Breakups, bedroom pop, and emo rock: pronoun is coming to the District

Published October 31, 2018

Photo: Flickr

Singer-songwriter Alyse Vellturo, also known by her stage name, pronoun, doesn’t know what “indie-guitar-bedroom-pop” means, even though she coined the term to describe the style of her 2016 EP, There’s no one new around you.

And whatever “indie-guitar-bedroom-pop” is, it has led to success: in the three years since her release, Vellturo has performed SXSW, started her own record label, and signed on to a concert tour opening for Motion City Soundtrack star Justin Courtney Pierre, which will include a D.C. stop on Nov. 9 at U St. Music Hall.

But before Vellturo wrote the whispery, dreamy pop songs on her EP, she had no plans for a performance career, and didn’t see herself as a talented musician. She hadn’t written her own music since high school, a nearly ten-year gap.

It was a heart-wrenching breakup that inspired her creative outlet.

After high school, Vellturo studied at Berklee College of Music, where she felt that her musical talent did not measure up to that of her peers—driving her decision to study music production and business. She entered a career in music distribution.

“[I] wasn’t really making my own music at all anymore, I was helping other people with their music, and it wasn’t until about three years ago that I went through a bad breakup and the only thing that made me feel better was creating music again,” Vellturo said.

But it wasn’t an easy transition: much of her debut style came from a lack of recent experience in creating music. Dissatisfied with her singing voice, Vellturo would sing the same verse at different octaves and layer the recordings until she was satisfied with the sound. Her instrumentals are looped recordings of a drum machine and just a few guitar chords.

There’s no one new around you. comprises only a few of the songs that Vellturo wrote after her breakup. The rest will appear on her upcoming LP, which she expects to release in March, alongside some more recent compositions. On these newer tracks, Vellturo says that she is challenging herself both vocally and instrumentally, and abandoning the layering that cushioned her confidence in the beginning. The term “indie-guitar-bedroom-pop” isn’t as fitting for these newer, “rockier” tracks, for which she has coined the term “salty-emo-pop.”

In anticipation, Vellturo has released a few songs (of her older style) off the album, including “run,” “wrong,” and most recently, “you didn’t even make the bed,” which reflects the moment when the emotion of her breakup transformed from sadness to anger.

“I was living with my girlfriend at the time, and we broke up when I was home for Christmas. She had gotten into the apartment, obviously, and moved all of her stuff out and didn’t make the bed, and it was kind of like the final straw, like, are you kidding me? You left all your dirty clothes here, and you didn’t make a bed, and I just feel defeated,” Vellturo said. “It’s kind of that moment where a rage starts to build up, and you’re not sad anymore because you’re just starting to get angry.”

But Vellturo hasn’t abandoned her production career: she founded her own record label, called Sleep Well, about two years ago to help a friend. Vellturo had found the artist Chris Fauna on Spotify, and reached out in hopes of working on a collaborative remix. The two grew close over the course of their collaboration, so when Vellturo heard that he had hired a publicist, she was determined to use her abilities to help advance his career. Sleep Well became Vellturo’s way to help younger artists “make their releases as productive as possible.”

“And it ended up going really well,” Vellturo said.

Vellturo begins her tour opening for Justin Courtney Pierre on Nov. 1 in Chicago. Her stop in D.C., the seventh show of the tour, carries a personal significance. Vellturo’s first concert outside of New York was at Songbyrd Music Cafe in Adams Morgan.

And on top of everything, Vellturo is preparing to open for Mayday Parade and The Wonder Years for a February tour through the United Kingdom.

But in the meantime, she’s still working on her personal creative deadlines.

“Trying to finish up this album, I think it’s almost done,” she said. “I’m about to cut myself off, like well, it’s not perfect, but—too bad!”

More information on her concert can be found here

Emily Jaster
Emily Jaster is the former features editor and former Halftime Leisure editor for The Georgetown Voice. When she's not writing for the Voice, you can usually find her writing poetry or wandering around art galleries and concert halls.

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