Street-smart, self-assured and hotly tipped as a name to watch on the R'n'B circuit, 19 year old Boniface is a bona fide talent who sings, writes, produces and flexes enough moves to raise the temperature every time. With his fierce beats and 'cheeky' attitude, multi-talented Boniface is set to become the UK's fastest-rising star.
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Boniface's musical career started earlier than most. Hailing from the exotic Seychelles, he was just three years old when he released his debut album in his native land. He instantly became a star, appearing on TV shows and putting on numerous concerts. "I've loved music for as long as I can remember, my mum says I was even kicking to the rhythm when I was still in my embryonic state!" Boniface laughs.
Boniface's dad and brother were also famous singer/songwriter's in the Seychelles, although as Boniface explains, the political coup in the 80's meant that their music wasn't heard for a number of years: "The government took over and stopped the elections and everything, and my dad was against the government so they banned our music. They even banned mine even though I was only three years old. My dad was eventually locked up without trial for six months just for writing songs. The government didn't like him having so much power because he was so popular. It was only last year that all of our songs started getting played again. I've got new found fame in the Seychelles, although I sound a bit different on my earlier albums to how I do now!"
Due to the political climate in the Seychelles, Boniface and his family relocated to England when he was five years old and settled in South West London. It was at his secondary school that his interest in music became more focused and serious, and it was this that helped to keep him on the straight and narrow. "My school has been cleaned up now, but it was really bad when I was there, it was really rough. But even though it was dodgy, there were still some really good things about it. There was a studio there and in year eight I made good friends with the engineer and music teacher and started to learn how it all worked. Luckily that kind of kept me out of trouble and allowed me to do what I loved at the same time".
He also started work on his own musical projects at home. With his tastes acquired from a diet of Michael Jackson, Boyz II Men, Usher, Babyface and Lionel Ritchie, it came as no surprise that at just 13 he was using his brothers' recording equipment to write and produce songs hoping to follow in their footsteps.
Needless to say, he soon had a demo worthy of a listen. "It was my brothers equipment that enabled me to get my record deal," he smiles. "My demo was such bad quality, but it got me heard so I will always be grateful".
It was a friendship at school that saw talent meet with talent and a fateful collaboration unfolded. "I went to school with Mr.Shabz (So Solid Crew) and last year he called me up out of the blue and asked me if I wanted to work with him. I gave him a demo, he passed it on to his management and they said they were interested in working with me. Mr.Shabz and I then made a tune together, and last June my managers started shopping my demos to different record companies and things went crazy."
A genuine bidding war followed from record companies desperate to sign Boniface, and he eventually signed to Columbia records in September 2001 because, as he says: 'They gave me a lot of creative control, and that was the most important thing to me.' He started work on his debut album at the end of 2001, and so far he has worked with the likes of Adam F (Redman, MOP, LL Cool J, De La Soul), Punch (P.Diddy, Ms.Dynamite), Peter Biker (Usher, Toni Braxton) and Mr.Shabz (So Solid Crew).
"I've been working with some brilliant people on the album and I've learnt so much. I knew that I had so many songs in my head and down on paper that I could probably write the album on my own, but I didn't want to close my mind. I wanted to see what people had to offer, and I was offered some fantastic stuff. It's so good because people have different ways of looking at things and they all brought something new and brilliant to the project. I am so excited that things have gone so amazingly well. I've always been bought up to believe in dedication, determination, belief and practice. Now it all feels likes it's paid off".
Speaking about his debut single 'Cheeky', an addictive track which will undoubtedly propel him to the top of the charts, Boniface says: "The theme of 'Cheeky' is that 'I'm too hot too handle and you can't deny that'. Y'know it's that thing you do when you're trying to impress someone of the opposite sex - you walk the fine line separating a cocky attitude and confidence... it's tongue-in-cheek but inspired by what I see, hear and do! We all do it, but I have a laugh at myself."
'Cheeky' is proof of Boniface's creative song writing abilities whilst also providing the perfect introduction to his unique style. It overflows with rich textured arrangements, contagious melodies, vocal acrobatics and lyrics that all ages can relate to.
"I worked with Adam F on Cheeky, who has already worked with a lot of American hip hop artists so it's got that phat sound," Boniface says. "'Cheeky' also features a rapper called Lady Luck who has previously worked with Missy Elliott, she's about to make her mark in a huge way. She's funny, cool, and I'm so pleased I got to work with her".
Boniface has already been seeding the ground with his street single 'You Got It All', courtesy of New York producer Punch (who has recently worked with P Diddy and other East Coast heavyweights). It's already creating a buzz being dropped into the mix by the hottest DJs up and down the country.
If you want to get up close and personal with Boniface you've got to know his music. The lyrics of his tracks will have girls melting at the knees and for the guys Boniface's rhymes are something they'll not only be down with but also wanna get down to!
And there's no doubting it will. Boniface creatin' a bona fide sound....
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