Kelsey Byrne’s Vérité brings a whole new kind of pop—a synth infused, electro-fueled sound that swings through Houston Monday after a pit stop in Austin for the first weekend of ACL.
If you know one Vérité track, it’s probably her cover of The 1975’s “Somebody Else” that caught the ears of millions on Spotify in 2016. Ever since, songs like “Bout You” or “When You’re Gone” have grabbed listeners with subtle gothic sounds and poetic pop confidence.
When Byrne kicked off her solo act in 2014, the name Vérité—literally, “truth”—stemmed more from necessity than affection. She needed a name, so she set herself a 5 p.m. deadline and chose the French moniker that afternoon. Thankfully, the name stuck.
Growing up in Orange County, New York, just a two-hour drive away from the creative hotbed of New York City, Byrne was surrounded by music. Following her father’s footsteps, Byrne picked up a guitar young and experimented until she decided it could be a career. “I mean growing up around music—it kind of led me in that direction,” she says. Byrne eventually attended SUNY Purchase for studio composition, but school wasn’t as useful as she hoped. “I was working the entire time I was in school,” she admits, “so I didn’t get as much out of it as if I had participated.”
After graduation, Byrne kept up her hard-working habits. She balanced working as a waitress at Times Square’s Applebee’s while also recording music on her own. Her early EPs, Echo and Sentiment, were entirely self-funded as Byrne was refining her talent. She still embraces the freedom of recording as an independent artist.
Vérité’s debut album, Somewhere in Between, dropped in June 2017. “I did all the writing,” she says, explaining that her lyrics stemmed from her personal life and general apathy at the time. “I was kind of going through the motions.”
The work on Somewhere in Between compared to her older EPs is sharper, tactful, and a little more dangerous, which is an intentional shift for the artist. “It’s always great when you look back and don’t really recognize that anymore, like those were completely different people,” she says—although heavy reverb remains a mainstay of any Vérité song.
Now she’s on a short tour, and life on the road can be rewarding—but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Byrne says she enjoys the pace but has to remember to practice self-care, above all else. “You have to keep moving on tour, and I like the structure of that,” she says. “As for the most challenging part, exercise—but you find time for it.”
Here’s hoping she gets in a workout before Monday’s show.