( ENSPIRE Music ) Fiery Single Begs the Question: ‘Is Country Music Ready for Another Black Queer Artist?’
ENSPIRE Contributor: Taylor Groft
Songwriter and recording artist Boyò (pronounced BOY-yo) has released a fiery new single entitled, “BAD,” a rebellious pop-country song that explores the theme of personal power. The song is a follow-up to previous singles Bittersweet and In My Feelings, the latter of which is still garnering thousands of streams on Spotify’s dance playlist. “BAD” is available for purchase and streaming on all digital service providers. The bold, guitar-driven song marks new territory for Boyò as he embarks on a country-influenced sound. The genre, guarded against people of color and the LGBTQ community, sees an unlikely newcomer exploring its territory. Similar to the breakthrough of newcomer Lil Nas X, whose infamous track, “Old Town Road,” has certified as 10x platinum.
“’BAD’ was written when I had just moved to New York City,” said Boyò. “I showed the demo around to several producers and I was told not to record it because it ‘didn’t fit my sound.’ However, when I showed the demo to Black peers of mine, the feedback was much more positive. I knew that there was a bigger war going on than just a few white producers telling me a song was not meant for me. It was a war on other ethnicities by gatekeeping country music. Ironically, ‘BAD’ is a song about not needing acceptance, and so it just made sense to embrace this record, especially in a time like this. Black voices, art, and lives still matter.”
In what aspects do you see yourself compared to Lil Nas X?
We’re both black, young creatives who are a part of the LGBTQ community and I think his success has been trailblazing. My hope is that it opens more doors for people like myself in the industry.
What other types of music have you worked with before starting to make country music? How do these types of music compare?
I’ve primarily worked on pop music and I think those elements are at the core of everything I create. “BAD,” to me, is a pop record with country influences. I think pop music is so broad and it thrives on being blended with other sounds.
What kind of music do you connect to the most as a Black queer artist? In what ways do you connect to that music and why?
I connect to a lot of alternative hip-hop and pop music because they served as a great source of strength and escape for me during high school. I came across several LGBTQ rappers during that time and admired pop music artists like Rihanna and TLC, whose songs helped soundtrack my childhood.