Featured image taken by Cruz Resendiz for the Five Four campaign.
On his way to catch a flight to New York City, Canadian-raised international supermodel Adonis Bosso calls me to chat about the release of his first independent single, “Jungle.”
He describes the song as social commentary on life, as the 27-year-old has experienced it. “I feel like life is a jungle. It’s kind of about my time in New York, trying to make it, trying to make a name for myself,” Bosso says.
Bosso has taken on creative management in the form of Chief Ugo Mozie – a well-respected creative manager and designer, based in Los Angeles. Mozie, best known for his work in Sex and the City 2, Dateline NBC and the 51st Grammy Awards, has worked with industry tastemakers like Beyoncé and Justin Bieber. The music video was released alongside Mozie’s Capsule Collection with Five Four.
In an email exchange, Mozie explains that he and Bosso were first introduced at Coachella in 2014. Mozie describes Bosso as “talented, rare, and inspiring.” Expressing similar admiration, Bosso says he considers Mozie a close friend. “Basically, Ugo heard me sing, and he had the money signs in his eyes,” Bosso says. “He was like, ‘You should move! It’s nice out here.’ I came, and I never left.” Mozie says, “Adonis’ vision for himself and the world were the biggest factors when I decided to manage him. He understands the concept of giving back and helping others. “
Bosso was born to the Ivory Coast, in West Africa, but he fell ill as an infant, and his parents moved to Montreal to seek better care for their child. His family ended up staying in Canada. When one of his brothers was diagnosed with a form of autism, Bosso developed a desire to help children with impairments. He even studied special care counselling at Vanier College and went on, with the help of his family, to open a rest centre for mentally and physically impaired children in Montreal. His family has since relocated to Toronto’s suburbs in hopes of opening more rest centres in Ontario. Bosso says he thoroughly enjoyed growing up in Montreal. “I grew up with friends from Jamaica, friends from the Philippines, from everywhere,” Bosso gleams. “Then modelling happened, so I moved to New York.”
Vivienne Westwood’s 2012 ready-to-wear show, in the midst of Milan Fashion Week, changed everything for the young model. Bosso was wearing a flower crown as he left the show with fellow models. They were quickly approached by streetstyle photographers. Vogue reports that a picture of Bosso, taken by Nick Wooster, went viral on Tumblr and put him on the fashion industry’s radar. “Modelling has taken me to places that I never would have been without it, so I’m always going to be so grateful for modelling being a part of my life,” Bosso remarks of his current livelihood. “It’s just a great adventure.”
He is now living in Los Angeles, collaborating with likeminded artists and friends, in order to start releasing singles regularly. “Throughout my career, I always wrote poems,” says Bosso. “Writing kind of helped me through my modelling experience – through the long journey of going around the world by yourself. During that journey, I think writing poems or recording songs on my voice notes (an iOS voice recording app) helped me go through the loneliness of it all.”
Bosso is one of many public figures who directly addresses the lack of ethnic diversity and representation in the fashion and entertainment industries: “Modelling is changing more and more. It was never really diverse, but in past years, we’re seeing more diversity on the runway and people are represented a lot more overall.” The young artist also acknowledges his responsibility as a role model: “In everything I do, I have to represent my African people, so it’s a big part of what I do. My heritage has a big impact on everything I do every day.”
“It pays off,” Bosso says, regarding businesses catering to diversity. Bosso cites Rihanna’s Fenty beauty line as a prime example of the profit one can make by catering to diversity. The beauty line managed to earn $72 million in media value (revenue earned through social platforms) after a single month of sales, according to Women’s Wear Daily (WWD). Bosso says he believes the brand’s popularity is due to Rihanna having colours for everyone. “That goes to show the power of including everybody.”
The young artist describes Los Angeles as “beautiful” and “inspiring,” but he says he hopes to eventually build a family elsewhere. “If it all goes well, I’ll probably have a big house in Africa, somewhere, and raise my kids there, and ride my horse every day.”
Bosso might be dreaming of greener pastures, but for the time being, he still has some work to do in the concrete jungle, where he is shooting for Barneys New York.