Interview: Saint Bodhi Dives into Her Debut Album ‘Mad World’ & Upcoming EP ‘Antisocial’

Saint Bodhi © Darren Craig
Saint Bodhi © Darren Craig

This Black History Month, Atwood Magazine has invited artists to participate in a series of essays, interviews, reviews, poetry, playlists, and more features in recognition of, and out of respect for the symbolism and significance of this month.

Today, Def Jam signed alt-R&B singer/songwriter, artist, and rapper Saint Bodhi dives into her sweeping debut album Mad World and upcoming EP Antisocial as a part of Atwood Magazine‘s Black History Month series. Hailing from South Central Los Angeles, Bodhi introduced herself to the world in summer 2019 with the stunningly intimate and unapologetic “FlowerChild.” While this song served as her formal artist debut, Bodhi had already amassed a wealth of work with top names throughout the R&B and hip-hop worlds, including collaborations with Beyonce, A$AP Rocky, Jaden Smith, Lecrae, Erykah Badu, Tinashe, and dozens more.
Mad World - Saint Bodhi
Mad World – Saint Bodhi
A self-described musical chameleon, Saint Bodhi leaves no stone unturned in her art; she sings and raps truth to power against a dazzling backdrop of sound that melds soul, classic and modern R&B, neo-soul, hip-hop, jazz, trap, pop, and more styles into a singular stunning experience. No subject is off limits and no secret is too sacred for the artist, who pours herself into songs that capture real life (or rather, life’s real madness) with passion, energy, alluring authenticity.
Following a string of captivating singles, Bodhi’s dynamic and raw debut album MAD WORLD released in October 2020. From the mesmerizing warmth and vulnerability of “Brand New” (featuring WESTSIDE BOOGIE) to the intensely self-expressive “Pray” and buoyant, feel-good closer “Blessed,” MAD WORLD showcases Saint Bodhi’s vocal strengths and versatility and embraces a wealth of influences, emotions, stories, and vivid, tantalizing lyricism. “I basically explain what the world looks like from my perspective and my eyes,” she says of her first LP. “The title Mad World has always stuck since the creation of it. It just fit the energy.”
Saint Bodhi © 2021
Saint Bodhi © 2021
MAD WORLD remains one of 2020’s most exciting debuts, and Saint Bodhi is quickly following her first LP with a new EP and a special collaboration with Marvel Comics: In celebration of Black History Month, Marvel’s Black Panther #23 (released 2/24/2021) will find Saint Bodhi sharing her take on Storm for “an emotional story grounded in tragedy and acceptance.” Later this Spring, she will release her Antisocial EP, a cathartic set of songs written and recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’m a bit of a keep to myself kinda person,” Saint Bodhi explains. “I wanted to explore and tap into different lawyers of myself. I felt as though I matured a lot during the creation Antisocial, and I really take you on that journey.”
A fast-rising star, Saint Bodhi is an indisputable Atwood artist-to-watch who deserves a place on all up-and-coming lists. Dive deeper into her music and artistry in our interview below, and stay tuned for her upcoming Antisocial EP, out later this year via Def Jam.
“My album ‘Mad World’ is a raw, honest, and very personal journey into my life and upbringing in South Central LA. I grew up with a not-so-normal past. I say the things people are afraid to say. I let you experience the ‘mad world’ that is my life.”Saint Bodhi
•• ••
Feet hit the pavement, sirens are blarin’
Crackheads’ll get ya what ya need, how much you payin’?
Orange El Camino, guns like Al Pacino
Gold chain cost a couple bucks under a C-note
I got this white girl if you need the fix
My nigga scopin’ out the next spot to hit the lick
In the nighttime, zombies chill on the 25th
Mother Mary, please still get me out this bitch
I’m in that all-black Cadillac
Hope I don’t die tonight, better watch my back
Roll the dice and take a chance
I pray to God shit don’t get outta hand
I’m in that all-black Cadillac
Hope I don’t die tonight, better watch my back
Roll the dice and take a chance
I pray to God shit don’t get outta hand
– “FlowerChild,” Saint Bodhi

•• ••


Mad World - Saint Bodhi

Atwood Magazine: Hey Saint Bodhi! First of all, thanks so much for taking your time with me today. It’s kind of crazy to think about, but you debuted with “FlowerChild” just 18 months ago! How has the past year and a half felt for you?

Saint Bodhi: Hey thank you for having me. The past year has felt crazy with the pandemic and all. Time went by so fast, but so slow at the same time.

You previously talked to Flaunt about your music coming out of anxiety, and I was wondering if we could talk a bit about that – because I feel very similarly about my relationship with music. What has that experience been like for you, of using music as as a sort of therapy? Has that changed at all as you wrote and recorded your album, and now your new EP?

Saint Bodhi: I still pull from my anxiety and experience when creating. it’s so therapeutic for me. I do music of course because it’s a passion, but more than ever it helps me process thoughts and emotions.

You've said before that “South Central is music.” Do you especially hear South Central in your music, and can you share some examples that capture that world, for you?

Saint Bodhi: In my record “FlowerChild,” I describe in my lyrics the visuals and the experience I had while growing up in South Central. I still drive around my old hood and get inspired to write.

When I get older, I’ma get up out this bitch
I’ma get rich
My daddy bangin’ on the walls
Nigga drunk, always throw another fit (Oh, no, no)
I go to 95th
South Central’s where I live
Selling white widow to the kids
Lord, get me out this bitch
“Look, little black bitch, you ain’t gon’ be shit
Get up on this pimpin’
I wish you were a boy, you shoulda been a boy
They shoulda took you instead of your mother
I question God why you were even born
I bet you’ll turn into a whore
If you wanna leave, there’s the door”
That’s all I heard
“No one will love you”
A star was born
Saint Bodhi © 2021
Saint Bodhi © 2021

Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations from growing up? How do you channel your inspirations into your own music and art?

Saint Bodhi: Some of my biggest inspirations are Nina Simone, Kendrick Lamar, and Kurt Cobain. I love their storytelling and the raw honestly in their music. I channel their energy when creating. It always helps me remember to be my true self in my music, no matter if what I express sounds a bit jarring to people.

I was hoping we could talk a bit about Mad World, since it’s still so fresh. Can you share a little about the story behind this album?

Saint Bodhi: Ahh yeah the title of Mad World was inspired by the Mad World we live in. I basically explain what the world looks like from my perspective and my eyes. The title Mad World has always stuck since the creation of it. It just fit the energy.

As a lyrically forward artist, do you have any favorite lyrics in these songs?

Saint Bodhi: My favorite line I’ve written is in my song “brand new” featuring WESTSIDE BOOGIE: “I gotta choose between broke or sin.” I felt like when I wrote that record I was battling with walking the straight and narrow line in life or straddling that fence just for survival.

Do you have any definitive favorites or personal highlights off this record?

Saint Bodhi: I love my record “Blessed.” It was such a different energy for me and I so happy after writing it and hearing the end result.

What do you hope listeners take away from Mad World? What have you taken away from creating it and now putting it out?

Saint Bodhi: I want my listeners and fans to always know I’m gonna keep it 100 in all my music and when they want to hear something raw and real, I’m the one to go to.

So as quickly as this came out, you’ve got a new EP on the horizon! I’ve listened to Antisocial a few times now, and I absolutely love it. What inspired this record?

Saint Bodhi: I created Antisocial in the pandemic. Plus I’m a bit of a keep to myself kinda person. I wanted to explore and tap into different lawyers of myself. I felt as though I matured a lot during the creation Antisocial, and I really take you on that journey.

How do you feel Mad World introduced you and captured your artistry, and where do you feel you’re now going with Antisocial?

Saint Bodhi: Hmm, that’s a tough one – not really sure. But I like to say that Antisocial helped me mature as a woman and learn who I am becoming.

Saint Bodhi © Darren Craig
Saint Bodhi © Darren Craig

“Get Like This” and “Sneaky Link” are a really strong start. Do you feel like these songs are an extension of Mad World, or are they something new – and why?

Saint Bodhi: I feel like these songs are something new. They explore different colors and pallets with those two records. Including becoming more comfortable with my sexuality and being a woman.

Your wordplay is phenomenal. Again, I have to ask - do you have any personal favorite lyrics or rhymes on here?

Saint Bodhi: My favorite lyric from the EP is from the actual song “antisocial”: “I’ve been rolling solo, I’m just dolo like Cudi.”

Antisocial will be available to download and stream this spring.

— —

:: purchase/stream MAD WORLD here ::
Stream: “Zombie” – Saint Bodhi

— — — —

Mad World - Saint Bodhi

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? © Darren Craig

:: Saint Bodhi ::


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