We caught up with singer-songwriter Sody on her new single, her experiences of bullying and what the future holds for her. Check out her new single The Bully on Spotify, YouTube, iTunes and Apple Music.
Hey Sody, Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hey! I’m Sody, my real name is Sophie, and I’m a recording artist and songwriter. I am 18, from West London and a Netflix addict with an obsession for cheese. I’m quite strong minded and try to write music that is raw and relatable that is directly about my personal experiences.
Were you bullied at school?
I first experienced bullying in year 7 and 8 by various people in different year groups because I had acne. I remember so clearly a boy in the year above me called me ‘volcano head’ which made me so insecure. I tried to cover it up with makeup but that would only make my skin worse. I would sweat in class for fear people were staring at my face and neck. It was a horrible time and I felt disgusting.
I was lucky enough to go on a tablet which cleared up all my spots and it felt so good to come back into school at the beginning of year 9 with clear skin and newly dyed hair – I was now a platinum blonde. But the bullying didn’t stop there as that’s when I released music as ‘Sody’, and people found a new reason to tease me.
You have just released your new single, how does it feel? What inspired the song?
It does feel good but I was also incredibly anxious and nervous to release ‘The Bully’. We all want to feel popular because somehow we think that brings worth and so telling the world that actually you don’t have a cool friendship group is quite scary.
Society seems to think that only certain people are likely to be bullied but the truth is anyone, anywhere, can be bullied, whether that’s at school, at work or at home. I felt so strongly about telling other people what happened to me at school in the hope they realise they’re not alone!
What are your experiences of bullying?
My experiences have been in person and online. Sometimes, people were upfront with the bullying, other times it would be through leaving me out and ignoring my existence, groups of people taunting me and of course via social media. People in my school would also encourage students at other schools to dislike me too, so I had no chance of going anywhere else and starting over.
About 6 months after I had left that school, I was invited to go back to the annual rugby match that students and alumni could go to. I knew in my heart that I shouldn’t have gone but if I’m honest I still wanted to believe there was a chance I could be friends with some of them, and a couple of girls had told me how excited they were to see me.
However, when I arrived, some of the girls were saying ‘why the f*&k is she here’, one girl said that she wanted to stamp on my face, and people were chanting ‘Sody, Sody, Sody.’ because they knew it bothered me when they didn’t call me Sophie.
To cut a long story short, I ended up leaving the after party after I was publicly humiliated by a bunch of girls who used to bully me at school. They were screaming at me that everyone hated me, that I wasn’t welcome to these events and I should just ‘f*&k off’ out of everyone’s lives. One girl even filmed it and posted it on Snapchat. No one stood up for me, so I left. But then about 50 people followed me out the door, laughing as I jumped into a taxi. I felt so alone, embarrassed, ashamed and I was truly devastated.
How have you overcome that? How has your experience shaped you?
I overcame bullying by going to therapy and by finding an outlet. At first, I believed it was all my fault and that I was the problem. But you shouldn’t have to change who you are for anybody and I needed someone to tell me that. It definitely has shaped me into the woman I am today. All I know is that I want people to be aware of how harmful their words can be.
I put on this hard front but I was so broken because I didn’t have a friend I could talk to, ever. I still don’t have a best friend from my school days. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to not have found ‘your people’ in school as it’s just a bubble and when you leave school there are so many other people out there. I just had to keep reminding myself that there is so much more to life that what I was going through at the time. Music saved me!
We saw on your social media that you have been going around schools to talk about bullying – what drove you to do that?
I felt alone when I was being bullied. Yes, I had family around me which was a huge help but I wished there was someone my age who could understand what it felt like. I know there are many artists who have opened up about their experiences later in their careers but I really wanted to do this whilst it was so recent and raw. I feel like right now I am in the best position to speak to other young people about this stuff because I’m so close in age to them.
If you could any young person who is going through bullying right now any advice, what would it be?
Don’t keep it bottled up. Tell someone. It’s so hard, I know, but it will get better. Find an outlet and make sure something that makes you happy and stimulates you. Sing, go for a run, paint, bake a cake or write a poem — just do something that takes your mind away from those people and the stuff you are having to deal with. And, put your phone away! I realised that was a huge part of my unhappiness and once I separated myself from it, I felt better.
It’s such an exciting time for you right now – how are you feeling about the future?
Well I’m actually just about to go travelling around Europe for 3 weeks so I’m excited to experience new things and meet new people. Also, to take some time off from social media and just live in the moment. When I’m back I have a super busy schedule including a writing trip to LA, more music releases and my headline show on Monday 20th May at The Waiting Room in London. There’s a lot to be excited about right now!