Buddhi de Mal, the Sri Lankan-born, LA-based musical mastermind, is all set to release his latest single, “Livin’ In LA”, featuring the sensational J-Nil Peiris, on 24 March. The song takes inspiration from the real-life experiences of Buddhi and J-Nil, as they navigated the treacherous waters of the entertainment industry in the city of dreams. In his own words, Buddhi says, “Living in this city demands a lot of blood, sweat, and tears as you pursue your dreams. You must hustle your way through the dark parts of it while keeping your eyes on the prize.”
Buddhi de Mal reveals that the songwriting process was a collaborative effort with J-Nil Peiris. “After composing the melody, I sent it to J-Nil, and he recorded the rap part of the song, which I then added my lyrics to, and the song was completed in just around two days,” he explains.
J-Nil’s lyrics evolved from a real-life event that he encountered during his time in LA, adding a further authentic touch to the track. The song was mixed and mastered by Romano Erafficci of ER Mixing, hailing from Poland.
On first encountering Buddhi de Mal’s voice, the effect is surprising. His warm, lush vocals glide smoothly around an insistent beating drum and resonant keys on “Livin’ In LA”. Buddhi’s voice transitions from deep reverberating tones to high airy notes with effortless ease, as he unfolds the narrative.
“In my darkest dreams, I see you calling back to me. In my finest hours, you were there like a bitch,” sings Buddhi. It’s not long before J-Nil unpacks his own circumstances, of being robbed at gunpoint and having his heart broken in L.A.
“Livin’ In LA” is simple yet complex, gorgeous yet sinister, dark yet shot through with glimpses of hopeful light. It’s infinitely satisfying to hear Buddhi de Mal’s excursion into a soundscape that is both mainstream and alternative in its musical architecture.
Locked subtly within the indie-pop and hip-hop aesthetics is a tangible glimpse of darkwave elements in the melody. This renders the song even more intriguing and eclectic.
The imposing and stirring beauty of “Livin’ In LA”, is a classy example of the depth and quality songs can possess in the skilled hands of their creators, when these themselves are unhindered by label pressure or pandering to commercial trends. All this lends something of the uncanny to the single.
Throughout his catalog, Buddhi de Mal has proven himself capable of weaving such rich musical tapestries that there seemed no need for him to radically reinvent himself. Yet his ambitious creativity has pushed him to tread fresh stylistic ground on “Livin’ In LA”.
Despite the challenges and traumatic experiences one might face while living in LA, Buddhi de Mal admits he is still drawn to the city’s lifestyle. “The idea for this song was conceived after I moved out of LA, but the city still holds a special place in my heart,” he admits. Before making his entry into the American music industry in 2016, Buddhi had already founded Wagon Park, a blues-rock band, in Sri Lanka back in 2007, where he still serves as the lead vocalist.
Buddhi de Mal also founded and is the lead vocalist of The Sutra – a rock band based in LA, which he established in 2017, while studying at the Musicians Institute. Buddhi de Mal’s music has always been a melting pot of varied styles, including blues, folk, country, and rock. However, for “Livin’ In LA”, he steps outside of his comfort zone to experiment with the indie pop and hip-hop genres, proving yet again why he is a continual creative force to be reckoned with in the music industry.