“It’s a heartbroken girl in her apartment in Brooklyn,” Alyse Vellturo, aka pronoun, says of her Rhyme & Reason debut There’s no one new around you. Recorded in solitude in a cramped corner of the artist’s bedroom, the four-song EP is both personally charged and sonically inventive, matching richly layered guitar textures and insistent lo-fi beats with vivid, uncompromisingly personal lyrics.
“It was literally just me in the corner with my little computer, recording guitar through a tiny practice amp through the headphone jack,” she explains. “Every night after work I’d go home, buy a six pack, and sit at my computer with my electric guitar. Once I felt the song had its bones I would go have a cigarette in my backyard, write a verse, go in and record the verse, go out for another cigarette, write a second verse, etc. All the verses are written in about three minutes.”
The Boston native and self-confessed emo kid began playing guitar and recording her own compositions in her early teens. While studying at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music, she gained technical experience producing and engineering friends’ recording projects and turning her attention towards the business side of the music industry. In 2012, she moved to Brooklyn to take a music-biz job, putting her own creative efforts on temporary hold. Eventually, she felt the urge to write and record music again, and her renewed creative spark gained additional momentum in December 2015, when a three-year relationship abruptly ended.
“I started to write songs and record again, but I didn’t have much to write about,” she recalls. “Then we broke up, and it all came pouring out. The tracks on this EP are all from that period. The whole thing was done in three or four weeks, every night after work. It was an instinctive process, and it kind of grew on its own.”
Vellturo adopted the performing pseudonym of pronoun, in acknowledgement of her status as a one-person band. “I want to keep it that way, at least for now,” she says. “This music is so personal to me, and it’s kind of hard to do that with other people. I have done some gigs with a drummer, a bass player and a guitarist, and I have a vocal pedal that does harmonies with me, so it kind of sounds like the record.
“pronoun is almost like another persona, someone that says and words things in a way I never would,” Vellturo concludes. “I don’t usually express my emotions outwardly. Sometimes a song will come together in a few hours in my apartment, and I’ll wake up the next morning and listen to it and think ‘How did I write that?,’ because I wasn’t aware that I was thinking that. So pronoun is something that I’d like to keep exploring for awhile.”