"With these singles, I’ll be touching on homosexuality, religion, faith, lust, sex, addiction, cheating, lying… It’s just like the nature of the beast. We’re all animals."
Meet BOSCO; a multi-disciplinary artist and musician from Atlanta. Recently many have compared BOSCO to one Ms Solange Knowles which has many of her loyal following stumped; especially as Bosco’s sound has been making waves in Europe and the States since waaay before the infectious "You and Me" stormed the radios. I met up with her in New York to discuss her music, her latest project, and find out why she isn’t offended by those Solange comparisons.
Noisey: To begin with, what sparked off the interest in music?
BOSCO: Michael Jackson. I remember being 5, Dangerous album came out and MTV premiered “Leave Me Alone” video on my birthday; it was life-altering. I’ve always been a HUGE fan of Janet and Michael. My birthday slumber party was even Michael Jackson inspired. That night I waited and waited for that video to drop. I would stand in front of the TV trying to learn all his moves and nuances, the way he controlled the crowd, the way he made weird noises with his mouth. From then, I knew I wanted to be an entertainer and singer. To make people feel the same way about my music as a little girl.
So, what’s the creative process when writing a BOSCO track?
How I normally write songs is just off one-liners. Something can just spark an idea in me, and then one idea leads to another. Building an idea off of one-line or one complete sentence feels like building a house; you have your foundation, now what you do after that is up to you.
How about your visuals? Where does the inspiration normally come from?
The sound dictates the visuals. As cliché as it sounds, I really do see sound and colors when I write. As Pharrell said, you see the sound. You see the music and you see how it moves. The lines and shapes. You create and build a world in your head. But the hard thing is getting it out of your head for people to experience it. Luckily for me, I work with a team of people who continually feed me creatively and push my art forward. So the process is organic; brainstorming ideas and sharing them as a collective. Whatever I create, first and foremost, it’s about helping to build a story.
So, what’s the story of this latest project about to drop?
There are a lot of situations that I went through in my life and was scared to talk about. You know some things that people are afraid to touch on. With these single releases, I’ll be touching on those subjects: homosexuality, religion, faith, lust, sex, addiction, cheating, lying. All of that stuff that I’ve experienced from high school to college, and then post college; stuff that I’ve experienced with friends in the industry and creatively. It’s just like the nature of the beast. We’re all animals.
And you’re putting yourself on the line in a sense.
I am. I definitely am.
That must be hard as a woman. Women seem to face far more scrutiny in the music industry… or is that something that doesn’t apply to you?
It does apply to me and I deal with this all the time and the do this or do that mentally. Being a woman means that I’m expected to sing only about certain things and look a certain way. I try not to focus too much on my appearance in the category of “sex,” whether this will sell or not. I really commend Janelle Monae on her uniform and her stance on femininity. It means a lot to see her as someone who is standing up there and saying she’s not going to compromise. She doesn’t have to show you her body to be a successful music artist.
What would you say about someone like Lady Gaga then who always seems to be barely clothed these days?
You see I don’t have any problem with nudity when it’s done artistically and respectfully. I will say that I do admire Lady Gaga and her movement and what she’s doing. But if you are gonna do nudity, there has to be some reason behind it (no shots to her). Rather than “Oh she’s naked.” There has to be some reference point as to why you're naked. What’s the subject behind that so the nudity makes sense? But who am I… we are all walking contradictions at the end of the day.
Talking about female artists. How do you feel about the constant comparison of you to Solange?
People inherently feel the need to categorize when they're faced with something they don't understand. So they immediately turn to what's familiar. I get it: We're two black girls making music a little left of center and I'm not as well-known. But music doesn't always fit into cute, compartmentalized genres. At the end of the day, what's most important to me is that my vision be clear and my music have its own weight.
So in regards to your music, when I listen to it, I get trip-hop, post-punk, soul. Is there a category for your music or is it undefinable?
I would like to say that it’s genreless. But to help this society that needs to compartmentalize everything, I would say it’s a mixture between experimental R&B and soul; with hints of other things. I try not to pigeon hole myself into categories because one day I might want to do a classical album. I might want to do jazz. Who knows?
So, to close, other than MJ, who are your music heroes?
St Vincent, Sade, Janet Jackson, George Benson, Alanis Morissette and especially Nat King Cole, to name a few. Nat King Cole because of his texture. The texture of his voice is really awesome. I listen to a lot of instrumentals and mixes as well which I am inspired Like Machine Drum, Knxwledge, NEVR, Ryan Hemsworth, Kaytranada, Vault Boyz and more. I like a lot of experimental producers/DJs because they have their hands on the pulse. I love that element of mystery. You never know what songs will be on the mix or played.