While at Savannah Stopover, I had the unique pleasure of sitting down and speaking with pronoun. Pronoun is an artist from Brooklyn, New York and has a new EP out titled “There’s No Way around You” and is out on the road this month supporting the EP. Good show performances at Savannah Stopover and South by Southwest only fuels her ambition and love for music. Below she discusses music, her name and her thoughts on remixes.
What inspired the song “Run”?
That song I wrote, along with other stuff on the EP, is all from this break-up that happened two years ago now. It is funny because I had forgotten about it. I have so many half-finished songs and I forgot that song existed. Then in December – I have a day job, so I took a week off to try and finish my album – and that song came back up. I hadn’t finished the album at all, but I finished that song. I didn’t even know that I was going to put it on the album. The break-up was kind of like a realization when you realize they’re not going to come back. It was a weird break-up where it was last minute, and we were both in different places.
Do you ever think that maybe certain things happen at the wrong time of life and that it could always come back around?
I do, but I don’t think for this situation. It’s funny, but ten years ago I wanted to do what I’m doing right now, and kind of gave up on it – not gave up but worked so hard and threw in the towel. It’s like, ‘oh maybe you should do something else.’ I found other things that I loved doing. Then it kind of came back around to this, which is kind of like a destiny thing. I joke because I’m getting old, well not old but I’m turning 30. I’m driving eight hours a day and then sleeping in motels and all that stuff, and it’s like, ‘where were you ten years ago when I wanted to do all this when I was younger to handle this part?’ So, half the time, I’m like a 20-year-old in a parallel universe and like, ‘OMG you did it!’
Is there ever going to come a time when you stop doing your day job, or where you are in a position where you can do it as a side job?
Maybe, but I love my day job so much and it’s in music. I get to work with colleagues that I love and labels that I love, and I learn so much every day. So I don’t want to honestly. Eventually, I guess if I’m on tour for four months – if that were to happen – I guess, I don’t know. Take it as it comes.
What was your younger self like? Was there a certain type of music you listened to?
I listened to a ton of emo, Dashboard Confessional got me started in alternative. I heard them and was like ‘this is cool, I want to do something like this.’ Then I kind of went through this phase where I wanted to find different music and I would go on to Amazon and see the related artist and find them. Then I would download all the albums and see if I liked them or not. These were bands that no knew and that I was obsessed with and people would ask me how I found them. Bands like The Junior Varsity – very few people know of them and I was their #1 fan.
You have this wide range of instrument playing. What is your favorite instrument and how did you start out playing?
I started taking piano lessons when I was younger, and I picked up guitar for a little bit, but then I was like, ‘I don’t know if I like this.’ Then I did drums for a little bit. This was all pre-high school and then I stopped that. I came back to guitar when I got into Dashboard Confessional and I really wanted to learn more. I still play guitar and bass, basically, I’m not very good at any of them. Enough that I can get by on them. I focus on the simplest parts and play them over and over again and finding the one I do correctly. Any other guitarist would be like, ‘oh, yeah, it’s this.’ It just takes a lot of time. So, I do a lot of that. I think my favorite instrument is making the whole song, I guess. I don’t feel comfortable playing anything, but if you want to make a song you have to play stuff.
How do you feel about some EDM artist taking your song and remixing it?
I had them do that! It’s great and so cool that other people reinvent something. It is actually how I met Charles Fauna on the label I like. I listen to their Spotify list and I asked him to remix one of my songs. He happened to live in Brooklyn and so now he is like my best friend. It’s so cool to hear someone reimagine the song.
Where did the name pronoun come from?
I am so bad at grammar. I think – well, I was going to make a more interesting reason, but at this point, I’m just going to be honest. Way before I had even written two songs, I was going to name myself Monocoxis – yeah, the subtle but constant feeling of being on stage – I had found that on a blog one day. I thought it was beautiful and that is how I feel. So, my now label but then friend, rhyme and reason, Annie Blast, was like, ‘what are you doing?’ She was like, ‘how do you even spell that?’ and I was like, ‘ummm.’ She told me it wasn’t a good idea and that I didn’t even know how to spell it. I was already making music, setting up Facebook and Instagram pages and needed a name and told her, ‘call me back in 30 minutes with a better name.’ What makes it an even better story is she called me back and said her husband came up with the name pronoun. I sort of liked it, so I said OK. Now they’re divorced and he lives with me. Yeah, I love it now and I’m glad he suggested it.
You performed at South by Southwest this year; have you been there as a performing artist before?
Yes, I went two years ago with my day job and then last year I went as pronoun. I did it again this year. I kind of work while I’m there, but I also did a bunch of shows which is always cool and fun.
Have you always been emotional in your music?
I guess so. Well, it’s not like that in my everyday life. I think it is where I let it out really. The first EP it just where it all came out, too. I mean it helped me. I never really thought of it as helping other people. Sometimes I wasn’t even thinking of putting it out, but I want people to hear, so I did. It helped me through hard times, so it’s really cool that it helps others. That’s very awesome.
Do you find it weird that people come up to you on the street and say ‘thank you, your song really helped me?’
It doesn’t really happen that often, but it has happened here. What I love about Savannah Stopover is there are a bunch of artists, but not too many, and I like that it gives you the time to listen to each one and hang out. It’s great, but you can’t always do that. I don’t find it weird at all.
Is there a band here that you haven’t seen before that you have been wanting to see?
The Plastic Picnic is playing.
Thank you so much to pronoun for taking time to talk with me. If you are looking for great music, then take a listen to pronoun. @musicpronoun