7 Questions with Alyse Vellturo, aka Pronoun
A second title for the Alyse Vellturo’s (aka "pronoun") 2016 EP There's no one new around you might be "a heartbroken girl in her shitty apartment in Brooklyn." Although she'd been working on her own music for roughly 15 years, it wasn't until then that she felt she had something to be truly proud of.
The album’s first single, "a million other things," made it on Spotify's “New Music Friday” playlist in November 2016, earning it nearly a half a million streams. This was unexpected, as pronoun had really only been using "a million other things" to set the table for the next—and most potentially commercial—single, “just cuz you can't.”
Written over the course of a single month, the EP resulted from the pain of a romantic breakup and is intensely personal, particularly lyrics like Remember the night / Even though we were sad / That we cried so hard that we started to laugh.
Vellturo sat down with Rawckus to discuss having nothing to lose, ditching capitalization, and dancing around by drunk in the bedroom.
Rawckus: You’ve said that you were having trouble figuring out how to go "up" from the unexpected success of "a million other things." Have you had any luck figuring that out yet?
Alyse Vellturo: Nope, but the whole EP came from me feeling like I have nothing to lose, so I’m just gonna roll with that for the time being.
You seem to disdain capitalization. Any particular reason you prefer the lower case? Do you intend to make that a career-long trademark?
AV: Having everything in lowercase feels awkward, and I like to think that fits my persona the best.
You've said that you aren't too fond of allowing feedback from others to interrupt or influence your songwriting. Does that individualism come from a conscious artistic philosophy, or is it more of a matter of your general personality?
AV: I think just in all the outside projects I have worked on/with, I have been super anal, overanalyzing every note, every hook, every strategy. When I made the four tracks, they just felt right and I believed in them all 110 percent.
But again, I think it came out of the feeling of having nothing to lose. No one was sitting waiting for my debut EP to come out; no one even knew who I was. At this point, in my opinion, you’re extremely lucky if anyone knows who you are. If it fails, I will be the only one who knows. If it succeeds, I get to connect and reach a bunch of people I never would have dreamed.
Ben Hobbs recently remixed "til your legs give up." How did your work with Hobbs come about, and what was the experience like for you?
AV: My coworker out in the UK actually manages Ben Hobbs, so he connected the two of us because he thought it would be a good fit!
All the songs on There's no one new around you have stories drawn directly from your personal life. How about "it's the way"?
AV: “it’s the way” totally does. I like to let the song speak for itself for the most part, but when writing it, I had my friends of different races/ethnicities and my sisters in mind.
Sticking with "it's the way," was there any particular reason you opted to record that one live?
AV: I wanted it to be more collaborative. I heard the production in my head as something very huge and busy, and somewhat improvised. I just really felt it would come across the best if it had an organic build, which is really hard to do in my bedroom.
Do you prefer writing or performing more than the other?
AV: Does dancing around by myself drunk in my bedroom count as performing? If so, performing. If not, I guess writing. Recording is just hit or miss for me. Some nights I am like "yep this is it," and others I kinda just sit there and beat myself up.