How The Boykinz Maintain Firm Foundations While Redefining Country Music
This feature is in our Summer '23 "Music" Issue. Click here to subscribe.
Alona, Kylan, Anale and Nytere show off their own personal styles. Photo by J Monroe
The Boykinz, known as the Black girls of country TikTok, have enraptured the industry—poised, entertaining and destined for stardom.
Kylan, Nytere, Anale and Alona Boykin have been a sister country band for 10 years, inspiring the country music industry with zeal for the primarily white-saturated genre. Nonetheless, they have broken onto the scene, performing with Shania Twain on the CMT Music Awards, appearing on The Kelly Clarkson Show and recording with Nathan Chapman. However, the breakout frenzy they are experiencing now is reflective of their upbringing.
They are one and all the while individuals, transforming their roles as sisters into positions in the band, but at the core is family and the lessons that have instilled in them wisdom far beyond their years. “Everybody is home-schooled,” says the eldest, Kylan, “and we love to cook, we love to bond, we love to hang out and do family activities.” Because of this foundation, The Boykinz have maintained level heads through all of the recent growing attention, whether on TikTok or live television.
The Boykinz onstage at the CMT Texas Supper Club. Photo by Emma Mcintyre/courtesy of Getty Images.
Growing up in Snellville, Ga., country music was all around. With their vast array of musical interests, their passion and inspiration are rooted in the classic country artists we all know and love. “I think if I were a regular girl who lives in the city, I would have loved country music as well,” says Anale. With this passion, they have learned how to balance their individual personalities, social media and approach.
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The Boykinz are a well-oiled machine, strategically and musically. Kylan is the creative director and choreographer, the brains behind their original content. Nytere is their rock star, playing the guitar and bringing energy to the group. Anale styles her sisters, making sure each outfit reflects their personality. Alona dabbles in the piano as the youngest of the group at 16 years old. “We can’t be just one person because we’re all individuals. So we’re just like, OK, we can be in unison, but we can still be ourselves,” says Kylan. This is only a glimpse into the maturity I experienced firsthand when I got to sit down with them, and it is precisely what they need to enter the industry on a grander scale.
When discussing what it is like to be Black women entering country music, they have their parents and family to thank. “They’ve taught us to respect each other’s opinions and always be your sister’s keeper,” says Anale, who Kylan immediately piggybacks: “We’re big communicators. We love to talk. And, yeah, that’s something our parents definitely taught us.” That’s dynamic; they are always working together, an extension of their bond as both sisters and a band.
As it is with family, that closeness extends into their art, especially with their latest release, “Girls Night,” which hints at their country fusion style and the message they want in the world: “You’re beautiful, no matter what skin color, no matter what body shape and no matter what hair type; you are enough, you are enough. And don’t put yourself in a box; I want to inspire a lot of little girls to be whatever they want to be and sing whatever they want to sing, and create a world of positivity and never stop going and don’t give up on it just because people don’t believe in your dream,” says Alona.
With firm foundations, all we can do is sit and watch them shine.