Hugh Masekela & Boss Selection’s Soulful Collaboration ‘One Of These Days’
Boss Selection is the California-based producer & songwriter Sunny Levine. Previous work with the likes of Pete Yorn, Scarlett Johansson, and Ariel Pink have cemented his reputation as a producer-to-watch. Levine is currently preparing the release of Volume One, a 13-track album that explores the different shades of Boss Selection’s soulful beatwork through multiple collaborations.
For “One Of These Days,” Boss Selection enlists South African legend Hugh Masekela to lay down some warm vocals over a hypnotizing track built on piano and synthesizer flourishes.
“Hugh is, and always has been, ‘Uncle Hugh’ to me—he and my dad have been friends since 1964,” Boss Selection explains over e-mail.
“I so badly wanted him on this record but knew it would be a bit tricky because of his touring schedule. I then found out he was going to be in town and started to get something ready. My dad had some piano chords that he sent me over an email, I took them, flipped them and made it into a cool little track.”
“I then figure that I wouldn’t really have the time to sit and write a tune with Hugh so I got into character and tried to write my very best “fake Hugh lyrics” and phrased it how I thought he would sing it. I sang it in his voice (and accent) to act as a demo. Hugh, with my Dad, met me at the studio the next day and he thought he was just gonna play a little trumpet and be done. But, then I told him I wrote the whole song for him to sing. I played it for him and he smiled all big and mischievous, “Sunny, you stole my shit. I’m gonna sing the shit out of it, then I’m gonna sue you…”
“He did sing the shit out of it, played some horns, and was out of there in an hour and a half. I got lucky that the tune worked so well. It’s one of those moments where you feel like you know what you’re doing, and you’re in full command of your abilities. But let’s not get carried away. I just got lucky that day.”
Boss Selection’s Volume One, featuring collaborations with Rashida Jones, Brenda Russell, Orelia, Pete Yorn and more, will be out tomorrow.
Photograph by Abby Ross