Oozing through moody aesthetics, bright synths, vulnerable confessions and a whole lot of heart, Vérité serves listeners a confidence on her sophomore record, New Skin, that took a little while for her to discover.
Her debut album Somewhere In Between was released in 2017 and heard her coming from a dark place of hurt and confusion. But where she’s at now is completely different and she wanted her new record to reflect that.
“The aesthetic for Somewhere In Between was definitely darker and I felt darker within it,” the artist explains to Music Feeds. “I felt more so that we were muscling through which isn’t a bad thing, but it felt like growing pains. But with this record, we’ve landed at a different vantage point, different colour and a different feel. I think that’s been really important to me as it feels lighter. It feels less dark, less heavy and feels ultimately better.”
Sometimes it’s hard to just exist within a heavy moment when your heart is feeling lost or confused. But it’s also one of the best times for the creative part of your mind to flow and that’s where the heart of New Skin stems from.
“It starts off new, exciting and a bit more innocent in the first three songs, and then with the transition of ‘Youth’ and ‘Body In My Bed’ it goes into this darker pocket of the more solemn and sad reality that sometimes exist. They then move into the angst and anger of that intensity before getting a bit sweet and less objectively intense at the end.”
But the New York singer-songwriter confesses that the structural and aesthetic concept came together later in the process even though it does feel very cohesive as a project.
“It wasn’t until I had eight or nine songs finalised and had post-it notes of the names on my wall that I was really able to put some meaning to it. I write and think later for the most part as it’s important to let the stories tell themselves instead of forcing things too much”.
One of the album’s strongest moments comes from the dark and moody ‘Body In My Bed’ which sits in the more solemn pocket of the record. The confessional track was written with Linnea Sodhal and Natali Noor while she was at an all-female songwriting camp in Stockholm.
After walking into the session with the phrase “your body in my bed” lingering on her mind, they gauged her thoughts and expanded on that dark direction. Reflecting on that session as an interesting challenge, she wanted to find the right balance between polished Swedish pop and her dark sensibility.
“Stereotypically, Swedes are quite polished and do pop perfectly, so I kept chopping off the ends of bars and making the phrases uneven,” she reflects.
But her biggest takeaway from that songwriting trip was how great it was to be in a situation where she could consistently work with women.
“Not because they don’t exist outside of those camps, because they do, but it’s much harder for females to get the same opportunities as men in the industry. So finding female collaborators to work with is a lot harder.”
“Statistically where Sweden is in terms of female equality is incredible. They even have female producers being nominated and winning awards at the Swedish Grammis, which is huge. They are really lightyears away from the rest of the world.”
“Somewhere In Between felt sterile in how it was produced. Everything was remote. Some of it was done out of necessity but some of it was out of my own discomfort and not wanting to be in the room with people. So with New Skin it was very much built from the ground up by being in the same room as people, and it was a lot more of a communal experience which you can hear in the soul of the record.”
Along with the structural experimentation, Vérité says she’s started to open up a lot about her mental health in a bid to be more transparent. Still, she realises that journey isn’t for everyone.
“Here the deal, I don’t think everyone has to be [open about their mental health]. I think it’s a very individual experience as talking about mental health is very easily misconstrued.”
“But I talk to my fans a lot and we have a clear understanding that there is a range of people that are struggling. So I think it was important for me to translate that. How I portray myself on social media is my better side and filtered self. But reality is creeping in and I’m wanting to become more transparent with people in that way. I feel like it’s important for me to be like that but I also respect people who don’t want to go there”.
Building her career from the ground up, Vérité remains an independent artist, which she cites as a rewarding but tough path. The biggest hurdle she’s had to face from staying independent is imposter syndrome.
“Sometimes when you are signed to a major label you are getting hyped from every corner. But because I’m not on that path, I’m not hyped. There’s no one but my mum and my boyfriend being like, ‘you’re great, you’re dope’,” she laughs, candidly.
“Everything is hyper-realistic. We are focused on realistic outlooks, realistic numbers, and realistic budgets. Sometimes you can look left and right at people and think that you don’t belong and that there’s no place for you, but it’s having that support system to pull in that belief”.
‘New Skin’ is out now.