Once you watch the video for Bossie’s debut single, “Meteor,” there is no turning back. In it, the Toronto-born singer-songwriter spends most of her time in front of a camera having a film crew drown her in buckets of glitter and confetti. At first it’s funny, then it becomes perplexing, then—when Bossie’s clothes, face and tongue become lacquered with sparkles and feathers—you realize the shrewd statement she’s trying to make. Women in pop music get put through the wringer as far as image is concerned, and as exuberant and glamorous as it looks, the message is so far removed from reality that it can hurt. What makes things even more complicated is that the choruses in “Meteor”—and Bossie’s soon-to-be released album Not Pictured—are the kind of aural confections you could imagine Britney Spears, Selena Gomez or Kesha singing.
So why would 27-year-old Bossie—whose real name is Anne Douris—dare to blast, deconstruct and mock a pop music industry she is desperately trying to get into? “It’s technically not me,” she says, noting that Bossie is a character she’s creating to unveil the inaccuracy behind pop personas. “There’s just no way I can be that girl,” she says. Bossie is referring to the Taylor Swifts, Beyoncés and Katy Perrys of the world. “I’m not that cool, smooth-talking, really-comfortable-in-my-body kind of girl. All that stuff we try to project onto women musicians in general—that’s just not gonna fly cause I’m an awkward, early 20s, uncomfortable person. Trust me, there are lots of us out there, so I thought my act would be so put on if I didn’t decide to drive it to the extreme.”
The concept of the video naturally came from Bossie, who has side hustles as a video director, animator, set designer, graphic designer, music producer and T-shirt designer for other bands and acts (including Hollerado, Zeus, and The Balconies). Her own inspirations are as wide-ranging as her occupations: electronic groups, such as New Order and Joy Division; ’90s TV shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and poets, such as Anne Carson. A song called “Three Dimensional”—which sounds like it should be on the soundtrack for an ’80s rom-com like Pretty in Pink or Earth Girls Are Easy—is a love song about her Nintendo 64. However retro her influences are, many of Bossie’s tracks speak directly to her generation. Her latest single, called “A Lot Like Love”, speaks to the psychology of social media. “The song is about when I do things like go on Facebook or post a selfie and get a bunch of likes. Am I just trying to validate myself with this weird machine, or do I need to look elsewhere? It’s about the gratification and validation you get from somebody doing very little.”
Another track called “Post Teen” dips into the “twises” (a.k.a. twenties crisis) that Bossie and many of her friends seem to be facing. “We’re kind of at the weird middle part of our youth—a time when you don’t really know what to do or how to get out of what you are doing,” she says, speaking to the widespread issues of depression and displacement associated with coming of age. “The song is about feeling lost. Dr. Seuss calls it ‘The Slumps.’”
Bossie says her stage name is a reflection of the experiences she’s had in the studio. “The biggest problem that I’ve seen is women being shushed while working on their music and people saying things like, ‘You don’t know how to make a decision, you be quiet!’ I put a stop to that,” she says. “Musicians are basically entrepreneurs—you’re the boss of your business and if people don’t respect that, it’s not good for your work.”
Check out Bossie’s new single, “Alot Like Love”:
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