Premiere: BOI steps forward as a new light in pop with debut EP, Look At Me Now
With her debut EP, the collaborative Sydney musician occupies a space for herself in the spotlight, and smashes it out the park.
Even if you're not too familiar with the name, chances are you've come across a song with Sydney-based musician BOI involved with it. The Newcastle-raised musician has blessed tracks by L D R U, Godlands, Tora and Alice Ivy with her presence as a collaborator and guest vocalist, further working with a bunch of other esteemed musicians as a songwriter and session vocalist, whether it be Alex Lahey or The Chainsmokers (a drastically different pair of artists, but one that highlights BOI's versatility).
In addition to all that, she's also been putting out some high-tier pop in her own right, too. In the last twelve months, a scattered release of singles have captured BOI at her most versatile and exciting, from songs like Imaginary Boys and Sick of Loving You right through to this year's Fairytale, which moves with a commanding and ear-catching presence expected by acts like Halsey, but a little more raw and organic (in the best of the ways) as she almost teeters on the edge of Charli XCX-esque experimentation.
Today, we're premiering her debut EP a day early, with the five-track release showing the many facets of the musician and her bright-shining versatility and range. There's a versatility in Look At Me Now which makes BOI a hard artist to pin down; the musician swerving through sounds and textures at the drop of the hat, but succeeding in making every single one of those sounds distinctly hers.
Imaginary Boys, for example, moves with an anthemic pace that feels destined to be sung across festival speakers; Sick Of Loving You takes a dive into the theatrics of art-pop, plucking melodies and clocking rhythms forming a backbone for BOI's soaring vocal to take centre stage: "You're not the boss of me!" she yells, doubling down on the commanding presence that shines across of much of her work. Look At Me Now - in a somewhat unexpected turn - takes the clunky trap-pop sound of a few years back and modernises it for a 2020 listener, bringing the energy characteristic of the sound and mixing it with a hip-hop twist that opens a new pathway for BOI - a genre-bending chameleon capable of doing anything.
"I love the cheekiness of the lyrics and the dirty, gritty production," she says on Don't Look At Me Now, which really shows BOI at her most adventurous and experimental. "I hope it encourages people to know that they don’t need anyone else to make it happen, and that you are your own force, a weapon of greatness and reclaiming your inner warrior. In some ways it is also my way of sticking my middle finger up to anyone who ever said I wouldn’t make it this far or thought I didn’t have the guts to try."
Dive into the track a day early (it's released to the rest of the world tomorrow, pre-save the track here), and keep an eye on BOI as she blossoms into something brilliant over the next few years - with the success of people like Halsey in recent years, it's clear this one is something special.
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