This Black History Month we’re celebrating emerging black artists who are redefining boundaries and challenging underrepresentation in their scenes. Join us as we spotlight these new and influential creators.
Meet BOSCO, an Atlanta-based singer whose hybrid sound defies categorization.
How did you first get your start as a musician?
I started singing in church and I feel like that developed my skills as a vocalist. With that, you innately grow into becoming an artist. From there, I would sing in local talent shows and I joined the chorus in high school. When I began college I started writing my own music and performing locally at this jazz lounge to perfect my original music.
Were there any artists in particular you looked to for inspiration who you felt were breaking down barriers?
I am a huge fan of Erykah Badu, Sarah Vaughn, Sade, Charlie Wilson & The Gap Band, Isley Brothers, Tracy Chapman, Meshell Ndegeocello, Pharrell Williams, D’Angelo, Frank Ocean, and Brandy to just name a few. I love male vocalists and the tone/timbre of their voices.
Given the influence black musicians have had on all genres of music, are you surprised by the lack of representation of people of color in the alternative genre?
Yes. Being considered an Alternative R&B artist myself, we are often compartmentalized and boxed into this these confined areas of sound, when we as a people pioneer the core of the genre. Alternative is just a extension of Blues/Rock & Roll. Just because we’re black, they automatically associate the color of our skin with sound and sonics when really it’s simply transferred energy. I believe it’s the lack of education that causes people to put these barriers on us. Once we educate the people, we as a unit can progress.
Have you had to navigate any particular obstacles in order to gain respect within your music scene?
OF COURSE! This never changes; we don’t get a “day off”. I’m constantly reminded that I’m Black when I present an idea or “set placed demographic” idea in my music. I grew up listening to artist like Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette, Garbage, Radiohead who are major influences on my life but when we tapped into these areas, we are questioned what the sound is. When white artists explore other genres they are never questioned, but praised and applauded for their “said” efforts to contribute to the black culture. There have been so many times when I wanted to do an indie-rock/experimental project with influence from the greats before me but they still would call it “Soul/R&B” music when the landscape and instrumentation doesn’t yield for that label.
What advice would you give to other musicians of color looking to break in?
Fuck’em, do you fam.