It’s not every day you get to speak to an icon. If you’re one of the millions of new users flocking to Clubhouse, the fastest growing social media app in the world, you surely recognize the face of this man and his guitar. What you might not know is that he’s a talented singer, songwriter, guitarist, celebrity digital strategist, and host of the #CottonClub named Bomani X. The man is quite literally an icon… of the app itself.
Clubhouse, the viral audio-only conversation app, was launched in March 2020 by Silicon Valley founders Rohan Seth and Paul Davidson. The invite-only app slowly grew to just a few thousand users, including many tech founders, entrepreneurs, digital trendsetters, and celebrities. For months, the app’s lengthy wait-list was clogged with Hollywood insiders and well-connected tech bros alike, all clamoring to get inside. But in January 2021, Clubhouse loosened its virtual velvet rope, launching worldwide on the Apple App Store.
And when you download Clubhouse, your home screen will display Bomani’s infectious smile, beckoning you to click his icon and enter the world of conversation rooms within.
Clubhouse has quickly become one of the most downloaded apps on the planet: from Japan to Germany, from Italy to India, from Austria to Australia. Even users in mainland China have flocked to the app, skirting oppressive censors to engage in free, unfettered conversation for the first time in years.
Just last week, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg both joined the app for hosted conversations that nearly crashed Clubhouse’s servers.
As an Italian living in Los Angeles — and a Clubhouse user since September 2020 — I was delighted when the app finally became accessible to all of my friends back home in Italy. In a few short weeks, a thriving community of diverse Italians have begun exploring the app and doing what Italians do best: TALKING.
After fielding many questions from friends about Clubhouse and the mysterious man in the icon, I decided to reach out to Bomani directly, so I could provide a proper introduction to all the Italians on Clubhouse waiting to meet him.
Thus, on Saturday, February 6th, I hosted an impromptu Clubhouse room called “Meet Bomani, the Clubhouse Icon,” which quickly swelled to over 1,500 listeners, eager to hear Bomani’s velvety voice discuss his experiences on Clubhouse and beyond.
Bomani joined Clubhouse in July 2020, and found it a welcome respite from the loneliness of life in the pandemic. He believes that Clubhouse launched at the perfect moment.
At a time when the world was locked down and alone, along comes an app that allows for connection and unification. He was suddenly able to talk with people all over America, and told us he has been in hundreds of Clubhouse rooms and conversations, with topics ranging from music to tech, from comedy to politics, from venture capital to even risqué adult chat.
To add more sound and better vibes to his conversations, Bomani began playing background music on his guitar during conversations, and soon gravitated towards other musical people with similar interests. He began co-hosting a room called “The Cotton Club”, named after the famous Prohibition-era New York City jazz club, one of the most popular clubs on the app. And Bomani has been holding Clubhouse jam sessions with other artists all over the world.
Saturnino, one of the participants in the room and world renowned bass player, said he’d love to jam with Bomani, and even offered Bomani a real “room” in Italy, if he ever wants to visit.
The Italians were eager to participate and many questions were raised. Marco Carrara and Ivano Marino were with me on stage to help manage the flow of the conversation. Many wanted to know how Bomani came to be the face of Clubhouse. He shared that he is the sixth person, thus far, to be featured as the face of the app.
Every time the developers launch a major update, they change the image of the app icon to feature one of their prominent and valued users. As the founders like to say, Clubhouse is all about celebrating creators. Bomani is a soft-spoken and humble guy who doesn’t actively seek attention, so he was a little uneasy about being thrust directly into the spotlight. On the whole, however, he says the attention has been a positive experience, because it has allowed him to connect quickly with so many fascinating and diverse groups of people… including this room full of Italians.
We all learned that Bomani was raised in New York and that he studied Italian while attending high school on Long Island. He hadn’t spoken Italian in quite a few years, but Bomani was able to dust off some conversational Italian phrases, much to the delight of the Italians in the room.
Though he has never visited Italy in person, Bomani said he was definitely interested in traveling there after the pandemic, just as long as he can eat a lot of food. The Italians assured him: in Italy, food is never a problem. Especially when you’re an icon.