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Berklee grad pronoun’s path: a breakup, then a breakthrough

Breakups are never pleasant. They leave unanswered questions, bring up difficult emotions, and make life temporarily miserable. But on the bright side, they can be an excellent source of artistic inspiration. Such was the case for pronoun (real name: Alyse Vellturo), a Concord native and Berklee grad who found herself making songs in the bedroom of her tiny Brooklyn apartment to process an unexpected heartbreak. The music that came out of those sessions turned into the 29-year-old’s debut EP “There’s no one new around you,” which has since propelled her to a deal with a label, a summer tour, and a spot in the Billboard Hot 100 Festival. We caught up with pronoun over the phone before she performs at Great Scott on Monday.

Q. What was your time at Berklee like?


A. It was amazing. It’s such a different place, I never imagined anything like it before I went. It’s just so many creative people and such a good community. You had production engineering people, songwriting majors, kids in the business program, everyone was just so unique and creative.

Q. Your latest EP really felt like your springboard to greater audiences. Were you expecting that when you were putting it together?

A. There were just so many different phases to it. When I was writing it, I was really just writing it. I didn’t know if I would even put it out, because at that point it was just something I was doing for myself. I can be a very self-destructive person if I don’t keep myself in check, so when I was going through that really hard part of my life, making music gave me purpose to keep moving on. Then I started sharing it with people, which eventually got me signed with Rhyme & Reason Records. It was surreal having it explode like that so quickly. Especially coming from a music business background [at Berklee], I know that there’s so much good music out there and it’s easy to get lost in the mix. I made it to help me, so when other people started saying it helped them too, that’s when I really felt like, “Whoa.”


Q. So the EP was basically your way of working through the breakup?

A. Definitely. It was a bunch of things that I wanted to say to them, but when you’re going through a breakup, you can’t really talk to that person anymore. You’re angry and you’re hurt and you’re depressed. It was kind of like writing an e-mail and then never sending it.

Q. Do you think recording and producing solely in your bedroom contributed to the mood of the music at all?

A. I think so. When I first started making it, I thought it sounded bedroomy, and that’s what I wanted it to be — sad bedroom pop. I would try out different drum parts, try to make it more interesting, more commercial, but at the end of the day I was like, I don’t care about anything else, I like the way it is. I don’t think I could have done that without working in my bedroom. It’s a very personal experience.

Q. Now that you’re past the breakup, where do you draw inspiration from?

A. I wrote so much right after that EP, so there’s still a lot of music I have that draws from that breakup, although at this point that’s getting a little old [laughs]. Now, a lot of the stuff I’m writing is more me reflecting on myself and what I might not like about myself. It’s talking myself through my own insecurities.


Q. You’re going to perform at the Billboard Hot 100 Festival, which has some massive names lined up. Is that going to be the peak for you so far, in terms of recognition?

A. Well, Andrew McMahon added me to his [Spotify] playlist, so I don’t know if it can beat that. One day I logged in and I saw that he had added me to his playlist, and I was just losing it. Like, I have evidence that this person not only heard my music but enjoyed it, too. But the Billboard Hot 100 Fest is going to be awesome, and I know a lot of other local bands that are performing there. Pretty much everyone on the Emerging Acts stage is someone who I’ve heard and really liked.

Q. Is anything about your performance at Great Scott going to be different, given your roots here?

A. The funny thing is, a lot of my friends who I met here moved to New York. But a lot of my high school friends are still in Boston, and they’ve never seen me perform, so that will be cool. My whole family will be there, too. I don’t know what to expect. I know it’s gonna be nerve-racking, but I’m excited.



At Great Scott, Allston, June 26, at 9 p.m. Tickets $10-$12, www.axs.com

Interview was edited and condensed. Alex Frandsen can be reached at alexander.frandsen@globe.com.