Anne Douris. Courtesy of Joseph Fuda.

After finding success as a visual artist, director, touring member of Hollerado, and the front woman for the alt-rock band Stella Ella Ola, it’s probably safe to say that Anne Douris is quickly becoming the queen of Toronto’s indie music scene. Now, she’s setting her sights on pop music.

Combining her unique voice with synth-infused sounds and melodies reminiscent of a Super Nintendo game, Anne Douris has taken on the pop persona Bossie. But with this new venture into the world of pop music comes some trepidation; a part of Anne, the part that’s used to working behind the scenes, is innately uncomfortable being centre stage — something she pokes fun at through the character she’s created with Bossie.

“There’s a duplicity to this Bossie character,” Douris tells me over coffee. “It’s basically my hyperbolized understanding of what pop is supposed to look like, and kind of going a couple steps too far.” In her debut video for “Meteor,” Bossie parades around a fake set trying to keep her cool while backup dancers, an aggressive bearded director, and a relentless amount of glitter proceed to overwhelm the pink haired pop star.

While the video parodies the absurdity of pop stardom, the music Douris is creating for Bossie is meant to be entirely genuine.

“I really don’t want to be like a joke band. That’s not the angle,” Douris is careful to explain. “It’s pop music, and every song that we have has a bit of colour to it… but they are sincere songs. They’re meant to be sincere and they’re about things I care about.”

Of course, Bossie marks a significant career change from the 26-year-old’s previous work behind the scenes. We talked about the type of claustrophobia a lot of twenty-something year olds face; that being so engulfed in the confines of their degree or job, they feel trapped within a single career path.

“I like to think that you don’t have to be,” Douris responds. “Everyone talks about the 10,000 hours that you do to become an expert and it’s like, I’m never going to do 10,000 hours of anything.” Instead, the newly christened pop star opts to dedicate hundreds of hours to an assortment of other things. “And I want to believe that that’s okay,” she adds. “A lot of the writing I’m doing for [Bossie] is trying to console myself that there’s time to do it all.”

Bossie’s most recent release, “There Will Be Time” tackles this very subject. Douris also warns about the necessity of finding balance between work and play. “There’s a lot of articles online being like, ‘oh, this is how you should live your life’ and I can’t really subscribe to just ‘do what you love’ because I don’t think it’s that simple.”

The problem with some online culture, as she sees it, is that being told to make money doing what you love carries a weight to it. Douris warns that this isn’t always the best way to do the things one enjoys: to not succeed and then tell yourself, ‘I guess I don’t have enough passion to get money out of this,’ can be a damaging outlook towards the things one cares about as well as themselves.

Not all of Anne’s passion projects are lucrative, but that’s okay. If Bossie’s ticket sales can help her break even, that’s great, but the real goal of these shows is combining elements of all her passions: adding custom video reels and stage tricks to compliment the punchy pop tunes and to create a show that, she hopes, ‘assaults the senses’ on all fronts.

Bossie will be performing at The Great Hall on November 13 as part of the Long Winter Arts Festival.

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