When you hear Santigold, you know it’s Santigold. The fact of the matter is, this Philadelphia-born, musically-diverse performer knows exactly what she wants out of her own material, and will take as much time as she needs to get there.
After four long years since the release of her debut album, 2008’s aptly titled Santogold, Santi White is back with her sophomore record, Master Of My Make Believe – an 11-track record that, although diverse in its genres, flows from start to finish. Speaking with Santi, it’s blatantly obvious that she’s exactly where she wants to be; making the music that she loves for the fans that she loves even more.
“I feel really good about [the album], and I especially feel good that it’s finally coming out. You know, it’s been a long process and I’m just so glad that it’s out already. It’s actually been done – or mostly done – for a really long time, so I’m so happy that people are finally able to hear it.”
A perfectionist in her own right, the four years between both albums was not something that the Creator intentionally made happen. Rather, after engrossing herself with performing and finetuning each facet of the new record, Santigold admits that time really does fly when you’re having fun. And if you’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking with her, you’ll know just how much fun this girl can have – giggling her way through the entire interview. I felt like I’d met my long lost giggle twin.
“Honestly, I toured for the first two years [after the release of Santogold], so I think that I took an extra year more than what most people do to tour apparently...and I only realised that afterwards. But my manager at the time suggested that I keep touring because the want was there, and I was really grateful to have people that wanted to see the show. I thought that it was really important to build a real fan base – especially nowadays when peoples tastes are so [individual]...People are so trendy in their music taste and, when you have a real fan base, that’s something that can’t be taken away really.”
Like any good artist, Santi’s music is a true definition of herself, and if Santogold wasn’t a reflection of that, then Master Of My Make Believe definitely is. Tracks like Big Mouth and Go!, featuring the immaculate vocals of Yeah Yeah Yeah's frontwoman, Karen O, began the introduction to what we were to expect from the upcoming album – or so we thought. Listening to Master Of My Make Believe, it’s evident that numerous new influences have helped shaped the singer as she delves into genres that she may have never thought that she would. Yep, she even tries her hand at her version of a ballad.
“I didn’t set out saying that ‘Oh, I want to make it sound different.’ But...it’s been a while [between records], and I’ve grown as an artist and, naturally, I’m going to push myself to higher standards, and I think that the music evolved ‘cause I’ve evolved. Maybe I was a little bit more ambitious as well, trying to make songs that, I dunno, sound really big in some ways, like Riot’s Gone or God From The Machine. Riot’s Gone is quite a different song for me because it’s my version of a ballad, which I’ve never done before. I don’t know, I guess that I took some different kinds of risks.”
Collaborating with some of music’s most prestigious musicians and producers in the past, the calibre of appearances for this album was nothing short of perfection.
“I don’t work with people unless I get a twitch to work with [them]. I’m very particular when it comes [to the people that I work with], because when I do collaborations, I want them to be good. I wouldn’t work with somebody unless I knew that they were amazing, and that I wanted to work with them.”
But what’s a good artist if their live performances don’t perfectly reflect, if not excel, their recorded tracks? Well, Santigold wouldn’t know. With live performances that get every crowd on the same hyperactive, dance-induced wavelength, Miss Santi understands what it means to keep her audiences constantly entertained.
“They’re high energy, and they’re fun. There’s a lot of dancing and movement and, also, visually, there’s a lot to take in. We’ve got costumes, and props, and dancers and a band...It’s decked out. I mean, there’s just so much going on. It’s very visual, and I really try to give a physical presence to the songs.”
BY SIMONE ZIADA
Master Of My Make Believe is out now through Atlantic Records UK/Warner Music Australia.