Hey, You’re Cool! Bosco
"The industry is enamored with youth and the now, now, now, but there's something to be said about patience."
Savannah-bred singer and songwriter Bosco is best described as a one-woman powerhouse. Not only does the Fool’s Gold artist create captivating sounds for us to groove to, but she also owns and operates her own creative agency, Slug. On the day of her album b. dropping, we had the chance to speak to Bosco about her musical background, inspirations, the new album and Slug Agency.
So let’s start with what sparked your interest in music. Do you come from a musical background?
I definitely grew up in the church and around a lot of gospel music, R&B and soul. My mother had a very eclectic sense of music and style so we would go from listening to gospel to Sade to Al Green. The earlier part of my years I grew up around my grandparents so I have this very southern, deep-rooted soul about myself. Music runs in my family, my dad was like the entertainer, the impersonator and my stepdad was like a pray and worship leader. My cousins all sing and play instruments so it’s something that happened organically for me at a young age.
Many people have compared your sound to Solange and FKA Twigs, do they inspire you?
I love what Solange and FKA Twigs have been doing not only for women, culture and music, but also being an African American woman in the music industry. I think it’s a compliment, at the same time I feel like my music holds a unique place as well so I don’t mind the comparison because like I said they are great. What Solange has been able to do not only with her music but with her brand and providing a platform for other artists like myself—Saint Heron has been so very supportive, posting my stuff throughout the years—so I don’t think it’s a bad comparison at all. If anything they have been able to push down some of the doors for me to make it a little bit easier for my music and my art to live and exist within this publishing industry.
How has your sound changed since the 2008 debut EP, Spectrum?
When I first came out I was so naive, it was one of those situations where I made the project and I didn’t think it was going to anywhere or do anything. Looking back at it, I was thrown out there way before my time. I don’t regret it but I wish I would have done some things differently and the internet was so new and fresh as far finding underground music. So I was like on the forefront of that. Looking back I wasn’t expecting to garner any attraction from that but I did and that’s how the universe works. So that was a good run for me, but I disappeared between 2010 and 2013. During that time I went overseas for a little bit, I really wanted to find myself because I was into this industry and I really didn’t know what I wanted to sound like or what I wanted to look like and I thought it was important for me to drop off and figure me out. So in 2014 I started to drop singles and in 2015 Boy came out. I feel like that was the closest representation of me being away, of what I’ve learned, and of what I wanted to sound like. I took two years off from that and I’ve just been honing my sound, but throughout the years I just really wanted to carve out my space and my place. The b. project is a more secured, more confident Bosco. I actually took the time and figured out my plan and my story and shed a light on certain subjects that I didn’t really want to and ya know, I’m finally feeling like I belong. I’ve always felt like I never belonged and I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s the internet or the industry, I don’t know but now I’ve realized over time that no one can do what I can do. Nobody can fill that space and that void. There’s room for everybody and once you navigate that and stay in your lane, so many doors will open for you.
What’s the narrative behind b.?
b. is a collection of diary-like songs woven together by interludes and sound bites and things that I have been cataloging over the past couple years. It’s a mixture of self discovery, escapism and coming into your potential. I touch on different things about the social media age, political issues, black girl magic and all of that stuff. I think the key component in b. this time is the realization that I’ve been traveling for awhile and it’s like realizing that your art is evolving and growing while in motion, while journeying and now that I’m at the end of the journey, I’ve dealt with a lot of me and I’ve checked myself. I’ve gotten over things, I’ve tried to conquer insecurity. When you spend so much time traveling in the airport and on the train you get to leave so many things in the air and I realized that I evolved while on this journey and being very vulnerable in the process. I’ve learned that it’s OK to feel certain feelings and emotions, it’s OK that sometimes you don’t know what your next move is gonna be. At the center of everything is being confident and growing into your womanhood and accepting the things you can’t change.
What’s the Slug Agency about and where’d you get the name Slug?
Slug is a minority-focused agency that focuses on branding, graphics, visual storytelling and event production for not only brands and corporations but for up-and-coming emerging artists of color. It was important to me as a black artist because I grew up in a very small town called Savannah, Georgia and I wasn’t provided the knowledge or the opportunity to really display my skills. A lot of the things that I learned are complete trial and error because I didn’t have a mentor, I didn’t have a lot of the things I have now. I told myself (well actually I told God) that if I ever got to a place where I can give back, I want to because I really just want to help our people. I really want other agencies and publications to know that we are just as tight as them and we have the level of execution as any other demographic and any other race. I’m just really excited to work with young people and people who have a vision and have a voice. This is a way for me to give back and not be this big thing like, “Oh, that’s Bosco.” I’m very behind the scenes when it comes to Slug, I let the story tell itself.
I got the name is from my start in Atlanta, and Atlanta is the cream of the crop. If you think about many major metropolitan cities and then look at Atlanta, we may not be as fast and have the publishing support but eventually we always end up first so I took that slug mentality that we may be slow and behind a little bit but we always end up being first, whether it’s music, art or fashion. The other part of Slug came from the post-punk scene, like Sluggish skate scene, and it also kinda reminded me of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats so I just put those things together and we have Slug.
What are some projects you and Slug have worked on so far?
We’ve done content stuff for Snap, we have done stuff with Paper Magazine, we did an Art On Your Terms panel collaboration with WeWork and Jameson that went really well. We also produced our first zine this year and did rebranding for a production company in New York called Gum Studios. The last thing we did was take over the culture section of Creative Loafing, which is the art and cultural paper in Atlanta. We’ve only been open since January and I feel so blessed that we’ve been able to effectively reach out to the culture and people have been wanting to collaborate with us.
As a female entrepreneur, do you have any words of advice for the young ladies out there?
Absolutely. You have to eliminate the factor of time. Time is something that man has made and once you eliminate the, “Oh, I gotta get this done at this point. Oh, I’m supposed to be doing this way,” you’re able to move freely and organically towards the thing that positively affects your life. I know the industry is enamored with youth and the now, now, now but there’s something to be said about patience, diligence and letting your work speak for you. For instance, I look at people like Taraji P. Henson, she’s in her 40s and just really popped off like 4 years ago. It took Solange until 31 to make A Seat At The Table. So the thing I would tell young women is to just to keep going, keep positive people around you and cut the fat. Cut the dead weight, ya know?
Tell us one interesting thing about Bosco we may not know.
I love blue crabs. I’m kinda hood when it comes to that stuff, I love that southern New Orleans crawfish and seafood, that get your hands dirty kinda vibe. I’m also scared of roller coasters! I cannot do that drop in stomach thing man, I just can’t do it.