I hear…an unfair comparison…
Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O'Connell, best known as Billie Eilish, turned 20 last month. She’s one of those rare talent-meets-hype artists who cracked the music charts as a teenager and has been exploring different looks and styles since, particularly with some stunning videos.
Veronica Fedri, who performs as Veronica Everheart, also just turned 20. She has a long way to go, but her versatility, seeming ease and talent make her the potential Billie Eilish of HARK Valley.
It should be noted Veronica Everheart (photo above courtesy @_benthrasher) sounds nothing like Billie Eilish, that occasionally over-the-top emotional diva.
By contrast, Everheart is cool and edgy. Maybe I’m still stuck in that era, but to me, she sounds like a solid Seattle band, circa 1995.
Her YouTube channel has a terrific, very-grungy live video of her song “New Year's Eve, 1965,” recorded in July at the Rebel Lounge.
She has only recorded a handful of songs, but they are generally terrific, with gritty guitars, riveting vocals and evocative, occasionally whimsical lyrics.
The Veronica Everheart Facebook page shows she has an eye for dramatic, Eilish-ish visuals, like this:
As the New Year approached, HARK Valley asked Fedri how her 2021 was.
“It was pretty good,” she said “I had a lot of changes. Recently started going to school in New Jersey so I’m back and forth.”
While in the short term Arizona audiences will see less of Veronica Everheart live, in the long run, she’ll be more polished and wise, as she is studying music at William Patterson University.
Then again, she has pretty much been studying what it takes to be a performer for most of her life.
Born and raised in Scottsdale, she started playing guitar at 6, then went to high school at the Metropolitan Art Institute: “That’s how I got involved in the Phoenix scene.” Her photography teacher was Stephanie Carrico, the woman behind the Trunk Space, an all-ages little venue downtown that nurtures young talent.
Then 15 years old, Fedri made her debut as Veronica Everheart at the Trunk Space in August of 2017.
Even then, she felt comfortable on stage, having studied at the Scottsdale Music Academy. “I started learning stage presence through that, so I was pretty well adjusted to performing by the time I did the Veronica Everheart thing."
She met musicians who would form her backing band at—where else?—the Trunk Space.
When I told her she sounded like a Nineties Seattle band, Fedri gave a modest laugh. Not necessarily what she was going for, but close enough:
“My favorite band of all time is the Strokes, so kind of that garage rock. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and I really like Karen O.”
Funny, considering Fedri wasn’t even born when those bands started rocking.
“My parents listened to all kinds of classic rock; when I was really little I thought Joan Jett was the coolest person on Earth,” she said, with a chuckle.
“Nowadays, I’m more into alternative rock or indie rock and electronic music. Angel Olsen, Stereolab, LCD Soundsystem…”
Plans for 2022?
“I’m going to go into the studio early next year before I go back to school,” she said, in late December. “I got a manager in 2021, so he’s been kind of helping me out. I’m hoping to play in Brooklyn in February.”
Rather than trying to make a big splash, she plans a “slow build” for her career: “As I’m starting
out, I want be steady and have consistent work. Aim for the best, don’t expect huge results–anything to get a few new fans.”
And, when she’s studying in New Jersey, all she has to do to get a little taste of home is to play her “Sour” video. Shot shortly before she left for school, it has “all my friends at a pool party,” plus snips of some of her favorite hangouts, like Copper Star Coffee, Z Records…and, of course, Trunk Space.