Photo by Jade Sadler

Super Bowl Songwriter Mazie Credits LSD with Changing the Trajectory of Her Life

At the dawn of the 2020s, this young Baltimore songwriter dropped acid for the first time, moved to LA with a bunch of her friends, and then wrote a hit song that later appeared in a Super Bowl ad. She talks with DoubleBlind about her bold explorations of plant medicines and psychedelic pop.

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DoubleBlind Mag

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Updated March 5, 2024

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This interview is a part of DoubleBlind’s Medicine Music series, in partnership with PORTAL, a campaign to destigmatize the responsible use of psychedelics. For video interviews with musicians about their relationship to plant medicines, check out DoubleBlind’s YouTube

During the heady days of the pandemic lockdown in 2021, Mazie arrived on the scene out of nowhere as a fully-formed pop project. While the country was struggling through paroxysms of protest, political violence, and fever-dream anti-vax paranoia, this young, classically-trained songwriter from Baltimore captured the absurdity of the moment with a viral hit called “Dumb Dumb.”There must be something in the corn flakes / Making it hard for us to think straight,” she sang over a happy-clappy electronic beat between whimsical sound effects and catchy “la la la” refrains. 

The song’s video evoked a feeling of lockdown-induced madness, with Mazie reveling in garish colors and childlike dance moves in a visual style reminiscent of Yellow Submarine and Pee-wee’s Playhouse. The savvy multimedia production was perfect for TikTok, helping make the song a certifiable hit. “Dumb Dumb” has since gotten 21 million views on YouTube, and just this weekend, a slowed-down version of it was used in a star-studded Uber Eats commercial that aired during Super Bowl LVIII. 

Mazie has kept busy since her big breakout. She dropped her debut EP, The Rainbow Cassette, in 2021. She followed it up last year with her first full-length album, Blotter Baby—a polished ode to the psychedelic rock canon guided by bubbling harmonics, satisfying riffs, and the occasional dip into au-courant pop-punk. Several tracks on the album are paired with music videos (or “official visualizers,” as some are labeled) that use AI effects to evoke the look and feel of a brain-frying LSD trip. It’s a nod Mazie’s own formative experiences with plant medicine, which has given her access to a “deep backlog of subconsciousness” that shapes her songwriting and worldview to this day. 

READ: Incubus Lead Singer Brandon Boyd Talks Psychedelic Drugs

Photo by Jade Sadler

A couple weeks before the Super Bowl ad aired, DoubleBlind got on Zoom to talk with Mazie about her work as a songwriter, her experiences with plant medicines and psychedelics, and the life-affirming experiences she’s had over the years with her collaborators and friends—a large group of whom now live with her in Los Angeles after they all moved out together from Philadelphia during what she calls a “great migration” in 2020. 

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity

DoubleBlind: Tell me a bit about yourself. You’re originally from Baltimore, right?

Mazie: I am. I grew up for the most part in Baltimore. I was always into music, from the second I I gained consciousness. My mom was basically like, “Listen, I see that you’re singing all the time, so let’s make this a little more proper.” She put me into classical voice lessons, and I sang opera from the age of 10 pretty much until I was 18. I got really into jazz and vocal jazz, and through that, I learned melody and improvisation. I was writing all the time—poems and stories and things. I started making songs at a pretty early age, as well. That was all pretty much between the ages of 12 to 15. 

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When I was 15 years old I found that my neighbor, Elie Rizk, had a recording studio in his basement. I was over there pretty much every weekend, and we were jamming all the time, writing a lot of music, and then decided to work on an album together while I was in high school. That was the first project I had ever made, and Elie and I have been working together ever since. It’s been almost a decade of making music together between the two of us. 

That’s super cool! It makes sense knowing that you have all of this background in music, because the music you release now is very polished. It seems like from out the gate you had fully formed songs—there was no lo-fi period. 

I really appreciate you saying that. That’s how we presented it to the world for sure, but there were so many projects and full albums and full EPs of just testing, trying to get to The Rainbow Cassette. The world knows me from The Rainbow Cassette onward, but we have been working at it for a long time. 

Let’s talk about Philadelphia. You went to Drexel University for a while and earlier, before this interview, you said that being there fundamentally changed you as a person. Then you ended up moving to Los Angeles with 10 or 15 of your friends from Philly and Maryland. Were there any formative moments or formative experiences you had while you were in Philly that crystallized the Mazie sound or style or look? 

Yes, it’s very apt to be talking to DoubleBlind about it. I began my journey with psychedelics in general in college, in Philadelphia. It’s definitely not a coincidence that I reflect on the city that way just because so many moments of personal growth happened with psychedelic experiences with friends in Philadelphia—specifically with LSD in particular. 

READ: Melissa Etheridge on Her Transformative Plant Medicine Experiences and Embracing Her “True Self”

Mazie in bathtub
Photo by Jade Sadler

[LSD] was my first entrance into psychedelics. That was my first love when it came to psychedelic experiences. It’s extremely powerful, it’s extremely potent, and I feel like I just rapidly developed a sense of self and taste—the music that I loved and the relationship I was developing with music—while having these experiences. All of that folded in on this Mazie project. It’s definitely where Mazie really began. 

You had never done any psychedelics before that? Had you ever smoked weed or anything like that?

I went to Catholic school my whole life, grew up in a very conservative household. I did not have access to, like, anything at all until I left home. I tried weed a couple times in high school because my brothers were a little rowdier than I was and they were like, “Girl, please. Just because you go to Catholic school doesn’t mean you have to live that way.” So um, yeah. I was in an intensely conservative environment.

In my experience, LSD has always been a bit of a boutique option. It’s not as easily accessible as shrooms or some other plant medicines.

Definitely not. 

How did it even transpire that you were in a situation where you could drop acid?

There was one particular person who introduced me to it, actually my long-term partner of six years. My partner had done it in high school, senior year of high school, and they had a very spiritual relationship with it and treated it with a lot of care. He was always talking to me about it, basically being like, ”It was such a transformative experience.” I don’t even know if he had done it more than once outside of that experience. But he said, “When you are ready, [I] would love to introduce you to that experience.” On New Year’s Eve, we did, and it literally just permanently changed the trajectory of my life. 

Wow, nice. How so? What the experience like?

It’s so hard to verbalize. You just go from having never considered that you could experience sensory and consciousness in a [different] way than you’ve experienced your whole life up until that point, and then you take LSD. I experience visuals very intensely, so just the interaction of the visuals imposed on the world around me—that could’ve changed my life forever, you know? It was so like, “Oh, my god!” I didn’t even know you could do this! I didn’t even know you could access another side of the coin in this way. And then of course when music turns on it’s like, “You are kidding me! This is the most incredible experience ever!” Even just from sensory alone, it changed my life. And then of course the mindfulness and how it interacts with consciousness is insane. I was pretty in love after that first experience. 

Photo by Jade Sadler

Another interesting thing about LSD is that compared to shrooms or weed, I feel like it only takes one or two experiences for it to really count, to have an impact.

Yes, absolutely.

So how were you changed after that experience? The next day or the next month or so?

I was rattled. I think one, because I was so sheltered. [LSD] being so, I don’t know, oppositional to the way I was developed, and just it being so countercultural, I was challenging myself in a lot of ways. I’m challenging my identity and I’m challenging what feels safe for me to explore, and that unlocked a lot of self-confidence and trust that I can explore. It was a little challenging because you’re going against all of your development. At least I was.

And then you’re in this new city, you’re in college, you’re changing in all these other ways too. Even without the LSD, you’re being exposed to so much. 

It was rapid fire, like, “OK, we’re just becoming a completely different person, I guess.” But it was magical. It was amazing. And then on the other side of that, [LSD] opened up a completely different relationship to spirituality in the forms of how I observe consciousness, just general spirituality. My relationship to music completely changed. I started listening to totally different music because I wanted to hear different music when I was having these experiences. Particularly The Beatles. I had never, ever listened to The Beatles prior to interacting with psychedelics. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—what a record. That really just completely kicked me into a different realm. 

Music is so multi-dimensional. There are so many different ways I can convey these sentiments sonically. It doesn’t have to be just lyrically—it’s possible to create feelings in music in that [sonic] way. 

What were you listening to before you got into The Beatles?

It was a lot of folk at the time. I was in high school from 2013 to 2017 so that was the big Lumineers era. Which I love. I love The Lumineers. They’re great. But also just like I was in high school, so you know, classic high school pop, rap stuff. Which is also all great. But never super cool. 

Photo by Jade Sadler

What other music did you start listening to after doing LSD?

From there it goes The Beatles to Pink Floyd to Jimi Hendrix to The Beach Boys. Just the classics in terms of psychedelic rock. I spent a year really chewing on that, and then from there I got really into some electronic music. My partner introduced me to Culprit and The M Machine and then listening to a lot of Disclosure. Just really multidimensional production styles. I think electronic is an amazing way to convey psychedelia. And then my all-time love, Tame Impala. That is my go-to. I am obsessed. It represents so many amazing moments to me. 

I watched an interview with Noisey that you did recently, and you said that you were interested in being “the modern face of psychedelia.” 

Oh god. [laughs] Well, it depends on what day I’m feeling confident. [laughs] Toning that down—because that is so funny—I do think I would love to be a modern face of psychedelia. Maybe not the, but a

But yeah, I think it definitely needs a bit of a refresh. We’re in an interesting place culturally right now with psychedelics because it’s getting a little more mainstream. [Michael Pollan’s 2018 book] How to Change Your Mind changed my dad’s mind on psychedelics. There’s this old guard of people who grew up in the ’60s through the ’90s, they’re older now, and psychedelics are so different. Access to it and the culture around it is so, so different. 

As we’re approaching plant medicine in particular, this new wave of modern medicine, I think there needs to be a reestablishment of culture and philosophy surrounding psychedelics. To me, that’s my favorite part of psychedelia—your personal philosophy and the way it impacts consciousness. I would love to be able to talk more openly about that, rather than just being like, “Yes, plant medicine is good!” There’s deep philosophy around psychedelics. 

Plant medicines are so much more widely accessible and acceptable now compared to when I was growing up in the 2000s. 

Yeah, absolutely. I could imagine people who are way older than the both of us maybe being a little frustrated. Do you think they’re upset? They had to go through a lot. 

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I could definitely imagine some Boomers being like, “Back in my day!” The Boomers who were anti-drug, but also even Gen-Xers and Boomers who did psychedelics back in the day. Like, “It ain’t like what it used to be, I tell ya that!”

Yeah. [laughs] They have to gatekeep something.

Yeah, totally. [laughs] What is your philosophy around psychedelics and plant medicines?

I don’t know if I have one in particular. I do think it has related heavily to my politics. Just because, again, with LSD in particular… I think shrooms are so euphoric. They’re just a friendly experience. LSD is like, “I am baring my soul to the universe!” I’m unpacking a lot. So with LSD in particular and taking a lot of it in 2020 especially, [I’m] just having access to a deep backlog of subconsciousness. It was a crazy time [in 2020] and I feel like I was getting exposed to a system that feels like a failure. And also I’m interacting very heavily with my intersectionality—being able to contextualize myself and my personhood and just who I am and how that affects other people around me. 

The “deep backlog of subconsciousness” is a pretty cool phrase. 

Thank you. [laughs] It feels that way. I don’t know how else to describe it. It feels like the stuff that you sit on that you can feel but you can’t really verbalize just really comes to the forefront. 

You mentioned shrooms. Have you done any other kind of psychedelics or plant medicines?

Yes! I love a shroomer whenever. It feels really accessible. It feels like you can bring intention to shrooms—or maybe not and just be a little silly. 

I waited a long time before having experiences with MDMA, and I’ve had, I think, two or three experiences in the last year or two years with MDMA that have been very powerful for me. I know that’s not really plant medicine. [But] it was extremely beautiful. I mean, MDMA is MDMA so there’s going to be inherent positives to the feeling just from the jump. But I had a lot of house experiences, where I had all of my friends that I mentioned before in a big Airbnb just being able to sit inside and talk, and just really appreciate a lot of, you know, love. Which is the corniest thing I could say, but it’s true. It just was so much empathy and deep loving. To be able to share that with the people in my life who have been in my life for so long, it is extremely transformative. 

Tell me about this experience where you all were in this big Airbnb and all hanging out together.

It tends to be the move. Someone will be like, “Are we gonna do a little trip soon?” The MDMA experience—big living room, putting out a bunch of air mattresses, everyone being able to just hang out. Setting the scene. My friend Claire DJing, putting on some great music. It’s so funny, because it’s 10 people. We’re all doing supplements together. We’re taking it so seriously. We’re being nerds about it, and then just rolling together. There’s nothing more magical than being able to hug your best friend of so many years and tell them how much you love them and for them to be feeling so good and so excited and also so in love with themselves and everyone else around them. It’s pretty potently amazing. 

Do you have any recommendations for someone who is going to try out plant medicines for the first time? What should the atmosphere be?

I think [it should be] whatever you know is going to guarantee your most comfortable self. If you don’t know how you’re going to respond to an environment, one you’re not already acquainted with and comfortable in, don’t go there. Just be in your house or in your room. And definitely be with people you trust very deeply. 

I think music makes or breaks an experience, just even in positive thought. The music doesn’t have to be positive—but just things that make you feel positively [are important]. And also testing. Oh, my goodness. Harm reduction is so important. Please test what you’re taking. It’s so real these days, especially with other things like ketamine and MDMA especially. It’s worth the investment, and it’s always worth taking the extra step. 

Let’s take it back to the music. Do you write music while you’re on plant medicines, or do you put the songwriting aside?

Definitely put it aside. Anyone who says they’re recording music on psychedelics, I feel like you may be lying, because it’s so hard. To the people who can, that’s amazing. 

I am writing pretty consistently whether in my phone or journaling, while I’m having a lot of experiences. So there is a lot to pull from, but it is mainly just remembering the feeling and being able to bring the feeling into the room. My last record, Blotter Baby, was very much my attempt to feel through psychedelia and bring psychedelia to a record. It was really, really hard, and I think it’s because I’ve been such a fan of psychedelic music for so long. In some ways, I feel like I achieved it, and in others, I don’t. 

What was hard about it? 

I think making an album is hard in and of itself. Then me coming into the room, basically being like, “This is the type of record that I want to make,” and getting frustrated if we did or we didn’t. I think great psychedelic music probably happens by not thinking too hard in that sense. Putting that box around it made it daunting, for sure. 

But going back to that “deep backlog of subconsciousness,” I could see how even just that awareness can come to the fore in a lot of your songwriting. Does it? 

Definitely. Absolutely. And I mean, that was representative even in our silliest, goofiest song, “Dumb Dumb.” Elie, my producer and cowriter on everything, [he and I] definitely bring a lot of consciousness. Even if it starts in a place of, “Ooh, that might be a little too on the nose to say, let’s definitely work that into it but in an artful way.” Definitely that consciousness is present all the time. How that manifests is very different in each song. 

Obviously, I think the big psychedelic aspect of your music is your music videos. You’ve released several music videos with strong psychedelic visuals. How did that come about? 

I work with Joel Dudzik. He and I went to college together and he ended up moving to LA in that great migration as well. He’s an amazing producer and DJ, but he does a lot of creative direction work with me. He is just insane in Blender and all these other programs. He’s an incredible visual artist. 

When I was working through the record, I hadn’t worked with someone one-on-one in that way, and I had talked to him about it and talked to him about my vision for the record. He ended up coming back with some things that were so on the nose for what I wanted the visuals to look like, so we never looked back. He did all of my visuals on the whole record. 

It’s a little controversial—we used a lot of AI, because we wanted to experiment. We were using AI before Dali and ChatGPT had dropped, so we were already very interested in it. We were sort of navigating AI just as this boom about was about to explode. And we just found that through these visual AI programs, it looks a lot like psychedelic visuals a lot of the time. 

The videos are so intricately made. In the video for “are you feeling it now,” it looks like you filmed the video and then added stuff on top. 

Yes, that’s exactly what happened.

I really like how that video is filmed from a point-of-view perspective. It feels very TikTok.

Oh, yes, and that was very intentional. We had done a bunch of POV TikToks and it just hit really well. If you listen to the b-roll of us making these videos, we’re dying laughing and having a good time. Why not just really bring it home and have it be the music video?

Are these visuals similar to what you see when you actually trip?

Sometimes—not as scary as the video. We just loved getting a little spooky with it. But yeah, sometimes. Definitely sometimes. Visually especially. The whole song “Are You Feeling It Now” is about a trip experience, and experiencing it with someone else. So it was great. 

I can definitely see there’s a horror element with that, and some of the other visuals, too. It’s really intense, the visuals, and then some of them go into this ghoulish territory—bad trip territory. 

Which I feel slightly bad about, to be honest. I get a lot of comments of people being like, “This reminds me of my X, Y, and Z trip, it was so accurate!” I’m like, “Dang it, guys, I’m so sorry.” I do feel a little badly. But we just had so much fun making scenarios like that that I kind of got lost in it.

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