Past Future Tense: Later Coming Soon
by: Najee Wilson
March 4, 2014
It was a rainy Saturday afternoon in December when I met with BOSCO to catch up with the Savannah native, minutes from the heart of Atlanta. After a few crackling buzzers and one or two flights of stairs I was greeted by Brittany Bosco in an open loft apartment with massive windows that partially revealed views of the Atlanta skyline.
BOSCO is a visual artist, singer, and lyrist whose eclectic sensibilities at the core reveal a girl with a voice. When I arrived, BOSCO and a few musician friends were hours into what looked like an actual recording session. After I exchanged pleasantries with everyone I settled myself on the low soft couch as the “soul spectator,” to what I learned was a long brunch turned jam session. Listening to the endless drum section of a melody that one of BOSCO’s friends (and producer) had been working on which echoed through the expansive space I lounged in. BOSCO, a true southern girl, took to the kitchen whipping up a few more fajitas for the group as she and I discussed how she had come to her current position in the indie music scene.
BOSCO seated on a wooden chair, (armed only with a voice looper, mic, and moleskin notebook on the floor in front of her) sipped tea and hummed a few melodies into the mic. She tinkered around, looping lyrics and lines, piecing together a song on the spot. Her ability to listen to a beat and develop a song was honed over several years. After a short tenure at The Savannah College of Art and Design ending in 2008, BOSCO went on to perform sold out shows across the U.S. and Europe. All of this allowed powerful waves of creativity and rich life experiences to wash over her reveling a humbled yet intensely motivated artist who’s true desire to make a sound that she describes as “past future tense.” There is a certain familiarity to BOSCO, her melodic voice played against chillwave sounds with a slight 90s R&B flow. She has a deep respect for sounds that have come before her as they help to conjure her sound in a style that is all her own.
A large part of the BOSCO aesthetic is wrapped up in the 90s, talk to me about that.
A Tribe Called Quest is perhaps most notable. When I got started in Savannah with the hip hop group called Dope Sandwich, I was the female singer who would go to open mic on tuesday night to sing. This is where I honed my craft. I have a deep love of NYC-based rap and that sound. I was removed from that place, so how I project myself to the world now is my version of how that time affected me. I played a show at “Cola Con,” a comic book festival, and got to open for Phife Dawg of Tribe. I was able to speak with him for quite some time, during our conversation I shared how much the legacy that he and his other band mates laid forth and how that helped me find myself musically. The zeitgeist of the 90s literally lives in ATCG.
What about 90s girl groups?
I love the girl group Total. When I first heard the song “Kissing You,” I was listening to a late night R&B radio station, I think I was in the 6th grade. I heard that song and it was the embodiment of sexy. From the black leather, to dark sunglasses that slight androgynous styling that was crazy, sexy and cool.
What are you listening to right now?
Wow, Im kind of all over the place at the moment. Everything from Sade—she has a magical quality. I’m sure she’s actually a mermaid. “Stronger Than Pride” is perhaps one of my favorite song by her—to Machinedrum, really feeling the track “GBYE,” which is more of a current sound. Its fast and makes you want to get up and move.
Who are your style icons?
Calvin Klein, his fashion sense, the minimal look and the sexiness of those ads. Janet Jackson, specifically her Rhythm Nation look. She was black and sleek! International Appeal! She had a great sense of style that was a total package. Kelis is also amazing! She was always on the forefront of style. She has that it factor. People know she’s the shit from her hair to her sense of style. You just can’t deprive her of your attention. Josephine Baker, she was a visionary, a woman and mother to a tribe of kids. She affected the way people see that time—I hope to be like her one day.
How do you see yourself influencing the way people look at our time?
Influence comes from leading by example. It comes by staying true to your art no matter what the outcome or reward may or may not be. Honing in on your craft is vital so people of our time can not only ‘see’ change but also ‘feel’ it. My influence obviously comes from my personal experiences. Figuring out how I want to share that information visually or sonically can sometimes be challenging.
Is 2014 the year for BOSCO?
I don’t know, but I love watching new people discover my music and point of view. New energy new music means a new audience so we shall see. Traveling and doing some shows. Working with different brands. I’m riding the wave. I am constantly reevaluating myself but staying true to myself is key. I am however okay with the prospect of not knowing the future. I struggle with past-future-tense style which is still relevant. It’s a sound that brings about change. Modernity is subtle and varies but it’s essentially about establishing new standards.
Do you talk about love much? You use it as a subject in your latest release. Talk to me about “Slippin.”
“Slippin” is a year in the making, it’s one that I was sitting on for a while, waiting for the right moment. But the essence of the song was born from those times when you question your actions. In love, no one is ever sure, I wanted to capture that back and forth feeling that you get when your in love. Written from a girls perspective, the song is honest, it’s introspective and real. I was so glad to be able to work with a talented cast of folks on the video, namely director Andrew Litten, and the photographer Faisal Mohammad. Its funny how the song and video has a fall like connotation, it’s even in the name. The outcome was dynamic, I was a wood nymph. We shot it out in the woods outside of Atlanta. It was great to see how he interpreted the idea and collaborate on that visual together.
You’re launching a new EP, Tell me about MPH?
MPH was produced by NEVR (additional drum programming by REO), and inspired by Natalie Portman’s character in the film Closer. This story of a girl of the night who does not belong to anything—she’s not a streetwalker—just a role reversal. It brings to light the lack of human communication we have. Instant gratification in the way that a man would but in a way only a woman could, leaving little more than traces of lipstick. The girl is traversing this dreamy landscape in an ambiguous city, shot in real time over the course of a night.
What did you think about calling it MPH?
We immediately thought this is it! That fast-paced lifestyle, the idea of pushing the limits. It just made sense. I’m also excited about the photo story as a whole. It’s something tangible—a conceptual project to see how far to take the lyrics of the song. The download also features GIFs, small vignettes that gives the story movement in venues where people consume and share information rapidly. It’s amazing how ideas can become so far removed from their original meaning but still resonate with its given audience.
What’s driving you forward?
Time. It has this amazing ability that we all sometimes forget to change, influence, and make better. I have this weird sense of the clock looming so I’m always moving whether the time is well spent or wasted. Love is pushing me. I want to achieve this goal so I can sleep at night.
Check out BOSCO’s latest release, MPH, along with a visual lookbook and GIFs to download for free
Styling : Von Allen