Atlanta's Brittany Bosco (now performing simply as Bosco) was the warm-up act last Saturday for Mayer Hawthorne, and she truly did warm the crowd up with an energetic mix of rock, soul and hip-hop, including a terrific cover of the classic Summertime. She overcame my initial resistance (the resistance being solely due to the fact that she was on stage and wasn't Mayer Hawthorne), and by the end of her set I was applauding loudly and calling for an encore (which she contractually wasn't allowed to do).
I appreciated that her band included both a sax and a trumpet, rather than relying on synthesized horns. She's a Savannah transplant, ironically having come to Atlanta to attend Savannah College of Art and Design (it has an Atlanta campus), and her art-school training can be seen in her video, which interestingly opens with a sample from Steve Reich's 1966 composition, Come Out. Come Out was one of the first musical pieces to be composed solely of a single looped tape sample. Along with It's Gonna Rain, Reich arguably invented the art of sampling. Is it too much of a stretch to call him the god-father of hip-hop?
The fine jazz stylings that follow the Reich introduction don't even hint at her on-stage intensity Saturday night. Her recordings are great, and if you're so inclined, you can (legally) download her album Spectrum 2.0 for free here, but on stage, she's a force of nature. I'll gladly spread the word about anyone who samples Steve Reich, but Atlanta's Bosco is going to be a star someday without or without a shout out on some old Buddhist's blog.
Philadelphia's lovely Nikki Jean, the second act of the night, is another obvious rising star. While she didn't have the ferocious intensity of Bosco before her, she's a great singer in her own right and has collaborated with rapper Lupe Fiasco, appearing in his video Hip Hop Saved My Life. She's currently touring with Mayer Hawthorne and has appeared in a least one motion picture. She's been signed by Columbia Records and the label's been sending her across the country to record collaborations with veteran songwriters like Carly Simon, Burt Bacharach and others, a move usually reserved for established stars in the later years of their career. I'm sure I'll be seeing her album in a Starbucks soon.