We at Rising Arists Blog had the pleasure of attending a press conference for Grammy- nominated artist Saint Bodhi where she discussed her recent collaboration with Marvel and DefJam writing a story for the latest issue of Black Panther. While we were able to ask a bit about her process, first we’ll tell you a bit about her music.
Saint Bodhi’s latest album Mad World is an incredible collection of soulful hip-hop and R&B tunes with world influence. “Gold Revolver” blends worldly instrumentation with flashy beats and Saint Bodhi’s beautifully clear, conversational voice depicting a dark tale of revenge. “FlowerChild” is a groovy tune that feels like it stepped straight out of the 60s with reverberating tones and flowing, syncopated vocals. “Blessed” also exudes a throwback sound with rhythmic electric guitar and a steady kick drum beat perfectly decorated with vocal harmonies between catchy verses. In addition to her album, Saint Bodhi has released a collaboration with DUCKWRTH and Nex titled “Work”, a dark, electronic single that is hypnotic with its production and deep driving bass.
Saint Bodhi is a versatile artist who has mentioned that she uses music as therapy when she experiences anxiety. We were able to ask what advice she would have for other creatives who experience anxiety, to which she replied “Stay in love with the art. Stay in love with the music and stay in love with why you’re doing it…. Everyone else will fall into place.” Make sure to check out Saint Bodhi’s music and the rest of her answers from the press conference below. Thanks again to Saint Bodhi for speaking with us and make sure to check out her story in Black Panther #23!
Written by Katrina Charles
Press Q&A with Saint Bodhi
Q (Chronic Zine): Storytelling is at the core of your music and has lead you to more opportunities such as your recent collaboration with Marvel. Where else do you see yourself applying your storytelling skills. Also, a lot of your songs are very personal and talk about real experiences growing up in South Central LA. Is this something you wish to continue or do you see yourself writing more about the experiences of others?
Saint Bodhi: I see myself in film and TV and kinda on a Jordan Peele situation and y’know collaborating. I also see myself getting into high fashion and more so directing. I want to tell stories. I want to physically see my stories instead of just hearing them all the time.
As far as storytelling, I’m going to tell everyone else’s story but at the same time, I just want to continue to tell the stories in my head
Q (Chronic Zine): Mad World is a blend of Hip Hop, R&B, Neo-Soul but Work, the song you collaborated with DUCKWRTH sounds more House inspired. What kind of sounds can we expect from your upcoming work? Are you working on a new album and how are you approaching these recording sessions differently and what can we expect to hear?
Saint Bodhi: I love that bounce in Work with DUCKWORTH and NEZ. I am venturing off to more of a heartfelt, y’know, playing around with some pop with some of my elements. I’m currently working on a project with Dahi. I’m about halfway done and I’m currently working on an EP at the same time. So in my mind, I’m literally competing with Drake. I’m like, “Hey Drake. I’m ‘bout to go back to back with that ass right now. Hello!”
Q (Fan): You said that you’re a storyteller which is amazing because I think Black women are the most compelling storytellers. How has your experience as a Black woman affected your storytelling and your creativity? Also, how do you navigate being Black while in the music industry?
Saint Bodhi: Being a Black woman in the industry, I feel like a lot of people don’t take you seriously. And they kind of look at you like “Oh, she’s just talking. Don’t worry about it. We know what’s best for her.” You know what I mean? As an entrepreneur in the industry, you are going to face that until you step on everyone’s neck, in a way you have to. As far as storytelling, I just come from pure facts with my feelings. And I come with real emotions. Whatever my relationship is with the universe, it allows me to go through all these terrible things sometimes; but, it allows me to tell these really intricate stories.
Q (Bloom Magazine): Given that you’ve collaborated with the likes of A$AP Rocky and Jaden Smith, who are some other artists that you would like to work with in the future and who inspires your music? Secondly, thinking about your music itself, could you tell us a bit more about your writing process? Is it intentional that your music often has a clear message or image for people to take away?
Saint Bodhi: Andre 3000, Erykah Badu, Nina Simone, Eartha Kit, James Blake, Jacob Collier, Frank Ocean. I’m really like the weird, nerd, cool kid. At least that’s the space I’d like to be in. But yeah, that’s kind of like the people that inspire me as far as like doing whatever I want to do with music cause I feel like those artists do what they want to do. And as far as my writing process, I just get really deep into my feelings. I’ve had sessions where I’ve just cried and then I’ve had sessions where I’m like, “Let’s do it. I’m mad!” You know what I mean? Just full honesty.
Q (HipHopIndie): You put a short story on Marvel. How was the experience with doing that?
Saint Bodhi: I felt like it was a dream come true just because I’m a super nerd on the low. It was like, “Great! Finally someone gets it!” And so when I got offered the opportunity, it was like, “alright I can finally branch into the crazy ideas that I have.” It was really cool because that story’s really based on mental health and I’m really an advocate for artists and their mental health.
Q (Rising Artists Blog): In interviews with Flaunt and Atwood Magazine, you talk about using music as therapy and pulling from your anxiety and experience when creating. I was wondering what advice you’d give to creatives who have anxiety over releasing their art for public consumption?
Saint Bodhi: Don’t think about how people feel about it and just do it. If you’re like me and you use it for therapy, I try to disconnect myself from the opinion of what the record is supposed to sound like. I solely use the art for that. Stay in love with the art. Stay in love with the music and stay in love with why you’re doing it and if that’s your only way of communicating your emotions, just do that because at the end of the day, you’re benefiting yourself and not everyone else. Everyone else will fall into place.
Q (Rising Artists Blog): I love that answer. Thank you! And then for my second question, you touched upon it a bit about your experience with getting to collaborate with Marvel and Def Jam in the latest issue of Black Panther #23. What did you learn from that experience? Also, since songwriting is storytelling, was it easy for you to transition from writing songs to writing a story for a comic, especially given the fact that you’re a huge marvel fan?
Saint Bodhi: It was easy but it was super intimidating at first. I’m not gonna even cap. Like I was like “What the f**k? You guys want me to write this s**t? Like who? Me?!” So I think it felt cool when it was actually accepted and produced out and worked out. It was more of a gift from the universe of like “Bodhi, you’re cool. Stop trippin’. You can do this s**t. You’re worth more than what you even think.” And I think that was like, “Alright, this is my stepping stone to a bigger future.”
Q (Icy Thoughts Magazine): I know you have a versatile catalogue. Do you attack songs differently depending on the genre when you’re writing or recording?
Saint Bodhi: I think I attack songs differently based upon my mood. And I’m just like a moody person. So one day I’m a bad bitch, next day I’m angry, next day I’m so depressed, next day I’m vulnerable, next day I’m like, “I’m a rich bitch”. You know what I mean? I guess I’m one of those artists that don’t really have a problem with trying everything.
Q (Icy Thoughts Magazine): If you only had one take away for fans what would you have them learn from Saint Bodhi either musically or personally?
Saint Bodhi: That it is okay to fully dive into self. It is okay. You don’t have to put on a show, pretend, act. I feel like people are more interesting when they’re more themselves. And I think that’s one of the main reasons why I even wrote Gold Revolver because obviously I didn’t do that but at the same time I felt that way so what’s wrong with me expressing how I felt?