Santogold to release self-titled
Santi White mixes electronic beats with punk guitars and New Wave synths under the name Santogold. After studying Cuban, Haitian and West African hand drumming at Wesleyan, White got a job in the A&R department of Epic Records in New York. When friend, the alt-R&B singer Res, called for advice on finding a producer, White left her job to write and produce Res' ahead-of-its-time debut, How I Do, which combined rock, reggae and R&B.
Release date: 04/22/08
Label: Downtown Records
Buy at: Amazon
White, who went solo after singing in the punk band Stiffed and working with fellow Stiffed member John Hill as co-producer, recorded her debut album, Santogold (Downtown Records-April 2008). The album ranges from the dub-influenced "Shove It" to "L.E.S. Artistes," which sounds like a Cars/Strokes mash-up, to "Creator," which strongly resembles her friend M.I.A.'s latest album. "Nina Simone and HR from Bad Brains are my two biggest vocal influences," she says.
The key track "L.E.S. Artistes," has picked up airplay at Alternative as the lyrics blast pretentious downtowners, but the guitars epitomize New York hipness.
Björk invited her on tour; Mark Ronson recruited her to co-write a song for Lily Allen; Spank Rock regularly pulls her onstage; and M.I.A.'s producers Diplo and Switch volunteered to work on her wildly eclectic debut. "Santi has a wonderfully bizarre approach to melody and lyrics and has no care for conforming to mainstream guidelines," says Ronson. "I envy that."
Despite playing venues as large as Madison Square Garden, White is still getting comfortable onstage. "I'm not a ham," she says. But she doesn't want her audience to be limited to hipsters either. "I want a lot of people to hear my music," she says. "Who doesn't like a pop song?"
Santogold is a survivor of a half-century worth of living along musical evolution's most cutting edges. The only live act that can boast of having out-aged Barbara Bush, having outlived Mr. Miyagi and out-styled Liberace, Santogold is here with future flavor.
Already receiving weighty club rotation and airplay in urban Afghanistan and downtown Beirut, Santogold is the first act of the century to boast a post-war following on the International Space Station Mir. Following a live performance broadcast from three thousand miles off the Cape of Good Hope last June, inmates at Leavenworth Penitentiary received Santogold with a celebratory confetti parade. Just another first for the modern super group that knows no bound.
Composed of absolutely no members, Santogold is also the first musical outfit capable of claiming the planet's broiling collective consciousness as their front woman. Longtime collaborator, singer and songwriter Santi White says of her work with Santogold, "We began trying to write pop songs to sell, which made us depressed, so we started writing songs for ourselves instead." The results of that self-centered conceit is the songwriting work heard for the first time on the full length Santogold album, as yet untitled, to be released in 2007 on the Lizard King label.
As unmastered tracks leaked over the internet this past November, the request lines of radio stations from Miami to Hanoi began freezing with a flood of calls from listeners eager to hear the new Santogold sound over their frequencies. From his radio show in the United Arab Emirates capital city of Abu Dhabi, Michael Jackson (the King of Pop) played what Santogold snippets he had been able to pirate from a bootleg MySpace page dedicated to the group. Days later, BBC Radio One reported that the unreleased Santogold debut was heard blasting from the iPod shuffle of Libyan ruler Moammar Qaddafi as he entered an international summit in the Nigerian capital of Abuja. Recognizing the urgent need to address the uproarious buzz, Santogold released the following statement through their label reps at Lizard King: "The response to our unmastered songs has been both premature and phenomenal! We were happy to hear that the children of Darfur have found hope in our melodic interpretation of life on the battlefield of love! We're hoping that each and every 20-something from downtown San Francisco to central Mumbai will also learn something from our work! And to the people dropping no-knock fire on old ladies in Atlanta: shame on you! Santogold ain't with that shit!"
The trajectory of such early successes leading to newfound political clout is nothing new for Santogold, whose debut album, though half a century in the making, is sure to rock glass pipes from the Lincoln Memorial to Buckingham palace. The flavor of the gold is guaranteed: Santogold!
"The future of music, today" (10 Artists To Watch) -- Rolling Stone
"Future-pop princess...Next Big Thing" -- Spin
"Singing in a haunting, sensual wail...she adds a layer of softness to an unusual mix of synthesizers, dance-hall rhythms and percolating new wave" -- The New York Times
"self-titled" by Santogold - release date: 04/22/08..