We take to Brooklyn with seamless alt-pop act Vérité, who take us on a tour of infamous Williamsburg strip, Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn is fast becoming the most popular boy’s name in America and for a very good reason. We can’t get enough of this place. In the first of our Brooklyn Tour series, seamless alt-pop act Vérité gives Wonderland a tour of infamous Williamsburg strip Bedford Avenue.
Vérité, the French meaning Truth, has sprung onto the scene with her sultry and indeed honest ‘Strange Enough’. Her deeply anticipated single is about to blow us away and emerge onto the mainstream market. Being the most blogged and tweeted about artist in over a week doesn’t come lightly: this is one to watch. Backed by drummer extraordinaire Elliot Jacobson, this chick has captivated us with her potent melody and we can’t resist. We check out Vérité’s top hangouts before we learn a little more about her…
Blue Bottle Coffee Company
Admittedly a coffee fiend, Vérité frequents this local hero- “Go for the New Orleans Iced.”
Far be it from your average street art, guerilla wall illustrations are a common theme in Brooklyn.
Bakeri is the epitome of breakfast cool. From SkolebrØd to Tartines, the café is brimming with morning fare most will find hard to resist.
This Williamsburg hangout has a long list of die-hard fans. A tropical conservatory provides the perfect backdrop for a Middle Eastern mélange.
Indeed, Rough Trade is now in the US and dare we say bigger and better than the one you’ll find down Brick Lane. Vérité loves nothing better than to forage for old favourites at the music mega store.
If you want to see the stars of today and tomorrow with a pint of Brooklyn Lager (and with enough space to flail your arms around) then this is your jam. Located opposite The Wythe Hotel, the original Brooklyn Bowl is the ultimate go-to music venue.
Outdoor cinema screenings, concerts, yoga at dusk: McCarran Park is where Brooklynites flock to after a hard day’s work in the creative industries.
Strawser & Smith
If you don’t want to spend big bucks then don’t end up at Strawser & Smith. This Aladdin’s cave of retro furniture finds stocks everything from apothecary drawers to magnifying glasses (something we had to drag Vérité away from)
Trying to steer clear of fast fashion is one of Vérité’s favourite past-times. Buffalo Exchange is Williamsburg’s answer to second-hand heaven.
The Shanti Shack
With a juice bar on every corner, it’s not difficult to get your vit-fix on a daily basis. Vérité opts for a beetroot blend every time.
So why ‘Vérité’?
I was going to call it Cinema Vérité which is a documentary style that represents candid reality but ‘Vérité’: I feel like it’s to the point. That’s how I try to write and how I want to be represented.
So talk about your openness…
I feel like especially putting this project together I made it a conscious decision to be really honest and open and myself. I almost wish that I could have a veiled persona. That to me is what is really attractive about a lot of artists that I see. Everything is really put together and streamlined and cohesive but I realized I’m not capable of it.
The French word Vérité means truth. Do you think truth is something the pop industry is lacking?
I think everything has a purpose so when I look at artists like Lana Del Rey: I won’t say it’s contrived or not contrived but there’s definitely a persona there and I feel it serves a purpose for people to be able to escape into that world. It’s fun to look at Lana Del Rey: she’s so cool and so aloof and distant. I also see a lot of artists that are embracing honesty. I don’t think it’s lacking.
What was it like growing up in Orange County, New York?
My first job was at an apple orchard and I lived right next to a camel farm for a while. I came from a really supportive artistic community and so lots of musicians, lots of artists. I started playing shows when I was eight: there were venues up there that catered towards that. Growing up there was really beautiful.
Do you have a favorite music venue in the city?
I like being able to see acts where you can have this really big sound in a really intimate venue and The Living Room was that for me. Also the Beacon Theatre: I saw Andrew Bird there which was not the most life changing but I think it’s the most inspiring gig. The quality of the music is so put together.
What’s been you’re most life changing gig?
I think the concert that changed a lot for me was when I was 16 and it was Central Park Summer Stage where I saw Beirut play. I think that’s around the time that I started writing a lot. Their instrumentation! It was like a full horn section, a full string section and it opened my mind to possibilities. I added a three-piece horn section to my band.
So you’re very hands on in the studio?
With this project I was really hands on with the writing. But Elliott Jacobson and I grow everything separately. We started writing because he sent me a Twitter message, we had met years before. We definitely put a lot of trust in one another and our process works oddly enough.
Renowned for providing beats to both Regina Spektor and The Vamps’ tracks, what’s it been like working with Elliot Jacobson?
I feel like he’s one of my biggest advocates for this music. We know what hills to die on and what hills not to die on.
How does it feel to have received such online media attention? I can imagine you weren’t expecting it so early on…
I think I went into it with really low expectations and was just extremely happy to get music out. It makes me want to release more and connect with people on that level.
Do you like that platform of online?
It’s how people connect now so to disregard it is silly and I think my goal is having the broadest reach with this music and having it get to as many people as possible, to hear and experience. To disregard that is to disregard a big chunk of the world.
You have a distinctive ethereal look. How have you developed your style?
Not that I’m against clothes. It’s probably economical. I couldn’t spend 100 dollars on a new jacket. If I can thrift it, I will get it. I have a constant fear of being too dressed up. I used to buy everything in huge quantities. I used to spend 200 dollars in H&M but now it’s being selective and finding things that fit really well.
It has been frequently commented upon how your lyrics are those of someone beyond your years. What life experiences have lead to you being able to write in this way
It’s funny because everyone talks about “Strange Enough” being a break-up song. I wrote the song when I was in a relationship so everything ended up being subconsciously written which I think is fascinating so I tend to write lyrics last. If you need it to be a break-up song for you then be my guest. For me it’s exploring whether I’m capable of loving someone.
You’ve spoken about romanticizing fleeting moments in a relationship. Which moments have stuck out for you with someone?
I think for me and it’s not even circumstantial, it’s more feeling based, it’s these moments of feeling more, like I should be happy and I should be in love and I probably could be if I tried. It’s actually perfectly fine to be unsure. Sometimes I feel as though I’m going to be single forever.
You’ve been compared to Jessie J and Lady Gaga. Who are your musical influences?
Death Cab for Cutie. I’ve been revisiting some of their albums recently. I think the great albums are the ones that came at the right time like Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago, St. Vincent Strange Mercy was on repeat for a really long time and I think she’s just a fucking genius. James Blake. The National. For me: truth, things that can really bring you back somewhere. I love Alt J: Breezeblocks was!!
You work at a Manhattan restaurant. What have been your strangest experiences there?
Oh God! Everything! I feel like there are a lot of “starving artists”. I’m a workaholic artist. It’s a means to an end. I’ve been waiting tables for 10 years. I’ve done everything, everything you can think of. I’ve fallen downstairs, I’ve spilt drinks on guests, I’ve dropped things through the spiral staircase. I’ve sung, I’ve danced, It’s whatever will keep you sane in the moment. It’s so anonymous. I can say one thing: music aside I’m a fucking great waitress!
VÉRITÉ’S next single is “Weekend” is released on 26th August.
Words: Elinor Sigman