The Cat’s Pajamas We asked soul sensation Bosley Brown to shed the '60s slim-cut suit and stage persona—and reveal what really motivates him to get out of bed in the morning.


STYLE: Tell me something totally uncool about you.
Bosley Brown: I learned early on that I can’t try to look sexy. I did that for my driver’s license and I look like a serial killer.

What was “Baby Bosley” like at Gilman?
A wallflower.

I’m shocked. You’re such a showman.
I grew into it. I was pretty dramatic. Started in theater.

What was your early experience with music like?
Like a dream. I’d just lay in bed and listen to the radio. Make up little songs in my head. I swear to God I wrote a No. 1 hit when I was 8 years
old but I can’t remember it.

Was it a love song?
Yes, I’ve always been a ladies man.

How’d you discover Motown?
My mom had a bunch of cassettes. But my first love, honestly, was Elvis Presley.

Why Elvis?
“Jailhouse Rock.” I heard it when I was 5 or 6 and it was the coolest goddamn song. Still is. Put on some early Elvis and I can’t stop myself from moving.

Your stage name is a nod to James Brown—and the new album [“The Dirty Dogs Radio Show”] is super-funky. Where’d you get your soul, man?
My stock answer is “I’m only white on the outside.” But If I’m being honest with you, it’s a deep question. I’m a white kid from the suburbs. How do I convince people that I’m not just trying to reappropriate something to look cool or knock somebody off? How do you do it? Just being human, I guess. I have a heart inside of me like anybody else. I want to share my vision of the beauty in this world through my music.

I listen to you when I’m Spinning at the gym. The only other man with that claim to fame is Prince.
That’s amazing. What song does it for you?

“American Gurlz.” It just has such a dirty beat and makes me laugh.
That’s a perfect response. I had a great time playing that character—the misogynistic narcissist. Lampooning mainstream rap for fun.

What’s the best lyric you’ve ever written?
I wish more people listened to the words these days. I’d say the last song on this album called “Some Friends of Mine.” That song has no
characters; it’s about personal experience. It’s me taking off my mask at the end.

That one makes me cry.
Yeah, I really like the first verse before it gets too sad. “I’m a lowdown dirty dog and I ain’t proud of how I’ve been, but I can feel a change that’s coming somewhere deep from within. Like a clean wind makes me feel like I can start again.”

What’s it mean to you?
Everybody has suffering, heartache. Even as a young man I’ve been through some shit in my life. I can share that with people.

How much time do you spend obsessing over getting famous?
More than I should, maybe? I’ll see some crappy band on “The Tonight Show” and get envious. I wish I could say fuck the money. But this is what I want to do with my life. It’s not like I’m going to give up tomorrow and become an accountant.

Pretend I’m a record executive. Give me your best elevator speech.
Underneath this very stylish jacket, Jessica, I’m strapped with TNT. I’ll blow this elevator sky-high if you don’t sign my band right now. I could be bluffing, but do you really want to take that chance?

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