Bo Milli Soundtracks Her Coming of Age Trials and Tribulations in Debut EP 'Making Friends'

Photo: Synne Sofi Bønes

Hailing from Norway, Bo Milli is a rising star bound for worldwide domination. 23-year-old Emilie Østebø pours her heart out in her debut EP, Making Friends, a tale of self-discovery and learning through experience. Like any successful exploratory young adult piece, each track could be perfectly placed in your favorite coming-of-age film. Universally relatable yet earnestly personal, Bo Milli’s gentle yet powerful vocals tell stories of first relationships, nights out in Bergen, and realizing harsh truths about herself and social interaction.

The EP opens with the melodic driving track “Come After Me,” an ode to the art of yearning and overthinking. Bo Milli sings of expectations taken from make-believe, grand romantic gestures you only see in movies that don’t have to be explicitly requested. A track that details the hope we feel as we age into the dating world, our narrator pours her heart out in song but not reality. The repetitive line “I want you to read my mind” showcases her admirable naivety, a trait that is also encapsulated in the lackadaisical sound of the record.

In the titular “Making Friends,” Bo Milli details the unmatched novelty of going out with friends. Its indie-rock sound energizes listeners to feel the experience first-hand, as she describes weaving through the crowd. Bo Milli sings with soft vocals, “Everyone here’s a stranger / but I know they love me / because I love them.” It’s the epitome of the electrifying experience of going out and absorbing the energy of a party.

There are welcomed stripped-back moments in the project, especially on “Be your Girl.” A flip side of the opening track, Bo Milli focuses on sincerity as she admits real intention to be with said crush. Desire slips through angelic vocals as she sings, “I know I might not be very cool / and this might be a very risky move / but it’s true.” It’s a simple love song, but one whose dynamism could only belong to Bo Milli.

"All the songs on the EP are in some way about struggling to ask for what you want from other people," Bo Milli shares. "'Making Friends' describes drinking too much when looking for genuine connection, ‘Come After Me’ fantasises about being perfectly understood without having to say anything, ‘I’m in' is about being honest in the wrong way and 'Chewing Gum’ - about macho-posturing."

“Chewing Gum” is a standout moment for this budding artist, with a chorus so catchy it’ll be on your mind long after the song ends. What can only be described as a female macho-anthem, Bo Milli experiments with her own agency and plays the role of someone who’s unaffected by past lovers, convincing herself of her own indifference. Over an addictive pop-rock instrumental, “Chewing Gum” is an anthem for girls to pretend they don’t care, and even if they do, they’re welcome to jam out and pretend to be carefree for a couple of minutes.

In the last track on the EP, Bo Mili reflects on her actions and wonders if people can truly change. With an intriguing melody and smooth bass, she takes responsibility for blowing things out of proportion, reflected sonically in the explosive chorus. With the most confidence in her words, Bo Milli bravely announces that she’s fully in. 

In her debut EP Making Friends, Bo Milli takes listeners inside her brain, from overthinking to yearning to contradicting herself and repeating the cycle again. It’s an accurate description of growing up, a diary on display put to music that emphasizes those complicated feelings. The start of a fruitful songwriter on the rise, we can’t wait to see what’s next for Bo Milli.

Listen to Making Friends below:

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