Discovery: Bosco

Published July 24, 2014

ABOVE: BOSCO. PHOTO COURTESY OF CARMEN DANESHMANDI

The Internet is a breeding ground for microwave music, brimming with artists who are far more prolific than profound. A welcome exception is Bosco, a talented multi-disciplinary R&B songstress who is thoughtfully strategic when it comes to what people hear. Head to her Soundcloud, and you’ll find four distinct tracks spread over a 10-month period: the dark and sultry, Weeknd-esque “Black Book,” grooved-out “Slippin,” the funk-filled “MPH,” and most recently, “Names” [below], a dance-disco collaboration with fellow Atlanta native Treasure Fingers that is set to be released on Fool’s Gold next week. Each track shows Bosco’s range as a vocal performer—she’s a clear student of melodic masters like Brandy—while maintaining a sound that’s individual and excitingly futuristic. We spoke to the singer about how Bosco came to be, performing live, and where she’d like to see the future go. 

REAL NAME: Brittany Bosco

AGE: 28

HOMETOWN: Atlanta, GA

ON BECOMING BOSCO: To master any craft, you have to put in the hours. There are no shortcuts. I suppose it’s natural for any fledgling artist to emulate their idols, so there is that awkward period of rehashing what’s already been done. You start asking yourself questions like, “How can I sing like Brandy, be as sexy as Janet Jackson, as honest as Alanis Morissette, as iconic as Stevie Nicks, as stylish as Gwen Stefani?” It’s exhausting! Obviously I’m grateful to all these artists, but imitation is suicide. Ultimately, I had to be honest with myself and figure out where I wanted to be and what I wouldn’t compromise myself for. It was time to be that person everyone saw. I knew that person existed inside. Once I made that decision, I was free to do anything. It didn’t happen overnight, so it’s rewarding to finally feel like I’m coming into my own. 

ON VISUALS: When I make music, I immediately see visuals. When I see a beautiful film or photograph, I’m often inspired with melody or lyrics. So there is no separation in my mind. They offer one another a very necessary third dimension. At this point, everything I release will be a multi-sensory experience in some aspect. With “MPH,” instead of shooting a video, I wanted to tell a story through stills and gifs. I worked with photographer Faisal Mohammed and together we spent weeks developing the story and compiling references to really capture the essence of the character in the song: a woman who is very sexual, yet overstimulated and numb. Body language was everything. We basically had to communicate this idea without speaking, which in a weird way, made it so much more potent. With the video for “Slippin,” I collaborated with director Andrew Litten, who presented the idea of using an infrared film technique that translates green earth tones to brilliant magentas. We traveled about 80 miles north of Atlanta to shoot in this incredible forest. We basically spent the day hiking, seeing nature in the raw, fighting through bush, and climbing boulders to get specific shots. We were our own production team. It was great! 

HER NEW SONG “NAMES”: I met Treasure Fingers through my friend Tunde of Fresh.i.am. We got in the studio a couple weeks later and he played the track for me. My immediate response was, “OMG, I think I got something!” I went home immediately and got to work. It’s interesting: some songs really take time to flesh out and others just hit you instantaneously. At the time, I was dealing with a lot of personal issues and I needed to let off some steam. I began singing the cadence and the words just came. It’s like the spirit of LCD Soundsystem’s “Losing My Edge” mixed with Crystal Waters and Deee-Lite. At the end of the day people just want to dance, so the collaboration was effortless. I really had no expectations for the song at all; it just felt so damn good! My songwriting tends to be pretty technical with a lot of moving harmonies, soundscapes, and vocal layering, so breaking out of that mold was liberating for me.

PERFORMING LIVE: I feel at home on stage. It’s literally the best part of my job. I get to role-play and project my energy into the crowd, and they give it right back in the purest form. One of the best moments in my career was opening for Santigold at the ONE Music Fest. She’s one of the original modern-day underground style queens, before being weird was cool, so that was a dream come true. I tend to use a band with pretty strong electronic sway, so lots of synths and gadgets and what not. I’m currently developing the visual aspect to my live show as well. Stay tuned!

FAVORITE PRODUCER: I’ve been working with production team NEVR on all my latest releases—no one pushes me like them. We’ve been working on music for about two years now, creating some really deep material. I’m amazed when I go back and listen to all the music we’ve made!  

GROWTH WITH EACH TRACK: “Blackbook” is very personal to me, inspired by an event that occurred in my childhood. It’s an introduction to my sound—personally, I feel it’s the best song I’ve written lyrically. Though the details might not apply, I know people can relate to the song in their own way. “Slippin” is about falling hard for someone, not knowing how or why, but instead of sulking over not being able to have that person, you’re just bemused by how thrown off your game you are—a “shit happens” kind of thing. I’ve always been obsessed with girl groups and female singers, growing up in the ’90s. That’s probably real cliché to say these days, but think pre-Tumblr, “Generation Y” era. I wanted to bring back the “girlfriend song.” Girlfriend music is the kind you listen to when you’re having girl talk and walking down the sidewalk. They have those real lush harmonies that remind you of an old-school hatchback Honda Civic. I wanted my girls to be able to ride in their cars listening to this while the sunsets. “MPH” is about the fast life: creating, disposing, loving, and being over it all at once. The only high is capturing that initial moment you meet and leaving the catalogued memory behind. Nothing lasts forever, especially not past the next morning. The song is essentially about belonging to nothing.

NEXT MOVES: Seems like I’m under a microscope due to social media these days. Everyone has access to you and your every move. Having to maintain your stock on Instagram for relevancy is pretty ridiculous but, for an independent artist, also very necessary. Everything has to make sense and connect. More than anything, I just want people to take my talent as it is. Whatever medium I choose to express myself, whichever song I release, each visual—all stand alone. Everything doesn’t need to be categorized or compartmentalized. I guess it’s hard for people to digest art as multimedia, but that’s who I am. Music is definitely my focal point, but there will always be so much more to me than that.

“NAMES” IS OFFICIALLY OUT VIA FOOL’S GOLD NEXT TUESDAY, JULY 29. FOR MORE FROM BOSCO, FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER.