Taken aback by the success of her debut single, pronoun (real name Alyse Vellturo) talks us through each track of her upcoming EP, there's no one new around you, premiering at The Line of Best Fit.
The EP as a whole walks through all the different emotions I experienced while [a breakup] was happening. I wrote it over the course of a month – mid-December to mid-January. The whole thing is so personal, and I think that shows. I’m really happy that I got a team behind me that believes in it and loves it for what it is.
I thought “just cuz you can’t” and “a million other things” were the singles. “just cuz you can’t” was the most commercial, so I wanted to release that second. I wanted it to be the main track. I had no prior history of press, or anything. Before we put out “just cuz you can’t” I wanted to at least have some coverage on something else, so I put “a million other things” out first. It went way better than I thought it was going to go – it got on [Spotify’s] New Music Fridays! Everything I thought we were going to do with “just cuz you can’t” happened with “a million other things”! I don’t really know how to go up from here – I didn’t really have a plan for that happening!
The first song is “a million other things”, which is the first song I put out. It’s the most hopeful song on the record. It was the second song I wrote - the first was “just cuz you can’t”. I was going through what seemed to be a breakup; I’d gone out to see my then-girlfriend for our three-year anniversary. She was in LA for work. It started as this romantic getaway, and ended as “maybe we’re about to take a break?” She was there for another two weeks, so we were just not talking, and going to talk when she got back.
I didn’t really know what was going to happen, and I didn’t know what I wanted either at that point. The easiest thing to do was just to write about it. I had really been writing full songs at all, in a very long time.
I wrote this song about what I wanted to say if we were talking – “there’s a million other things we can do, is there a way we can work it out? I want to be there for you if you want me to be there for you.” It ends with “you gotta come home,” because she was about to come back, but we ended up breaking up, thus there is this entire EP!
I wanted [“a million other things”] to be the first track because it made sense with telling a story. In the old-school way, you want to grab people’s attention with the first listen.
[“til your legs give up”] is kind of putting a white flag up. It’s kind of like standing there, letting someone beat you up, and you’re like, “do what you need to do.” You’re just emotionless at that point. It’s not as common to have someone just sacrificing, and saying “what ever feelings you’re feeling, feel them, and you can take it out on me.”
The verses are the same in [this] one. I’d always planned on making a second verse. I’ll listen to [the demo] a lot when I’m on the Subway. Some songs come out in one night, and the entire song is done – this one I had bounced to my phone and was listening to it on the way to work, trying to figure out where I’d go with it. I just got so used to it with the verses being the same, and I was like, “don’t fix something that’s not broken!” Early on in the process [people] were like, “It’s the same verse twice” and I was like “eh, I don’t really care!”
I never really thought that I would be able to collaborate, and I hope that I will be some time in the future, but for me [songwriting] is such a personal process, doing it all in my bedroom by myself and not having anyone say, “this should go here, maybe this should go here.” If suggestions make sense, then I’ll take them into consideration, but sometimes I so strongly believe in a song how it is, and there’s a little thing in the back of [my] head that’s like, “no! Keep it!”
“just cuz you can’t” was the first full song I wrote for the EP. It came very quickly, and that was something very new to me. I had literally just gotten home from the trip, and I made “just cus you can’t”. I was like, “wait, I like this! I can’t believe I just made this!” I had never made anything that quickly, and that I loved that much.
It’s about the confusion and frustration of being on a break, and being like, “maybe this person doesn’t want to be with me.” At the end it’s like, “maybe I can’t do anything about that.” I’m not the type of person [who] has to go fight for it. At the end of the day, if you don’t want to be with me, it’s not going to work. Even if [she] did choose to be with me, I don’t even know if I’d want to be with [her] right now after all of this.
It’s a lot of back and forth. The verses are very hopeful. It was a therapeutic process! The entire song is just me running around in circles – it’s all the stages of grief in one song!
“just cuz you can’t” is fuelled by frustration and anger, but in the end, still love.
I wrote “snowed in” during a blizzard in New York City. Work got cancelled – literally no-one could get out! It was one of the last ones I wrote off this EP, and I didn’t really know where to go with it. It fades out into “there’s no-one new around you”, which is the title of the EP.
One night, I was super drunk and got home from the bars, and I was on Tinder. I was swiping and I ran out of people, and it just said “there’s no one new around you”. I looked at it, and out of context it perfectly describes what I think [my ex’s] situation is like now. It’s super sad, but also very funny.
I decided the name of the EP before I even wrote the rest of “snowed in”. I didn’t know how to fit it in, and then one night I faded “snowed in” into “there’s no one new around you”. They’re not long enough to be separate songs on their own.
It was a really epic way for me to end the EP. I didn’t have any questions that it would be the last song.