It was the brooding energy of a sweaty dark night in East Atlanta nightclub, The Basement. That particular night was like most other nights, in Atlanta, surely around the globe, in which local people with the spattering out-of-towners gather for one ever connecting force: live music. Of course live music does not guarantee good music or even a good time but it does ensure that the lack of inactivity will provide a backdrop for the rest of the evening. I’m here waiting for singer/songwriter BOSCO.
And so, in the early part of the evening when the crowd had a few drinks in their system and swayed slightly from the prerecorded sounds we all waited with intense anticipation for the the first drum hit, the first guitar strum, the first words sung by BOSCO. Her empyrean vocals textured with the bands unblemished flow of sound created the type of energy that propelled the rest of the night forward and left an imprint on the audience. She later proclaimed to the world, via twitter “Tonight was my best performance ever. Never felt so [confident].”
I wanted to know where this new found confidence came from, but more importantly, where it was going. After all we are talking about a woman who is not new to publicity, has had international reach, multiple musical releases and a bevy of performances. I wait For BOSCO in the farthest corner of The Porter, a dark and wood laced bar nestled in Atlanta’s Little Five Points artist community. She is running a bit late but texts me her apologies. Soon though, she’s walking up the wide steps towards me. Legs exposed in tiny jean cut-offs and a loose white tee with big red lips splattered across the chest, she looks at me through large clear frames, “Sorry I’m late.” She says. “Are you eating?” And that is where our interview begins. We order a couple of beers and start our conversation. I tell her that I was thoroughly impressed with her performance and asked if her recent SXSW show had anything to do with her recent performance at The Basement. She tells me that her time in SXSW exposed to her such a great level of professionalism amongst artist and attention to detail that possibly that had something to do with it, but that is not the whole of it.
As we sip beers and eventually munch on french fries she tells me “I’ve had forty-eight rebirths,” and with a quick laugh she adds “and they are complete rebirths.” She could be talking about her love of changing clothes and looks, but she is not. The singer is talking about how she has gone from a neo-soul singer (or something like it) to completely out of the music industry (or something like it) and then reemerging as an ethereal post punk kid (or something like it). And this type of rebirth is most likely where her new confidence is stemming from, a place where creativity can thrive and grow knowing at any time, more, new or different forms of creativity can be born again and again and again. But even regeneration like this can’t combat everything that comes with being an underground artist.
“I need a mentor,” she professes and twirls her cropped curls with her fingers. She looks to the distance and sights that in the past female singers like Brandy had successful mentors like Whitney Houston to encourage and guide them. “Now,” she tells me “we have gatekeepers; you have to pay your dues.” The idea is that these “gatekeepers” are more interested in being the dictators of cool and maintaining their position and less interested in being anyone’s mentor. This may be in part why she parted ways with her long term management and instead is heading most of the decisions for the BOSCO Band. Luckily, in her band she has a lot of support and talent.
The BOSCO Band which consists of Brittany Bosco, Ira G. a hip hop and r&b producer (electronics) , three members of the post punk and soul quartet Tandaberry; Shane Orange (keys), Jonathan Merenivitch (guitar) and Carlton Knight (bass) and John the drummer have chosen an interesting path to navigate. In an industry that is decidedly boxy and square, BOSCO is decidedly triangle. Whereas most bands might feel it imperative to stick to the standard songwriting model, The band has no issue with releasing a song with no hook or form of repetition. And, in their Latest EP, Let Go of Me, the song with the most commercial appeal, “Joker,” was released with a barefaced video about domestic abuse, rape and revenge. This group of musicians doesn’t do what’s expected of them, and they do that well. Their live show is headed by BOSCO who is simultaneously energetic and harmonious, and grounded by the band who seamlessly guide and carry her through songs. There is also confetti. “When you come to a Bosco show, it’s all encompassing; you’re in her world,” she speaks softly, and with a little self-thought she adds “you’re in its world.” It is here that I notice that there is a disconnect between the woman who I am calling BOSCO, the woman who she is calling BOSCO and the woman who I am talking to, Brittany. I don’t ask her about that right away; completely convinced it will come up again.
Instead, I ask her about the closeness of her band to which she informs me “We are close, we sometimes watch porn together.” I smile than giggle. And when I ask her will there be any more changes to the band that was once technically just one girl. She tells me with a virtuous tone “There are short term distance runners and long term distance runners but they are all on the same team.” And when I ask her what’s her relationship with her friend and band mate Ira G. she gives me the most riotous and cavalier laugh and before she answers, looks me square in the eye and asks why I am curious. Figuring that she has an idea where I’m heading with my questioning I tell her that I am curious if he produced any of her music. And giving full disclosure I confess that based and on what I have seen of them at shows and on twitter there seems to be a proclivity and trust there. She searches my face and in her hushed yet assertive tone starts to talk. “Me and Ira have a passion to get shit done. I met him a while ago and he said ‘I don’t care if we play together or not I want to do everything in my power to help you.’” She nods her head and sips her beer, then finishes “And he has stuck to that.”
“BOSCO,” I ask “what’s your love life like?” Without a pause or thought she quips, “Nonexistent!” We both laugh and then she corrects me, “You know BOSCO and Brittany are two totally different people, BOSCO consumes Brittany”. Bingo, we got back to it. “Men are intimidated by BOSCO and so they never meet Brittany.” I inquire about the differences between Brittany and BOSCO. “BOSCO gets what she wants and takes what she wants, I spend so much time being BOSCO that Brittany suffers, Brittany is the girl from Savannah, she’s very sweet, chill and loves nature.” She goes on to say “I don’t want this industry to make me cold, I feel like I’ve lost a lot of emotions in this career.” This fear of ruin is a very legit one. We’ve seen it time and time again. Sweet, normal and talented people are raised respectfully and then re-raised and tainted by the entertainment industry. And we’ve also seen the artist; underground, mainstream and otherwise who give it their best try and are under-appreciated and fizzle out. But this might be where she has the universal advantage with Brittany helping BOSCO and BOSCO helping Brittany and cumulatively being exactly who she is supposed to be, Brittany Bosco. She is equal parts business savvy and creative, demure and bold and protected and protective. She tells me from one part of herself that she “respects anyone who has a great brand and follow through.” Perhaps she is unaware that she possesses exactly what she respects. Since the time of this interview she has planned a tour, traveled across the coast for her brand, done radio spots and additional shows and continually marketed the BOSCO brand. From another part of herself she tells me “Sometimes I feel like if it doesn’t happen this year, this is my last real try.” Little does she realize (or perhaps she’s perfectly aware) that it is happening, and she doesn’t need to try because she is doing.