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Boa (1)


Some of you may know Boa through hosting the Wob Deep show on Reform Radio. However, outside of the studio, she is an acclaimed rapper, singer, and MC. Since her debut single release in 2021, Boa has developed a sound rooted in a delicious combination of hip-hop, rock, dubstep and 140bpm. She recently joined forces with composer and producer ALTOSOUNDS to create her debut album, ‘Bodacious‘. Since its release, tracks on ‘Bodacious’ have been featured on the likes of BBC 1Xtra and BBC Introducing, coining Boa as one to watch, not only in the local scene, but on the wider dubstep scene, too. To celebrate her debut record, we caught up with the artist for an exclusive interview in which she shares her honest journey, from writer to rapper, and dives deeper into the messages behind her music. 

A blonde female looking up, in front of a waterfall holding a fan.

Introduce your name, pronouns and a little bit about yourself.

I go by the name of Boa and my pronouns are she/her. I’m a self-taught MC, rapper, DJ and recording artist born in Manchester and raised in Cheshire. I generally DJ and vocalise to 140 and dubstep music, but I often dabble in hip hop. My style is old school and heavily influenced by the East coast underground. However, I’m mostly known for my passionate and aggy MCing over dubstep and grime in various venues or on radio shows. I pride myself on my ability to make music uniquely across a plethora of genres. I believe in remaining true and authentic, whilst creating to align with the plans for my musical legacy.

Describe your music in three words to someone who’s never heard it before.

Unique, skilful, and high attention to detail.

Where did your journey with music begin?

I used to be a bit of a festival rat and I was offered the opportunity to spit bars with Akil from Jurassic 5, but at the time, I only had poetry under my belt – no bars. After that night, I started writing bars at the festival campsite. I was inspired by Manchester artists like T-man and Strategy. When I was on nights out I used to think ‘I can do that’.

I originally MCed with the mighty Union Sound System around 5 or 6 years ago. The sound had just started, but the lads were so encouraging of me on the mic. They were the family I needed. We played warehouses and house parties, and eventually made it into venues. I formed an alliance with MC Contra & DJ Waxi, named ‘Wob Deep’. The lads have now moved onto new things, so I run Wob Deep solo and host its rising show on Reform.

During my journey, I was searching to network with new people and stumbled upon Reform Radio’s call out for female rappers. We formed HERchester with OneDa and it was here that I met people I am still close with to this day. Growing up in the countryside around animals and few people, this was very new to me. Reform showed me kindness from people of all walks of life. It was mind-opening and I’ll always go hard to represent the station.

After supporting an amazing performance from one of my favourites, Renee Stormz, with HERchester’s Queen Tamika in Manchester, I met ALTOSOUNDS. I thought the production on his song ‘Manny’ was mega. Following this, we both got to work. We joined Soundcamp at Reform, which got interrupted by the Covid-19 lockdown. Still, we managed to drop a few bangers like ‘Astrals’, ‘Windpipe’ & ‘Breach’. Now, we have a gorgeous album together with music videos and a whole aesthetic. I’m so proud of my work, considering I’ve battled with mental and physical health problems most of my life. I can’t wait to make more music.

Boa's album artwork which is a graphic design of Boa about to race two cheetahs in the jungle, with ALTOSOUNDS sat in a tree with two monkeys. The graphic features a green spikey font saying 'BODACIOUS' on it, alongside a Parental Advisory symbol and the artist's names.

Tell us about your debut album ‘Bodacious’ – how did it come about and what inspired its creation?

‘Bodacious’ was already written in my subconscious. The hard part was putting it into something digestible visually and sonically. When I closed my eyes, I could see it. Luckily ALTO saw the vision too, and helped me bring it to life. He spent a lot of time showing me beats or making new ones with me, and recording or filming music videos I had written and planned. We definitely were making some magic and I’m forever grateful for that help.

The cover art reflects a race against nature, through the difficulty of self expression, but to remain as a peaceful competitor to the system so things have room to breath. The album is playful, unique, and a great listen for all types of people. It conceptualises the motivation to chase your muse, uplift with lyrical meaning and shock with wordplay and tone. Most of all, I love how the album gives space for your inner child to be nourished. I personally feel it’s in a league of its own and summarises Boa breaking out of her chains.

You collaborated with numerous creatives to make ‘Bodacious’, did you enjoy this process and is collaboration important to you in your creative process?

During the making of ‘Bodacious’ I learnt more than I ever have about music and my voice. I feel so lucky to have collaborated with some of the fiercest artists in the North. I must mention the gruelling hours ALTOSOUNDS and I spent perfecting every harmony, intro, outro, backing and instruments. It wasn’t easy; blood, sweat and tears went into this project, especially with the music videos and the heartbreaking loss of our friend who was involved, Mauro Camal (rest in power king, we’ve dedicated this album to you). It took us time to get all these moving pieces right before we knew it was ready, but I believe we have something special in our hands because of that extra time we took tending to the smaller details. 

Sahala is one of my favourite singers. Her voice is something else! It was an honour for my first female collaboration to be with such a special soul. There were many others that played a part in moulding these pieces, offering an ear or just generally supporting us. I am grateful for the transferrable skills I learnt with this group of artists – love to them all. 

Where do you find inspiration for your musical practice and aesthetic? 

Honestly, ALTO’s beats are an inspiration in their own right, but my stage presence and writing skills are definitely passed down from my Dad. He is still in his band, Theives 40 Theives. They used to rock up and down the country and I know their music word for word. His legacy and music is truly epic. My bravery comes from my adoring Mum. She taught me so much about happiness and letting go. Also, she helped me get more comfortable later in life when I opened up to her about my mental health. Shout out to the original creators.

My big brother, a badass bass player, got me into prog metal which is 2 strokes away from dubstep, in my opinion. The first time I heard ‘Rubber Chicken’ by Caspa or ‘Go Ask Alice’ by The Widdler I knew dubstep was my genre. Dubstep as a UK movement was glorious. I loved the sound systems, the wobbles and the partying. I spent many evenings with DJ Waxi as he taught me how to mix vinyl with his endless selection of 140. My love for DJing deepened because of him, but I’m more of a digital DJ now.

I also loved the voices of Jamakabi, Irah and Killa P – so deep and fiery – and I definitely lowered my voice when MCing because of these legends. I then discovered grime dons like D Double E, JME, Bugsey and drill’s Unknown T that helped with my wordplay. When I was growing up, all I heard was dad rock and ABBA, so I got well stuck into new genres.

The reason why I’m so diverse is because of the amount of different sounding artists that inspire me, including Renee Stormz, Levelz, The Mouse Outfit, Lin Que, Das EFX, Call O’ Da Wild, and more.

A female dressed in a red gingham sun hat and brown crochet top, holding her hat and looking up towards a bank of greenery.

What’s one track from the album you’d recommend us to listen to?

This is a hard one because I think most of them slap. However, you have got to give ‘Wavedtime’ a go. It’s got groove and finesse. Mine and Sahala’s vocals together are like bread and butter. Meanwhile, mine and ALTO’s production brings horns and sax, elevating the levels majorly. I flow on it like a rip curl to a surf boarder, and there’s plenty of room to dance with the track’s wordplay. I’ve also got to recommend ‘Windpipe’ and ‘Renegade’ simply for their creativity and originality alone. You’ve got to big up your own music!

How did you know the album was finally finished and ready to put out there?

After various people had a go mixing it, ALTOSOUNDS took the reigns and did an amazing job mastering it too. It finally sounded right. I ran a tight ship on how particular I was about everything on the album. We recorded it in a loft room; no big studio and no professional team behind us. This speaks volumes for myself and ALTO’s listening abilities. The cover art, the concept and the music videos all came together naturally. 

Where can we find you and where can we listen to ‘Bodacious’ ?

Listen to ‘Bodacious’ on Bandcamp and Spotify. You can find us on Instagram – @boa.thewobmudda, @altosounds, @alto.optics and @sahalalarnyoh. The music videos for ‘Windpipe’ and ‘Jungle Queen’ are awesome too. Find them here.

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