“Lighting is the biggest contributing factor to my inspiration. I see everything in pictures, and music adopts various colors for me.”
Los Angeles native, Billie Bodega, has been undoubtedly, and meticulously planning her musical debut, choosing NOW as the perfect time to unveil her mellifluous voice to the world. Although she is an actress, well-known for recurring roles in The Tracy Morgan Show (2003), Zoey 101 (2005), Movie Surfers (2006), and The Wrong Child (2016), Bodega, has been hard at work on an R&B project, surprising everyone in March of this year with the release of her smooth, and sultry vocals on her first single and music video “Ocean Blues.” Creating her pseudonym earlier this year, Bodega recalls, “[My name was] self-dubbed after a very lucid dream in which I was drinking a carafe of wine in a Grecian garden filled with goats”.
From a young age, she learned to play several string and woodwind instruments, and discovered both a love and passion for singing in her school choir. Though a musician, actress, dancer, and singer, Bodega also held a high value on the importance of education, prompting her move to Cambridge, Massachusetts to pursue her degree. Upon the completion of her studies at Harvard University, where she graduated with honors, Bodega returned to Los Angeles, where she began recording. November 2nd , six months after the success of “Ocean Blues,” Bodega released her debut EP, Ko͞o dāˈtä. If I had to guess, I would say that Ko͞o dāˈtä, which is comprised of seven songs, collectively tells the story of regaining control, but why “guess” when you can find out from the source herself? I recently had the extreme pleasure of being able to chat with Billie Bodega to find out exactly what she intended the EP to mean, as well as to gain further insight into the budding R&B singer’s life as a whole.
Let’s take it back to the very beginning with the most basic of questions to begin with: Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Santa Monica, California. A true Angeleno.
It is said that most stars know from an early age that music is their calling. When did you know for sure that music is what you wanted to pursue?
When I was 3 years old, the first thing I ever said I wanted to do was singing. I wore my mother’s lime green heels and stood naked in front of the mirror pantomiming a performance (a picture embarrassingly survives from this moment). Shortly thereafter, it changed from a fascination with singing to a concern for public safety. I was determined to be a stop sign; for whatever reason I found them to be beautiful. Fortunately, I realized that road signage was not in my future, and singing became a serious endeavor after I graduated college.
A lot of Artists have their album songs collectively tell a story. What story did you create Ko͞o dāˈtä to convey?
It’s a story about reclaiming one’s autonomy, seizing control, and fighting the preconceived notions or labels that people, friend and foe alike, will try to assign to you. It’s also a proclamation against so much that is wrong with our society today.
What is the meaning behind the album title? What made you choose this as its title?
Ko͞o dāˈtä is the phonetic spelling of coup d’état, which is a French term, used internationally, as a seizure of power from an authority.
What is your goal with the music that you make? What do you want it to do? (Inspire, tell a story, connect people, etc.)
My initial goal was just to create music that I like, and that I am proud of. I wasn’t doing it for anyone but myself. Through that process, however, I realized that this is the only way to make anything that is honest and true. And when you give people truth, they will follow you. My music serves both as a looking glass and as a mirror. People should not only see me and my story, but also see a reflection of themselves. I look at the world through this lens, and the world looks back at me.
Some of my personal inspirations, in relation to music (limiting myself to only three) are KYLE, Miguel, and Masego. With that being said, who are your biggest musical inspirations?
I’m more so inspired by sounds than by particular people. I love ambient sounds, sounds that are so distinctly atmospheric that they transplant you to a different time and place. Eclectic, vibes, chill, moody… all of that. I listen to almost everything under the sun, ranging heavily from classical music to classic rock.
Which artists would you want to collaborate the most with?
Ty Dolla $ign. I’m a big supporter of his artistry.
When I write, I have to be inspired. My inspiration can come from something as small as an inspirational quote, or something as BIG as a life lesson. When are you the most inspired to create music?
Lighting is the biggest contributing factor to my inspiration. I see everything in pictures, and music adopts various colors for me. So when the lighting around me matches that mental image picture, or inspires me in some way that I hear music in my mind’s eye, then I know it’s time to sit down and get to work.
“Ode to a Dead Princess” is one of my favorite songs from the EP. If you had to choose, what would be your personal favorite? Which is the most near and dear to your heart?
“Ode to a Dead Princess” is my favorite as well. It’s also my most personal, which is probably why. OTADP was the first song I recorded from this EP; it was after that song that I knew I had a duty to get the rest of the music out. That song changed everything for me. It started with Maurice Ravel’s “Pavane for a Dead Princess,” composed in 1899, and the cultural outpouring of grief for the passing of the little girl that led to the creation of this magnificent piece. I began to explore the idea of my writing a song to my former childhood self, the dead princess being indicative of the childhood I was robbed of due to life circumstances. After a painfully introspective process, grappling with the demons of my past, “Ode to a Dead Princess” was born. I adapted the lyrics from a poem I wrote when I was eight.
Safe Job vs. Following your dreams, and having the safety net: Which would you recommend to fans trying to follow in your footsteps?
Well, at the risk of sounding like an extremist, the safety net is kind of an illusion. Most Americans are one paycheck away from homelessness, so if you think settling for a predictable paycheck is the answer to all your worries, I would caution that person. There are certain things I do not believe in compromising on, such as higher education. Your dreams will still be there for you after your degree(s). But yes, I am a firm believer in following your passions, provided you are serious about them and have made an informed decision.
“Ocean Blues” had an amazing music video to accompany it. Can fans expect another video to accompany any of the songs off of the EP?
Thank you! Yes, I will be conducting a poll asking fans what they want a video to next.
Can fans expect a show/tour any time soon?
Most def. Keep your eyes peeled for any surprise announcements…
Keeping our eyes wide-open with extreme anticipation is exactly what I, along with all the other fans will be doing. Of course, when I catch wind of any new news, you all will be made aware as well. Until then, what we can do to pass the time is stream Ko͞o dāˈtä nonstop on every streaming platform!