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BOSLEN | THE ALT-HIP-HOP STAR PUTTING VANCOUVER ON THE MAP

July 13, 2021

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Boslen is a whole vibe, and we can’t get enough. His sound is enticing and immediately catches your ear, unveiling his own eclectic version of trap music infused with rock, pop, and hip-hop elements for the world to enjoy. Hailing from Vancouver, Canada and forever putting on for his city, Boslen is a master of his craft, effortlessly creating bangers for his growing fanbase.

Hailing originally from the state of Chilliwack, which Boslen describes as “farmland,” the recording artist started getting into music heavily 3 years ago—which came as a result of rugby injuries. He pursued rugby for 7 years and after tearing his ACL twice, he felt torn not being able to play anymore. He states “I had to figure out what to do with my life because I always thought playing rugby was always going to be my thing. I started picking up the pen and writing, that helped my mental health a lot.”

At only 22 years old, Boslen’s ultimate end goal is to give back to the kids in his city. With his thumping banger “Eye for an Eye” catching buzz back in 2019, music-lovers all around the world were introduced to Boslen and his genre-bending sound. That same year, he followed it up with “Hidden Nights (feat. ILLYMINIACHI)” backed by the Nelk Boys.

Fast forward to 2021, Boslen unleashed 3 singles: the ferocious “QUARTZ (feat. Charmaine),” the smooth “DENY (feat. Tyla Yaweh),” and party-dazed “TRIP,” which are holding fans over until the release of his DUSK to DAWN project. The divergent project resembles a sonic journey from darkness to light.

Flaunt caught up with Boslen via Zoom, who was posted on a muggy day in Vancouver. Read below as we discuss his roots in Vancouver, biggest influences, the success of “Eye for an Eye,” linking with Charmaine on “QUARTZ,” the importance of impactful visuals, collaborating with Tyla Yaweh,  goals, and more!

Photo Credit: Cameron Corrado

What was the household like growing up in Vancouver? 

Growing up in Vancouver, it’s a beautiful place. We’re 20 minutes away from Whistler, so we can go snowboarding. In your front yard, there’s boats everywhere. It’s the equivalent almost to LA in a way, but we have the snow. The people here are very driven. The culture here is very, very early.

Who inspired you to create music? 

Some of my inspirations, specifically in the city before me would be The Rascalz. They were trying to bring a lot of light to the city, specifically with MTV, the Junos, all of that. From their time, I really got a lot of inspiration from them. Guys like Manila Grey inspire me too. They’re that new era stuff. Lately, there’s a weird cloud over us. It feels like there’s a  new generation now where people like myself and other artists in the city were given the opportunity to really put on for Vancouver.

Who else are you inspired by? 

Kid Cudi has been one of my biggest influences since the day I started making music. Kid Cudi, Kanye West, The Weeknd, specifically on in his latest rollout. That was really beautiful. I gained a lot of inspiration for my debut project coming. And there’s BEAM too! BEAM is the new era of Kanye.

That’s a statement!

BEAM’s crazy! Even guys who are producers inspire me too. I pull a lot of inspiration from producers like Louis Bell, Ian Kirkpatrick, and Illangelo.

What does it mean to put on for Vancouver?

We’d play my music at parties, people would say “Who is this?” I gained the confidence to really own it. From there I met my manager, he‘s my age. Him and I dropped out of UVic, the University of Victoria. I literally slept on his couch for 6 months. We chopped it up and attacked the city. I reached out to a couple people in the city like Manila Grey, ILLYMINIACHI, people I felt inspired from in the city. Vancouver’s a grey area. We always get compared to Toronto, but we are doing our own thing and I’m really excited for what the future holds.

What did “Eye for an Eye” do for your career?

I literally recorded that in my dorm at UVic by myself. It was right after school. I had a bad day at school, I wanted to get a lot of stuff off my chest. It’s funny that song keeps creeping on me. I keep trying to beat its numbers, but that song more than anything has really given me the organic growth in my city. That’s what really helped me reach the kids here.

One of my biggest goals is to inspire kids. That song really resonated with kids in high school. That was my first stepping stone into the city and led to my first show. When I first came to the city, we sold out a show of 800 people and everybody knew the lyrics to that specific song. It helped me locally.

How did you get your name?

The name Boslen came from my family. I’m the youngest in my family. I have 3 sisters and a brother, they’d always say “Boslen, take out the trash. Boslen do this, Boslen do that.” I literally ran with it, it felt natural.

“QUARTZ” is out now. How are you feeling?

I’m excited, “QUARTZ” is doing well. I’m really happy because it’s bringing some more excitement to the team and the city again. We’ve dropped 4 other tracks leading into this project, “QUARTZ” was definitely on the wild side. It gave Natasha and I, my creative director, the opportunity to really have fun with the visuals, with the mood, the whole creative around that song. I’m really happy that it’s out.

 What were you going through recording that one and how did Charmaine get on that record? I know she’s from around your way right?

She’s from Toronto. [laughs] There’s 12 songs on DUSK to DAWN, but this song more than any I really approached as a freestyle. I’d go into the studio, me and my executive producer Ozcan Justsayin went through a bunch of samples that day. He played the beat, he started building it. I had more of an A$AP Rocky, A$AP Mob-type mentality, almost like a locals only type of mentality. That’s how I approached it because every other song, we’d spend hours trying to figure out the pre-chorus or chords. This one, I really wanted to have fun. It turned out pretty good. With Charmaine, I was looking for a female artist for this project. She killed it! In my mind initially though I thought it was going to be a singer, someone like Savannah Re.

I just ran into her, crazy!

She’s insane. She’s going crazy. Savannah Re and Jessie Reyez have beautiful voices. They’re very respected not only in the industry, but by people in general. I really love their music. I thought I’d always go through the lane of putting a female artist on the album. I have a song on the album that’s specifically for female empowerment, so I really wanted a girl on that.

Ozcan brought up the idea of “Why don’t we put Charmaine?” I’d never heard of her before, I started listening to some of her songs. I really got excited about her energy, that whole persona and the whole mood of everything. It’s so strong for a female to do that. It’d fit perfectly on a song like “QUARTZ” where it’s really in your face, loud, and exciting.

How was it shooting the video in your hometown? What was the best memory?

Having all my friends there, it was a good vibe. It was fun. Shooting it in the city more than anything, what I really wanted to represent and showcase: the style here, the fast-paced, the traffic and the mood. I had a lot of fun because there was no pressure. On the music videos for “DENY” or “TRIP,” I was really hands-on with the idea of making sure they’re connected. Making sure that every scene had a meaning. There’s foreshadowing, all this and all that. With “QUARTZ” I really wanted to have fun with my friends and let Natasha go crazy.

How important are visuals to you?

It’s everything. Being a 360 artist is more important than anything, especially with this new generation of artists. If it’s not that, then you’ve gotta find something that separates you from all these other artists trying to make it. Visuals, stage performances, taking your time on songs that resonate. Like a Kid Cudi or a Travis, it’ll last for not just over the year or be on Top 10 for over a month.

That’s what really resonates with some of these kids because I came from a place like Chilliwack that’s very isolated. There’s poverty and there’s reserves, kids like that don’t have a voice really. Coming through as a man like myself that’s Jamaican and indigenous, it’s very powerful to do anything I can to make sure all the littlest things are at least thought of. I can’t take the full credit, it’s obviously going to my team. It’s really important.

How was linking with Tyla Yaweh on “DENY”? How did that happen?

It was good. It was fun, he’s a great guy. “DENY” is one of my favorite studio sessions I’d ever had. We were pitching that song to a couple of different artists. I’d always been a fan of Tyla Yaweh, Post Malone and that whole group. They move so well in the music industry. With his songs specifically, that heartbreak, that mood that he can do so naturally. He’d be a perfect fit for it. We sent it to him, he fell in love with the track. Naturally, we built that vibe. Now, we play Call of Duty sometimes. He’s a great guy.

I know Tyla parties. Wildest memory from that video shoot?

(laughs) It was a 2-day shoot, we got this house like way outside Vancouver. This mansion, we had to sleep there overnight. It was everybody on the crew, you’re meeting these faces for the first time. On set everybody has their masks on like “Oh, it’s business mode,” but really during the night we got to chill. I really liked those moments because I got to know the director more. I got to know the DP more, so I really enjoyed that.

What’re you most excited for with DUSK to DAWN coming out?

People really understanding who Corbin is as much as Boslen. On this album more than anything, I was the most vulnerable I’ve ever been on a project. I really took risks and I really took my time. With this project in a year’s time, that was one of our main goals for me and justsayin: make sure it’s a timeless piece. It can be a cinematic experience for anybody to resonate with. You can have a song that you can sit there and think about, but the very next song you can rage out like at a festival or on a stage. I’m really excited for people to unwrap the world of DUSK to DAWN and get to really see what I’ve been working on the past year.

What songs mean the most to you and why would you say?

Probably the outro. An average listener, a lot of people aren’t going to listen to the outro because it’s a 3 minute song and it’s a beat switch. That song really represents the album most to me. It’s called DAWN because it’s a light side and a dark side and that’s how we built this album. From light and dark, vulnerability and self-empowerment.

Really why I resonate with this so much is because it taps into a shadow theory. When we’re developing the concept of this album, we built on a philosopher named Carl Jung and his idea of what a shadow theory is — as in the projection of your vulnerability or your envy over another person. I’m really excited for that song and “FORSAKEN” as well. We’ve got a song on there with Vory, I’m really excited for people to hear.

How did that collab with Vory happen?

He’s a great guy. I made the song that day. I reached out to him because my friend showed me the song “You Got It” and I fell in love with it. I DM’d him and said “Yo I love your sound, I love everything you’re doing.” He got back to me, we built up a conversation. I sent him that song, I asked him if he’d hop on it and he said “yeah.” We built it from there.

3 things you need in the studio at all times?

A water, I need loud speakers, and I need it to be black. Pitch black, to vibe out. I’m so used to recording in the dark, so those few necessities.

What goals do you have for yourself?

My main goal is to put on for Vancouver. There’s so much talent out here, so many kids that an opportunity is bound to happen for one of them. I’m not saying I’m going to be the person to do it, but I know how badly I want it. That’s my main goal, to put on for the kids here and really shine a light on the city.

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