The musician, model and co-parent with Slick Woods talks about the power of poetry, his artistic beginnings and fashion's new guard.
While the term gets bandied around a lot these days, Ivorian-Canadian musician and model Adonis Bosso is a true polymath. With a high-powered career in the fashion world seeing him model for the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Versace, Tom Ford and Yeezy, his dulcet tones have won him an ever-growing fanbase with his lyrical brand of alt RnB. With a cool 197,000 Instagram followers, he amplifies the messages of positivity and love which course through his work. Some of his highest-performing posts feature his son Saphir, a child he co-parents with Fenty muse Slick Woods.
Below, we catch up with Adonis to talk about the inspirations behind his music, the mark he left on the modelling world and being a father during the pandemic.
How has lockdown been for you so far?
It was a rollercoaster. At the beginning of it all I was in Los Angeles with my son. We then left to Toronto to be with my family and wait things out and I got stay in and bond with my son and my family. I was also able to discover Toronto like never before, I saw the city at a stand still and it gave me time to develop new skills. I was able to take time to focus on playing guitar and learning how to record myself. When things opened back up we came back to Los Angeles. There are a few seeds that I was able to plant during my time in Canada that I can now come back and cultivate.
When did you first get into music?
Music was always a part of me. I grew up with music from Côte d’Ivoire, France , America and Quebec. I used to put on shows for my mom and my aunt and in my teen years I was in a rap and R&B band — we wanted to blow up on YouTube. Writing was also one of my loves, I used to write the best creative stories and romantic poems. I was also the kid that had all the unreleased music, the latest music blog and all. My parents let me be creative so I did plays and different kinds of visual art. Around 17 someone crushed my dreams of music so I kind of let it become a dream I would never achieve but 10 years later someone heard me sing and kind of tricked me into recording more. One thing lead to another, I kept recording, turned some of my poems into songs and got a record deal.
Having initially written poetry before songs, would you say your songs have a poetic flair?
I think words are a beautiful thing. They are so powerful — you can create and express emotions and atmosphere with the things we say and the way we say them. You can make someone fall in love with words, you can make someone smile and laugh. You can also break someone’s spirit with words. Create fear, anxiety, anger or bring tears to one’s eyes. Words cast spells. I think the expression of life through art in any shape is poetic.
What do you want to express with your music?
I think love is the only message. There are so many things that divide us already. I don’t want to add to that, I just want people to feel good and to see my perspective on love and how I translate this life experience through every art form I touch.
Who or what inspires you?
Life has been my greatest teacher and my greatest inspiration. The places I have been, the people I have met, the people I have loved, my family, my heritage. Life is the inspiration. The battles I have won and the defeats I have had to face have all taught me lessons that have made me who I am.
As a model, what have been some of your biggest achievements so far?
I like to believe my biggest achievement is perseverance. The representation of people like me in the fashion industry has significantly grown since the beginning of my career. [Back then] we had a nice brotherhood of all the Black models trying to make it and we all helped each other out. We just wanted to show the world how dope we were.
What kind of changes would you like to see in the fashion industry?
I think the change is happening: the old rules and the old structures don’t work or apply anymore. Internet and technology mean the costumer dictates everything. People wear what they want and what they want to support. It’s a time for real creativity.
You’re also a father, how do you juggle your career with parenting?
It’s been a beautiful experience. I grew a lot as a person and my son brings me a new drive for life. I have this feeling now that no matter what, I can’t give up. I have a whole legacy.
How has it been raising a child during a pandemic?
It was a bit scary at first. The parks were closed and kids couldn’t play together. I had to be creative and find different ways to keep him entertained and make sure that he wasn’t missing anything in his development. I am lucky to have my family’s help and support.
What’s next for you?
I recently just start a job as a creative director at a Black-owned luxury brand. You will soon see the collection we are working on mixed with some new music and plenty of projects that I can’t wait to share with the world.
Listen to Adonis’s music project here.
7 April 2021