Vérité, promoting her new EP “Living,” plays the Rickshaw Stop. (Courtesy Chad Kamenshine)

Vérité, promoting her new EP “Living,” plays the Rickshaw Stop. (Courtesy Chad Kamenshine)

Vérité strategically releasing one EP at a time

New Yorker Kelsey Byrne, an alt-pop musician who records and performs under the moniker Vérité, admits that there’s madness to her methods. Earlier this month, the staunchly indie artist released “Living,” the third in a series of EPs she recorded with producer-collaborator Elliot Jacobson (featuring her ninth single, the sinuous “Underdressed”). But she has no plans to sign with a major imprint, and no projected full-length recording. “Not releasing an album has been a very thought-out, strategic plan,” she says. “Because I’m an independent artist, EPs are really the smartest way for me, so when my album finally comes out, it will have much more impact. Or, that’s what I hope.”

You started out in your teens with an all-girl punk band that covered groups like The Donnas?

The Donnas! Oh, my God – so underappreciated! For me, back then it was just awesome to see any female musicians fronting bands and just being badass in that way. And we did all that in my parents’ basement, and my folks were always down with it.

Then you studied serious studio composition in college?

And I wasn’t a particularly good student. I got good grades, but I was working full time, so I wasn’t very present in the whole thing. So it was definitely an odd experience. I don’t regret it. But I definitely wouldn’t do it again.

And you were a waitress all the while in Times Square. Ever see any horrors like in the movie “Waiting,” where the chef chuckles that “A little floor spice makes everything nice”?

I definitely don’t f— with people’s food, but I’ve definitely seen some horrible things. When I was younger, one table made the waitress cry, yelling and cursing at her. They were very nasty people. So this other girl who was working there definitely spit in the food and mixed it in, and then dunked their ribs in the dishwater.

How did you handle problem customers?

I’m a phenomenal waitress — I know how to wait tables really well. But when the restaurant’s busy, people start taking it out on you. So I’m like, “Don’t curse at me, please.” And then you just stop interacting with them. Someone tells me to f— off? I’ll just stop going to their table.

You eventually worked a 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift at Applebee’s. How did you find time to write songs?

Well, I’ve definitely sketched out lyrics to a song on an Applebee’s piece of paper. But it sounds much harder than it actually was – there was no sense of struggle between writing and working for me. I’d just write in the pockets of time when I wasn’t working, and it was all very natural.

Where: Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. May 31
Tickets: $12 to $14
Contact: (415) 861-2011, www.ticketfly.com

Elliot JacobsonKelsey ByrneLivingPop MusicUnderdressedVérité

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