BOSCO Makes Music Meant for This Very Moment
BOSCO—like the rest of the world—didn’t know that at the beginning of 2020 a global pandemic would force a growing portion of the globe to take a mandatory standstill. Somehow without knowing what tumultuous tension laid ahead for the world, however, the Atlanta-born musician managed to produce a new album (titled Some Day This Will All Make Sense, out now) that perfectly soundtracks this very moment in time.
While the lyrics and themes that make up the new project echo a familiar existential feeling of questioning and wonder, the musicality of the album is BOSCO at her best: soothing, sensual, imaginative, and experimental. The project explores BOSCO analyzing definitive moments in her life—whether they are moments dealing with family, love, or on a grander scale, purpose—while she continues to take more artistic control of not just the songs but also the visuals and overall aesthetic and intention that fuels her career.
Below, we speak with BOSCO about how her latest record came to be and how she plans to expand her creative empire in the years to come.
First off, I’ve listened to a few of the new singles. Tell me about the inspiration for the new project.
The inspo for the new project was basically centered around just the realization of where you are with things and just owning your stuff. I feel like a large part of my journey has been talking about relationships in the aspect of heartbreak, but I wanted just to talk about realistic things, like the relationship with my mother, the sacrifices of being an artist, and the time that you don’t really get to spend with your family, and to talk about past relationships that I necessarily didn’t take the most accountability in. I wanted to talk about my friendships and empowering those.
I would say this project is a bunch of open letters with a little bit of stories about my friends and kind of mixing their experiences with mine to make one conglomerate, I guess, piece. That’s the majority of what the project is about and just being really transparent about my journey and the people that have led me to get there. That’s why I named the project Someday This Will All Make Sense, because I think people try to figure out their life in just one sitting, and it’s really about the journey, and then trusting that every decision in your life that you have made led up to this one moment of who you are in this very moment.
I know the accompanying visuals for the project are very special as well and you had a lot to do with the looks and the aesthetics that are going to come out of this. Can you tell me a little bit about those?
Yes, of course. It was important to me to take back creative control just of my story in general. I have a background in fashion, art, and media. I wanted to flex those skills. I was very inspired by Tyler, the Creator, on this recent project, and I was listening to a few interviews with him when he was saying that it meant everything to him for it to say “producer arranged,” “co-directed by” for this project, because I think, at the end of the day, every artist wants to be able to own their own intellectual property and to really just have something that’s theirs. I was very adamant this time about being in each part of the process, to know the process, to know the project in and out from production to the studios that I chose to record in, people I wanted to work with, even getting the visual team together. This is all a huge experience. I’ve never worked with a team this big before. I was a bit ambitious with my goals this time. I shot all of the videos and visuals in two days.
Oh, my gosh.
I know. I’m like, “I’m not Beyoncé.” I try to be, but I was like, “To get 10 people together and all at one at time for a week, I think, in L.A. would be challenging.” So I was like, “I’m going to shoot all the visuals. I’m going to shoot the photos, and then leave the set and shoot the videos in the same set.” It was a lot of hard work, because each video is a different world, so my hair’s different, the wardrobe is different, the sets are different. There’s a lot of prep work to go behind it. It was a learning curve for sure, but I wouldn’t change it. It was a great experience for me and the team, but I think overall, for me, it was proving it to myself that with patience, resilience, perseverance, and hard work that you really can achieve the goals that you set out to. You just have to be focused and still enough to see your vision come to pass.
For a few of our readers who will maybe just be getting introduced to you, how did you know that you wanted to make music your career? When did you know?
I always had an issue with following the rules. I would always have jobs, and then just like, “What am I doing here?” I finished high school, my senior year early, and I just knew that it was more to me than working a nine-to-five. I went to the Savannah College of Art Design, and I would do, to get through art school, I would work at a hotel as a bartender, serve. I knew it was a means to an end, but I just knew that something that was a little bit different was my story, because I just had a knack for putting together beautiful things and being able to visually tell a story. I think that artistry, that’s something I was born with.
I feel like life experiences and getting some type of educational background helped me hone in on what it is that I wanted to do and sharpen my skillset. But being an artist has just been something that called me. I don’t think that I would be able to be anything else. I don’t think I could be a doctor or a lawyer. I love people in those professions. It’s great and we need that type of stuff, but just for how I process information, I wasn’t really able to get into the corporate world. I think it’s just are you born this way, to be honest.
As you were navigating those career changes that you mentioned, what do you think was the worst career advice you’ve ever received?
To focus on one thing. I have always been a multidisciplinary artist, but it really wasn’t celebrated or encouraged a few years ago, like, four years ago. I think people need to put things into boxes, and I don’t know why that people need to categorize things. With the invention of technology and gender and vision and all of these things are able and allow the space to advance. I feel like music or musicians are created, especially musicians of color. We are always faced with being put into some kind of subcategory or category or box. I just never fit that mold.
At times, it would get discouraging, of course. It’s like, “You need to focus on one thing. If you don’t focus on one thing, how are you going to be able to advance in this and that?” If I would have listened to those people, I wouldn’t have been able to do this project. If I just focused on music, I wouldn’t learn how to shoot films or learn how to edit videos or been able to make my own graphics for things that I need for the project. I think that’s the worst advice anybody can give an artist is putting limits on them, just to appease or just to pacify their need to put you in a category.
Absolutely. Do you think growing up—when you were discovering that these creative different realms were what you wanted to do—was there a certain movie, album, or artist that you just couldn’t stop watching or looking at that inspired you?
Growing up … it’s kind of hard to say that. Of course, I have my favorites. I grew up listening to everything from gospel to indie to country, but to have a role model of a multimedia artist that are in my, I guess, in my arena right now, anything I’m more into, contemporary artists right now who are really pushing the genre forward. I grew up listening to TLC to Fiona Apple, to Alanis Morissette to Sade to Miles Davis. I feel like those are my foundational mentors, but right now, I’m really enjoying this guy named Yellow Days, of course, Tyler, Frank, Arlo Parks.
I do think it’s important to look back to people who paved the way for us, but I do think there’s something to be said about the newer generation who are making a lot of headway for the advancement of culture in general. I’m really excited about, outside of the state of the world right now, I’m just really excited about how things are progressing, and people are allowing flexibility for different skillsets and being able to exchange information and being open and vulnerable to that. I’m really enjoying that process and trying to stay in this type of environment, creatively.
Of course. Once you listed off the people who influenced you musically, it all makes sense with your sound. I loved hearing that. I’m like, “Oh, my gosh. Yes, a little Alanis. Yes, Fiona.”
Yeah, I was such a big MTV head. My mom was more of the soul, the R&B girl group. I grew up with my aunt. My mother has two sisters, so I had an alternative aunt who would listen to anything from Tracy Chapman to Dixie Chicks to all of that. I call her the Budweiser auntie.
She would put on a cowboy hat and just be so from the ’90s and listen to Shania Twain. She doesn’t give herself enough credit for influencing the other side of my musical ear, but she really helped in those areas for sure.
What’s been your favorite moment in your career so far?
Of course everyone’s going to say the moment they’re in now, but I am really enjoying being present. I don’t think that I have ever been in this space where I am grateful for now. I think as an artist, we’re always looking for it’s almost like the next highlight. All right, we got to do this. We got to do this. I’m really trying to make a conscious effort into being present and being in this project and not looking back at what I should’ve done and how I could’ve done this better.
Yes, there is constructive criticism, but I think there’s something to be said about being mature enough in your art to be grateful for where you are. Then, I think I live by this mantra: The key to abundance is gratitude. As long as you are continuously being grateful for the connections you made, the people that listen to your music, because they don’t have to. That’s just the honest truth.
People don’t have to champion you, but I just feel like now, because of what’s going on, it’s causing me to be still and be like, “You know what? This isn’t how I wanted things to roll out.” I would’ve loved to be in New York talking to you right now, but maybe this is a chance for us as a society to sit still and also show more empathy, in general, as a whole. I would say I’m grateful for this moment now, because success to me looks different. It doesn’t look like millions and millions of plays. It looks like more about getting out into my community and giving the music to people. Success to me looks like being able to spend time with my family. Success to me is being able to put my project out under my own label. I just think my perspective of life has changed, just because of everything that’s going on.
I know you said you like to be in the moment and appreciative, but as you continue to work on music going forward, do you have any dream collaborators in mind, or someone that you really would love to collaborate with?
Yes, I want to collaborate with … some are musicians and also visual artists. … I really love Laurel Halsey. I love, like I said, Tyler, the Creator. I want to work with more institutions, like the MOCA. I want to collaborate with the MoMA. I want to collaborate with the Guggenheim. I want to collaborate with KLAWS. Let’s see. This is a good question. Who else do I want to collaborate with? And Radiohead. How could I forget the god? That’s the god. Are you serious?
I don’t think the world could handle that. It would be amazing.
If I could work with Radiohead, shoot. Man, that’d be so good. I’d be so happy.
I love that you mentioned, too, not just people and musicians, but you see yourself working with institutions and art institutions. Are there other creative ventures you really want to explore in the next few years?
Yes, of course. I think that this project will be the introduction for me to get into film. In film and to more curating experiences. That’s why I wanted to do such an immense project, because it’s on film, it’s photography, it’s cinematography, it’s being able to extract each part of the project and showing it in different forms. I love process, and I love showing process and how to break things down to its truth and most bare bones. That’s the approach that I want to take from here on out. For me, it’s not enough just to be a musician at this point. It is important that I flex those other skills to be able to grow into different mediums and institutions that aren’t just sonically. I really want to get more into the visual and the art world this year. I’m hoping that this project will allow me to do that.
Do you think you’ll ever have a moment when you sit back and think that you’ve “made it?” If so, what would that be?
Man, this question stumps me all the time. I don’t know what making it means anymore. It’s just me being honest, because the trajectory of media has changed so much because of technology and because of how we process information. When I first wanted to do music, what you saw is your modern-day pop star. It was people like Destiny’s Child that went into Beyoncé, to NSYNC to become Justin Timberlake, to Rihanna’s becoming Fenty. I think that coming out during that time was very pivotal to be in this type of music. I do think if you have that form of success and that form of notoriety at this point, it’s scary because it’s like, where’s the longevity in it? How are you able to sustain in a climate like that when you don’t have the years to back up the work?
I feel like those people are the epitome of what “making it” is. Now, I think making it means, in this type of climate, is being able to be a self-sustaining, self-sufficient artist. I think making it is being able to own your masters and your royalties. I think making it is being able to have the flexibility to do what you want in the landscape of music. Then, having an organic way to connect with your audience at this point. Yeah, making it’s kind of subjective at this point, because I don’t even know what that looks like anymore.
The Internet owns the world. Anybody can make it at this point. Joe Schmo can make it. It’s just not the same. It’s just not anything how it used to be. I wish that it was, but if you don’t advance with where our generation is going, just give up on. It’s just what it is. So here we are. Here we are.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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