Date: Sat, Apr. 11 at midnight
Venue: Alchemy Tavern, 7 S. Joachim St., www.alchemytavernmobile.com
SouthSounds participants need to prepare to enter the world of Boyfriend. This one-woman rap cabaret is accented by an unfettered verbal style and a message of love for the modern times. Boyfriend’s grassroots movement has been keeping the phonetic mistress busy performing tracks from her “Love Your Boyfriend” EP. Her set is guaranteed to be one of the more memorable at SouthSounds, and she took time out of her schedule to give the Azalea City of what’s to come.
SC: What has been the best way to get Boyfriend and your music out there?
BF: Honestly, it is word of mouth. People want that stamp of approval or that referral concept. If someone you know and trust is telling you about it, then you’re more inclined to look it up and get interested yourself.
SC: Hip-hop artists like you and Lil Debbie and Amanda Blank are really refreshing. You make all these assumptions based on how they look, then they open their mouth and it hits the fan. What’s the origin of Boyfriend? How did you get in the rap game?
BF: I don’t consider myself a hip-hop artist. I know that I get grouped in with those artists that you mentioned, by virtue of the fact that I do rap, but I don’t refer to myself as a rapper at all. My roots are in theater and in creative writing. For me, my interests with both of those realms was the words. Words have always been the thing that I’m able to manipulate. Rap songs and the rap genre have so much more work going for it than your typical song does. A regular song is a pistol and a rap song is an AK-47. That’s what drew me to it. I also didn’t consider myself a musician. I resisted that for a very long time, simply because I come from a family of musicians. When you’ve got like three cousins who have perfect pitch and going to Vanderbilt on viola scholarships, I don’t play an instrument. It’s hard for me to consider myself a musician. I can manipulate words more, and rap was the genre that I was drawn to.
SC: Whenever you started doing it live, what kind of initial reactions did you get?
BF: It’s the same reaction that I’m getting right now, which is surprise and then delight. It’s hard to not engage and have a good time at one of my shows.
SC: If you had to describe Boyfriend to someone who has never seen or heard you before, what would you say?
BF: I usually use “Rap Cabaret” to describe it. Rap describes what I’m physically doing with my mouth. The cabaret portion accounts for the theatrical aspect and the character aspect of it that makes it more of a show than a concert.
SC: Where do you find the inspiration for your music?
BF: Everywhere. The latest EP that I came out with, “Love Your Boyfriend,” was my contribution to the conversation about love that I hear on the radio in almost all love songs that I see acted out around me every day. Love is a theme and a concept and an idea that everybody has strong convictions about. I think a lot of people are getting their messages from the wrong place. Most radio songs have given us pretty unhealthy examples of what a relationship looks like, or they’re looking at Corinthians and are saying, “Love is patient. Love is kind.” They have that stitched on a throw pillow, but they don’t act it out in their real lives. So, I was looking around the world and listening to the music around me critically and seeing a lot of disconnected between the definitions that we celebrate and the ones that we act out. I wrote those songs to combat that or at least add my voice to the mix.
SC: So, creative writing people are typically pretty analytical people. What was your final analysis on the subject of love after going through that?
BF: I guess it’s something that’s in progress. One of the main songs that I point to as a summary of the EP is called “Love Me.” It takes that Corinthians verse that even non-Christians are familiar with and converts it to fit the definition of love that I’ve seen acted out around me or experienced. I haven’t always been the victim. I’ve been the aggressor in some of those situations. If you just live in the world and act out your love based on what you’re hearing on the radio or seeing on TV, it’s not going to look like that Bible verse. It’s going to look like the lyrics to my song. The Bible says, “Love is patient/Love is kind/It does not envy/It does not boast.” My song says, “Love’s impatient/Love’s unkind/Love is envy in my mind/Love is proud/This ring is proof/Love is boastful/Truth to truth.” It’s sort of looking at what I’ve seen around me. You know, there’s the good for every three bad, but I come from a broken home, like most people my age. I’ve lived through multiple divorces. I’ve seen the way people treat each other, and I don’t think that it is the freeing emotion that the Corinthians verse provides. It’s about ownership and obligation.
SC: When can we expect some new material from Boyfriend?
BF: Oh, any minute now. I’ve got a lot of stuff up my sleeve. I’m constantly creating new content. It’s more about timing and waiting for the right moment. There’s still so many people who haven’t heard the “Love Your Boyfriend” EP and haven’t seen me live. I’m focusing on that right now and traveling around and getting into rooms with people and letting them know that I exist. Aside from music, I look at every piece of content as something that has a concept behind it. Whether it’s a song or a photo shoot or an interview or article, I kinda put all that in the same category. I think music is just one of the things that I’m working on. I get so pumped up to do a photo shoot just the way I get when I’m writing a song. It’s not always as easy to get across. There’s no sound. It’s just a still image. There’s always a heavy concept behind our photo shoots as well. I usually collaborate with a photographer on a very artistic level. We talk about concepts before we actually get together with a camera.
Other SouthSounds 2015 artist profiles
The Honorable South
Friday, April 10, 7 p.m.
Cathedral Square Stage
Friday, April 10, 8 p.m.
Cathedral Square Stage
Friday, April 10, 10 p.m.
Shaheed & DJ Supreme
Friday, April 10, 11 p.m.
Saturday, April 11, 6 p.m.
Cathedral Square Stage