The self-proclaimed "Buddha Barbie" sits down with Milk.

Music

4.3.2017

Sarsha Simone Talks 'Bodhi' And Embracing Imperfections

Sarsha Simone is ready to charm your ears off. Born and raised in Australia, the self-styled “Buddha Barbie” first lured us with her catchy hooks on “Casualty”, an electro pop-tinged R&B knockout. More recently, she’s dropped two new songs—“Daydream” and “Love Ting”—off her soon to be released debut EP, Bodhi. The verdict? They’re just as hard-hitting and soulful as the first, and if Bodhi displays anything close to the talent already exhibited here, one thing’s for sure: we’re in for a serious treat.

On the heels of her upcoming EP release, we sat down with Sarsha to talk Buddhism, taking “can’t” out of her vocabulary, and rejecting perfectionism. Listen to her latest release, “Daydream”, below, and keep scrolling for our full interview.

You’re releasing an EP called Bodhi. What’s the central theme behind it? 

Bodhi is about that time in your life when you start asking questions about where you are and what you want to do. Be it love, work, your own internal feelings about yourself and to be ok with what you find. “Bodhi” actually means to accept the true nature of things or to awaken. 

You’ve dubbed yourself as the “Buddha Barbie”—how did you become interested in Buddhism? 

I started guitar lessons when I was 13 with a teacher who was a practicing yogi and spoke a lot about the philosophies of Buddhism. I have since been learning more and trying to put what I learnt into practice. It’s amazing the people that come into your life to teach you things that you might have had questions about. Meditation has been a huge part of my learning about myself and understanding the world around me. It’s been a journey in itself in understanding that it’s ok to have ups and downs and to just ‘be’ with in it all. These teachings of Buddhism have always rung so true to me and have inspired a lot of who I am now.

Sounds like you’ve really found inner peace for yourself. On that note, your song “Daydream” is about persistence and I love that message, too. When did you realize that you need to keep your dreams as a musician alive?

Thank you! I don’t know if it was a specific moment or more so the way my mum brought me up with the word “can’t” being ripped out of my vocab. I was literally fined if I said “I can’t” when I was growing up. But, I have come across people that have questioned my pursuit of the creative life at times and I’m forever grateful for those moments as they push me to keep fighting for what I want to achieve. Like Queen Bey said, “The best revenge is your paper.” 

Word. “Love Ting” and “Casualty” have similar tempos, themes, and moods. Where do you find your inspirations to make these songs and how are they different? 

Life really gives me all the inspiration I need between talking to friends or overhearing random people talking on the street. Love always seems to be a topic that heats up quickly and enters into conversations with laughter, sadness and sometimes anger.

“Casualty” is about being ok to give yourself even if you have been hurt before. Trust that you know better this time round and jump in as sometimes we are a casualty in love. But sometimes we win and that’s just part of life’s journey.

“Love Ting” is about being playful in love and not taking things too seriously. I feel like sometimes, we rush things without really getting to know the other and this causes friction and bitterness when we feel the other person doesn’t understand us. Some things are better taken step by step.

Speaking of your EP, Bodhi is the first of three separate EPs. Why have you decided to release your project as a series? 

I decided it would best to release my first full project as three parts as they all have a different story to tell, but come together in the end as one – kind of like the different phases of life. Also, I noticed that we tend to take music in smaller doses now as there is so much music to take in. I wanted to really get my message across through my music without it being too much or too convoluted. Each EP is really about a different stage we go through in life and how we develop through them.

Dope. Stylistically, you have been compared to SZA. How do you feel about the comparisons and where do you stand? 

I think she is dope and has something really great going on. I love her voice and that she doesn’t seem to take things too seriously. I guess when you’re an artist trying to break out, it’s human nature to compare an artist to other artists that we already know. I feel grateful to be an independent artist that is compared to artists like SZA, who are doing their thing with fans that appreciate their message and artistry.

Initially, you started out on The Voice Australia, where you performed covers. What was it like to be on a reality TV show?

It was funny stepping into a show like that. I had previously not been one to understand the reasons to go onto a show that notoriously doesn’t have the artist’s best interests at heart. But that year, I had walked into it saying “why not?”

What was the biggest moment on the show that you did not anticipate? 

The biggest moment I didn’t anticipate was with all the judges actually being down with me, especially when Will.i.am made a speech about wanting to work with me down the line. That is still yet to happen, but it all really worked in my favor as far as being too unique for the show. I was like, “I’ll take that!” Never being [the] one to quit, I just knew I needed to work with the right team to get my vision across as an artist, and that a format like this show was not the path for me.

You once said that you want people to embrace the contradictions within themselves. Why do you think that it’s not necessary to be perfect?

I think the concept of perfection is a funny one because there are so many ideas of perfection. I also think that if there’s one thing we should all be moving closer to is really understanding and accepting who we are [as well as] embracing the things that we don’t like so much about ourselves. Which then comes down to the contradictions within us and learning not to judge ourselves too harshly. One thing I love seeing in people is when they start seeing their imperfections as their strengths and then[,] step into that power. That is when they truly shine. I’m a true romantic when it comes to human nature and believe that we all have something special to give in this life.

Images courtesy of Sarsha Simone

Stay tuned to Milk for more zen AF artists we love. 

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