The sound eclecticism of Santigold Spirituals – El Sol de México


It is inevitable to think of Santigold or listen to her without going back to 2007, that time when millions of people had already migrated their musical consumption towards Internet and in which some platforms that today seem omnipresent, such as social networks, were not yet sufficiently developed.

Those were days in which thousands or millions of artists made themselves known through MySpace, and in which a certain air of renewal was breathed, as recalled by Santi White herself, better known as Santigold, who precisely in that year his first songs, before releasing his first LP in 2008:

It was a really special moment in the culture in general, because there was so much going on in the world, that really gave people a sense of hope. I think the art was really flourishing at the time, and in USA that coincided with the election in which Obama won, something that was also very emotional for me as a black American woman”.

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Regarding the musical (and technological) part of those days, remember:

“It was a time when you felt a kind of openness, an opportunity to move forward and do something different thanks to the internet and platforms like my spacethanks to which suddenly people didn’t have to depend on record companies anymore because there you could connect directly with the fans, and that changed everything for people like me, who didn’t fit in… Well, I still don’t fit in, because even though I do black music then feel like I don’t fit into any genre, but what happened that year brought some real freshness in cultural consciousness, plus the music was great that year… It was like heralding a new era that I think spread until 2012, when I released my second album”.

A decade later, the music landscape has changed enough, as have the political and technological ones.

After enjoying the status of a new figure in music for several years, thanks to the success of songs like “Creator”, “LES Artistes” and “Disparate Youth”, and rubbing shoulders with artists like Diplo, Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs ), Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio) or Julian Casablancas, and even appearing in television commercials, the artist has continued, working on albums like 99¢ (2016) and on mixtapes like I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions (2018), and even writing songs for artists like Ashlee Simpson, Scissor Sisters, and Christina Aguilera.

After a four-year musical break, in May 2022 the artist returned to show signs of life with the release of “High priestess”, the first single from her fourth album, which was followed by “Ain’t ready”, another preview of said production in which Santigold has the collaboration of old acquaintances such as Rostam Batmanglij, Boys Noize, Nick Zinner (also from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Dre Skull, along with new faces like Illangelo, Lido, and SBTRKT.

spirituals is the name that this fourth production will bear, which is his first LP in six years and the first to be released independently, through his own record label.

The album was largely recorded during the pandemic, after the artist had recovered from a creative crisis, which she recalls as follows:

“Suddenly I was there, with three children out of school – two two-year-old twins and a six-year-old twin – cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and changing diapers from morning to night. I was losing touch with the artist in me, stuck in a part of myself that was too small… I felt like the other parts of me were shrinking or disappearing.”

That was how he began to make phone calls and recruit different producers, with whom he would begin to shape what until then had only been loose ideas:

“Recording this album was a way back to myself, after being stuck in survival mode. It wasn’t until I made the space to create that I realized I wasn’t just creating music, but a lifeline…California was on fire, we were hiding from the virus and the social justice protests were taking place… I had never written so many lyrics so fast in my life. I just started to look where I thought we were going, to create beauty and go to that place, something that I needed for myself, but that is there, for whoever needs it”.

ECLECTICISM DEFINES IT

But what do these new songs sound like? How is the soundtrack that the artist wanted to create for this new era, so different from that of 2007?

“The songs are very different from each other, so I couldn’t say they have the same sound. There is one called “My horror” that sounds like a dream or rather like a nightmare. There’s “Shake” which sounds like you’re in church and your body picks up the spirit, I think there’s something Tom Tom Clubbecause of that typical mix of sounds, but it’s about struggle and resilience, how we gain power through struggle.”

On the single “Ain’t Ready”, she says that it is a song that she brought out together with Illangelo, Dre Skull and Sbtrkt, in what she considers “another true collaboration of such distinguished and amazing talent”.

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“It was one of those songs where I barely opened my mouth and the whole melody came out -he continues-, there were no words but all the emotion was present. To me, the song sounded full of hardship and perseverance. It sounded like a battle and I wanted the production to be tough, to reflect that effort. At first I had a hard time finding the right lyrics, but when I got them I started singing them one night in my studio, alone, and I cried… That song was my own fight song. It’s about taking the knocks that life throws at you and getting back up. It’s about change and moving on. It is about faith and vision. And it’s about assuming your own power,” she adds.

She also highlights “Fall first”, a song that she sees as an attempt to punk rock, but futuristic, with voices that go from the back to the front, and “The lasty”, which is sadder, since it is inspired by the case of George Floyd, although in a different way: “It’s a kind of invented story of a guy who goes out and becomes a martyr for the future of people, more or less that’s where he goes “.

In fact, he assures that although there are new elements within this formula, in general what we can hear on this new album is closely related to Santigold’s eclectic style:

“I think there’s a lot of the sound that you already know, although I think there’s also a lot of things that might sound a little different. But it all sounds like Santigold, I definitely like mixing and I think there are songs that are very different from what I’ve done before.

She adds that she is very excited to finally be able to release her music herself, on her own label, Little Jerk Records:

“That’s a big step forward and I think it happened at the perfect time, so I’m really excited about the possibility of having a direct relationship with my fans where we don’t need an intermediary and where I can learn from them and from them. what they like, that is, to have a real conversation with them, but in a different way than it happens in social networks, but in a more realmore direct, so hopefully I can build something like that in this process.”

IT DIVERSIFIES

It also highlights his interest in diversifying and taking his creative concerns to other areas, outside of music. Hence, we have seen her collaborating with brands for lines of shoes, accessories and cosmetics, in addition to having comedic roles in office Y NTSF:SD:SUVfrom Adult Swim.

This is how you have found on platforms like the cinematheater, literature and even marketing different opportunities to express yourself:

“I’ve been tired of the cycle of making records and touring,” she explains as she discusses her multidisciplinary interests. “I want to branch out into all forms of art, and I’m very excited to take my music to new places.”

He confesses that in this sense, the greatest challenge has been to carry out various projects before others believe in them.

“In fact, it has been difficult for me to be able to concentrate on one thing, and that is why during the pandemic I took advantage of the fact that I had a little more time and I was able to advance in several of my projects… I really like being creative beyond music and always I have many other things to share.”

This is how 2022 paints for this artist, a woman tirelessly and continuously on the move, who on the other hand is aware that she no longer lives in that glorious 2007, not even in 2012:

“I think the culture is definitely stuck again right now, I think social media has a lot of negative qualities and there’s a lot of focus on the wrong things right now. There’s a lot going on in the world that is so heavy and I think it’s easier to numb yourself into living in virtual worlds than it is to deal with it. There are so many discouraging things that are happening, like Roe vs. Wadethere are many fights and sometimes we also get tired of fighting, of being afraid, it’s very disappointing, I think people get tired, that’s why they fall asleep again, whether it’s with drugs, with video games or whatever”.

Before saying goodbye, and in order not to close the conversation in such a hopeless way, he says that he can’t wait to play again in Mexico:

“I always ask my team if we haven’t been invited to go, so please do. I would really love it, I need to go back to Mexico, because it is one of my favorite places and I know it will happen… I know I will go with this album!”

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Source-www.elsoldemexico.com.mx