Some of you may already be familiar with Bo Bruce, one of the finalists in last year’s Orange UnsignedAct competition in 2008. She drew our attention with beautifully breathy vocals and received favourable comparisons to Cranberries vocalist Dolores O’Riordan along the way.
I used to think of Bo in terms of that year’s X Factor favourite, Diana Vickers. Both had similar vocal styles. But where 17 year old Diana was taking the mainstream route to fame, Bo Bruce clearly wanted to be in control of her own fortunes. Unlike Vickers (who quickly caved after a bout of laryngitis), Bo had more of an edge, both in her voice and in her attitude.
Refreshingly unguarded about her turbulent formative years, Bo left home at the earliest opportunity and “nearly gave way to a quickly spiraling mess of drugs and alcohol”. Trying to kick her various demons, Bo was in and out of treatment and psychiatric centers, culminating in a trip to a residential center in the Arizona desert.
These experiences have worked their way into her songwriting – Fighting Arizona, a self-penned track that was featured during her appearances on Orange unsignedAct, is inspired by a friend, a recovering addict who had almost been “lost to the US federal prison system”.
And that’s what I like about Bo – she’s not pumping out preppy teenage cliches, the stuff she’s singing about is real life, and that comes across in her lyrics and in her performance.
After Orange unsignedAct ended, Bo received offers of record deals, but walked away from them, deciding instead to focus on her songwriting in the meantime. It’s not the last we’ve heard from Miss Bruce though – she’s armed with an album’s worth of new material and plans to release an EP on her own label Sonoran Music in February of this year.
If you want to get a taster of more of Bo’s music, she’s very well represented on the web – start at her homepage for all the usual information and some tunes. Become her fan on Facebook or friend her on MySpace. You can occassionally find Bo on Twitter, and for videos check out her Muzu.tv page. Phew…
A personal recommendation for you – visit the Bo Bruce Facebook page and listen to The Siren Song – it’s my personal favourite. But here’s a final video to play you out…
Remember, this post is part of our New Music Showcase on Unreality Shout – if you like this artist, spread the word to your friends, family and other random individuals who love independent music!