ACL 2018: Vérité shares her story

Vérité's music has been deeply influenced by her roots near Brooklyn, N.Y. Taylor Wolf | Social Media Editor

AUSTIN | Growing up a short drive north from Brooklyn, N.Y. Kelsey Regina Byrne had no idea she would eventually be a musical artist performing at Austin City Limits Music Festival with the stage name Vérité. Four EPs later, Vérité’s career is only growing.

With a guitar-playing father, Vérité said she is able to see how her roots continue to influence her music to this day.

“It’s funny because I played right before The Breeders, and I am obsessed with The Breeders and I have been for forever,” Vérité said. “I like The Cranberries. I like The Donnas from back in the day. I was a child of alternative radio. So I like all of the singles of ‘90s alt-rock.”

Her father played in a rock band, which gave her the opportunity to work on her own music and to perform at a young age. As a teenager and into her 20s, Vérité worked several day jobs and eventually started investing her own money into her career, which she considers the beginning of her career.

“When I started investing my own money into it,” Vérité said. “It was at that point. You know I had always been trying to be a musician, but that was the moment of, like, there’s no going back.”

Vérité will be performing again next weekend at Austin City Limits Music Festival weekend two. Taylor Wolf | Social Media Editor

Only four years into her career, Vérité says the transition from her day jobs to becoming a full-time musician wasn’t easy.

“It’s funny I still feel like I am still at an early part of my career in a way, but I self-funded everything and I was still working day jobs and it was just a balancing act of sorts,” Vérité said. “Now, I have more time to focus on the things that I want to focus on which is like creating music and the live show.”

Success eventually struck when her single “Strange Enough” reached No. 1 on Hype Beast, a pop-culture blog — an event she says was unprecedented.

“It was just exciting,” Vérité said. “It was exciting to track it and watch the growth. It’s funny looking back at that time because you get so desensitized to numbers. I remember tracking it up to 10,000 streams and getting so excited.”

Dedicating herself fully to her music career, Vérité had to face difficult questions about the type of artist she wanted to be and the sort of messages she wanted to send to her listeners.

“I didn’t have a message,” Vérité said. “I was still trying to figure myself out and pushing forward the best way I knew how. I just tried to be as transparent as possible during that process.”

Eventually, she discovered some of those answers through the writing of her EP “Living.”

“The album just very much told the story of where I was at in my life at the point where I was writing it,” Vérité said.

Her image and goals as an artist have found a niche that many critiques and listeners struggle to nail down. Some have called her music alternative-pop, while others have called it indie. She has a different description and calls her music “driving dynamic pop.”

“I feel like I have Phantogram and Lorde with a little Lykke Li and a little Florence,” Vérité said. “I try to sit in that world.”

As someone who worked hard to achieve her goals as a musician, Vérité offered some advice to aspiring student musicians.

“Don’t wait for someone to do it for you,” Vérité said. “Do it yourself. I’m still independent, so I have definitely taken that very much to heart. You don’t have to wait for money or a team to start building things on your own.”

Vérité will be performing again next weekend at Austin City Limits Music Festival weekend two.