From jump when looking at the packaging of the Spectrum EP, you can’t fight the urge to sit in, listen to, and play with the varied landscape of sound on this all too brief introduction. On Spectrum the second EP from Bosco (The City of Nowhere EP actually came first), you find a comfort, an authenticity in Bosco expressing herself in various genres. Not even just genres, but just a broad artistic arc she shares with the “Big Up Crew”, a small cadre of fellow Savannah College of Art and Design alum. In every step of the process from eye candy packaging, promotion materials, to her exhaustively energetic live shows Bosco has raised a few eyebrows to her statement about who she is as an artist. Clutch finally caught up with the Savannah born and raised artist – between a recent impromptu visit to Chicago, and fresh off a show at San Francisco’s 330 Ritch. For insights behind the Spectrum LP, random influences, why she loves The Cosby Show, and just exactly who is Brittany Bosco.
“I’d describe my sound as Gnarls meets a new-age Janice Joplin mothered by Sarah Vaughn”. Its quite clear Bosco is at heart a contemporary artist, albeit one with very big influences in musical eras bygone. “Man, I watch a lot of old movies and films, I love Jazz, not really a T.V. person, but movies and theatrics I love.”
Starting with almost a jolt, “Welcome to Funkyolon” foreshadows, with a collage-like patchwork of blaring horns, tumbling go-go drum rhythms, and general sonic mixture that is a testament both to the production lent by D.C. native Alex Goose and the vocal range of Bosco.
While tracks like City of Nowhere and Glitch have a contemporary bend, the rest of the EP journeys full on and head first into Jazz, Soul, Funk and Blues. Solely because it may be the clearest hint at pinning Bosco into a specific style, Black Keys stands out. Here Bosco nestles vocals between a jazzy eardrum tickling xylophone melody and a kinetic mashing loop of high hats and kicks. As refreshing as all that is, what’s a really welcome switch-up is the latter half of the song where Bosco flexes her classical vocal training. Still, if Black Keys is the standout, Bosco is not shy about exercising her own creative span.
“I want to be booked by Essence Festival, Warped Vans Tour, then I want to do Afropunk, and then go to the Blues Room and do a straight up Jazz standards concert . . . Sunset Junction, SXSW, CMJ, I want them all…”
Black and White for instance almost sounds like a dramatic soliloquy, with minimal composition, and almost gut-wrenching vocals that convey a raw intimacy – which Bosco does equally well in Blues for Blue. With that in mind, as free spirited as this EP feels clocking in just under 30 minutes, every track seems to be carefully picked, from what you would imagine is a vast musical cache. Comparing her 2 favorite performances to date and the feel of this EP, you get the definite sense Bosco can hold her own in either setting.
“ I’d have to say my senior class recital which was at a Cathedral. I practiced like a month for that recital. That and my introduction to Atlanta and the world at a “Fuggin Awesome” show. My set was originally two songs, ended up being five, sold out of CDs, the crowd was in it, and I went home exhausted. Those are my two favorite shows so far.”
Spectrum [pun intended] paints Bosco in a prism of varied influence and expression, as if the wavelength of her expression effortlessly re-tunes with each track. Spectrum flows in a way that makes each song feel like a scratch on the surface of what we can expect in the future.
While aware and flattered by comparisons, Bosco is confident in her own identity as an artist. “I really admire a lot of the people I get compared to” but credits her uniqueness to crossing into various genres. “I’m comfortable adapting to various demographics”. One could imagine what a live EP recording of Bosco would sound like, as she hints towards one major source of inspiration: her fans. “Like in Cali, I didn’t know I had as diverse a fan base I have . . . I did not know. That opened my eyes up. . . you cannot stereotype people just from the type of music you make. It was amazing for me to see that, because there were only like eight or nine African Americans in the crowd. I want to make a song about that… ” Explaining further, “This one lady was like, I love your music can’t believe you came here! And I was like ‘WHAT?’ Cause’ I just go home, to my little house and cook food and chill, and have the same problems and struggles as everyone else.”
“It’s crazy” Bosco continues alluding to her upcoming opening show for electro-funk-hop-soul trailblazers J*Davey ““Maybe a year and a half ago I wondered if I’d ever perform alongside artist on this level – and now people are starting to look at my work similarly. It’s just crazy.”
Still, Bosco, despite having a very playful carefree element to her craft (probably in part evident by her identifying most with the characters Olivia and Denise from the Cosby Show), has moments of being very critical of her own work. When asked is there ever a piece of work she’s somewhat embarrassed of she replies emphatically “Yes, yes! I wish they would stop playing it. One of my first songs…its buried, and it can stay buried.
The EPs main short coming is that its varied approaches and short run time will likely leave you wanting more . . . or with more questions about who Bosco is as an artist. Still, the mystery of just what Ms. Bosco has in store aside is a question worth entertaining and definitely worth the listen.
For more on Brittany Bosco please visit www.myspace.com/brittanybosco.