New Wave
adonis bosso

How This Model Went from The Dolce & Gabbana Runway to Your Spotify Playlist

Adonis Bosso has already proven himself in fashion. Now, he's about to do the same in music.

By: Leah Faye Cooper
Photography: Malik Alain

Much of the appeal of fashion month is seeing and celebrating breakout talent, like the designer whose first collection impresses Tim Blanks, the nail artist who suddenly becomes the industry’s favorite manicurist, or, in the case of Adonis Bosso, the model who commands a room with not only his face and stature, but his voice, too.

Born in Ivory Coast, Bosso was raised in Montreal and fell into modeling when he visited a former girlfriend’s agency and was signed on the spot. It was a stark departure from what the oldest of five had envisioned for himself. “I studied special care counseling to work with people who have physical and mental disabilities,” he says, adding that he has a brother with autism. Wearing an oversized blue hoodie and punctuating his words with hand gestures and an occasional laugh, Bosso is at Coveteur HQ in NYC, reflecting on the Telfar show during New York Fashion Week, in which he modeled and sang. “Singing has always made me feel good,” he says. “I wake up singing. I sing in the shower. I sing everywhere.”

Having modeled for the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Public School, and Todd Snyder, we’ll certainly continue to see Bosso. And with much of his attention now attuned to his singing career (he’s already recorded a single, “Jungle,” and been in the studio with Theophilus London), we’ll be listening to him as well.

Ahead, more on Bosso's Canadian roots, trademark piercing, and foray into music, plus behind-the-scenes shots from the Telfar show.

“Montreal is a very multicultural city. You have Asians, you have people from the Caribbean [and] Africa, Indians, Southeast Asians—everything. It’s really nice. We still have the influence of America, but we speak French, [so] there’s a big French influence, too. But you can still keep your culture. It’s a beautiful thing.”

“[Being the oldest] I always had to be the good one. I’m still a big kid, so it’s hard for me to be authoritative [laughs].”

“I [always] wanted to work with kids. Like I said, I’m a big kid too. It’s just fun. You get to goof around, you get to wild out.”

“I was [in NYC] for five years. I did the whole roommate thing, and I was like, ‘OK, I’m established as a model, let’s find a place for myself.’ I was looking left and right, and I was like, ‘Woah—this is expensive [laughs].’ Then I went to L.A. for a week for vacation, and I really got the L.A. experience. I was like, ‘I’m never leaving.’ It’s a little more me. I feel like the grime in New York is cool—I grew up in Montreal—[but] I’m an African boy, so I don’t really like cold [laughs]. Every day you wake up [in L.A.] and it’s a beautiful day. It’s more my vibe.”

“Working for Dolce & Gabbana was really fun. We went to Napoli and shot in the street. They’re celebrities in Italy, Domenico and Stefano, so everyone was mobbing around, taking selfies with them. That was a beautiful experience. And I just shot in Cuba for L’Officiel Hommes. Every time I travel, I get to discover something new, and that’s really what sticks out to me. I’ve been to South Africa, I’ve been to Gaborone, I’ve been to Egypt... That’s the best part of the job.”

“Growing up I never dreamed big—everything seemed so out of reach. If modeling [hadn’t] come about, I probably wouldn’t have started doing music; I would’ve just stayed in Montreal doing my nine-to-five. But the fact that I was able to model and travel, and to learn about myself and the world—the things I like and the things I dislike—it’s brought me to this place where I’m comfortable making art.”

“The first time I went to the studio by myself, I wrote two songs, one in French and one in English. The first one I laid down was a poem I wrote called ‘Galaxy’ that says, ‘Water is on the other side of the galaxy / I could hear you scream loud and clear my name.’ The same day, I wrote my first single, ‘Jungle.’ That was the beginning. I worked with producer Harlan Silverman. We were like, ‘Oh shit, we made two great songs the first time we were in the studio. Let’s keep doing this.’”

“The last time I performed was in high school. There was a talent show, and me and this girl performed ‘My Boo.’ She was Alicia Keys and I was Usher.”

“[The Telfar show] was very fitting, since I’ve modeled all this time and they did this show about music. Telfar said backstage, ‘You really showed people what our collection sounds like.’ It was a blessing for me to be a part of that merging of two worlds—music and fashion. I’m a mix of music and fashion—or at least I’m trying to be. It was such an honor.”

“I got my septum piercing in 2011 in Paris. It was the first time I went to Paris on my own. I feel like the septum made me, [because] after I got it is when I got signed in New York. It’s kind of my trademark at this point.”

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