delicate to devastating. Embodying the beat-heavy dynamic of Somewhere in Between, "When You're Gone" builds a powerful backdrop for her piercing lyrics ("I don't mind you leaving when the damage is done/I don't mind how I feel the same when you're gone"). And on "Saint," VÉRITÉ offsets her brutal self-awareness ("Maybe you're too innocent/And I'm a crack in your glass") with a growling bassline and hugely anthemic chorus.
Byrne starting singing at age 8 and soon took up piano. At 13 she joined an all-girl punk band that covered the Breeders, and -- several years later -- co-founded a seven-piece alt-rock act complete with a full horn section. Soon after moving to New York City at age 20, she began creating as VÉRITÉ and balanced her musical pursuits with working up to 70 hours a week at Applebee's in Times Square, sometimes starting her shift at 6 a.m. and then heading straight from work to sound check.
Her debut as VÉRITÉ, the independently released and entirely self-promoted 2014 single "Heartbeat" quickly drew major buzz online. Though record labels were soon courting VÉRITÉ, she chose to continue waitressing and fund the release of her debut EP Echo with her Applebee's tips. "I decided that I didn't want to answer to anybody or change anything to appease someone else," says Byrne. In 2015, the same year she released her sophomore EP Sentiment, Byrne quit her waitressing job to pursue music full-time just before heading out on her first-ever tour. Since then she has completed two North American headline tours and released her highly acclaimed third EP, 2016's Living. She's also opened for such artists as Tove Lo and BØRNS and appeared at major festivals like Lollapalooza and Firefly, plus made her television debut on the TODAY Show. To date, her total streams on Spotify alone have reached over 100 million.
Now gearing up for a spring tour, Byrne brings a certain questioning spirit to the making of Somewhere in Between, whose title is taken from the album's most ballad-like moment. "The first lyric is 'Somewhere in between living and dying,' which is a perfect summary of where I was at during the making of the album," says Byrne. "It was really born from this place of asking myself, 'What the fuck are we doing here?,' and facing all the ups and downs that come with that." In that questioning, Byrne discovered a greater sense of purpose for VÉRITÉ. "I don't necessarily care how people interpret what I write -- the most important thing is that the songs make them feel something," she says. "Especially at this moment in time when there's so many distractions and it's so easy to get hyper-focused on what's happening in your own head, sharing music with people feels more important than ever."