Pop Music’s Messiah?

Santi White a.k.a Santogold

Can American dwelling singer, songwriter, producer and above all “artist” Santi White a.k.a Santogold truly be the long awaited messiah for pop music?

The immense hype surrounding the emergence of Santogold in this coming year has been noted by almost every major music authority both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean. Yet cast an ear far enough back through this sassy-songstress’s CV and you’ll find not just an abundance of industry experience (including writing and producing R’n’B artists Res debut record How I Do) but a list of references that reads more like a hip New York street party bill than a potential list of collaborators. However, this list is as legit’ as her street talkin’ twang.

We just have a little network of friends, I think that we all really support and inspire each other.

In a sea of “likes” and “you knows?” yet in no way waffly, Santogold reflects; “That has been so crucial right now for my inspiration, is the fact that over the last couple of years I’ve really met some of the most amazing friends and artists. We just have a little network of friends, I think that we all really support and inspire each other. People like Spank Rock, Diplo, Switch, M.I.A, and Trouble Andrew my boyfriend. There are so many people around New York and Phily right now who are really solid people and I think we’ve all been really supportive together and really glad to have found each other.”

Indeed, Santogold’s gratitude is as genuine as her willingness to talk VERY seriously about music. Oozing an almost unnatural degree of confidant self-awareness, (an attribute that also manifests brilliantly in her lyrics), it’s no surprise that this all-knowing musical mistress has no hesitations articulating her thoughts about her role as an artist. “I think of myself as a pop writer. I’m into catchy hooks and melodies that stick in your head. That’s the part of me that I gravitate towards and I’m defiantly more, the type of person who listens to music in their car or like, at home than I am into (one’s that) go out to clubs. So the songs that resonate with me, are songs that like, have a life five years after it was put out. I like songs, you know, well-written songs. Songs that people can relate to structurally, songs you can sing along to. I am completely not into this formula, like, you know, pop formula. I just think the value in that genre has been completely lost.”

And in light of her observation, a mere listen to Les Artistes, the first stellar single for Santogold will have you hooked into her sombre, song-orientated world that squirts cool an traps you with a certain poignancy only similar to the first time you heard Crazy by Gnarls Barkley. A pop classic, yet void of the usual generic bangs that become less electric with repeated listens, it’s no surprise that Santogold is the chosen one from a flood of newcomers in 2008. So much so, I had to ask, what could possibly bring Santi White down?

“I really hate easy comparisons. I also hate when people make quick judgements. Like this is fact rather than they’re like this is my opinion, you know? When people say, you know, “these are who your influences are, what do you think about that?” Rather than saying, “what are your influences?” You know? I really think of my music as outside of a genre it’s pretty much a mix of all these different sounds and different genres, and they’ll be like, “Santogold is a rapper” you know or “Santogold is a dance hybrid artist”. It’s just comes down to people and their need to totally classify and totally get you to pick something that doesn’t even work. You know?”

I really hate easy comparisons. I also hate when people make quick judgements.

Work or not, the virtue of Santogold’s blend of dub, rap, punk but above all pop, will be in the listening, with her debut album due this year, and a hectic summer festival calendar booked, including SXSW, Coachella and Glastonbury, it’s going to take more than wayward classifications (and dare we say mud) to halt her charge. “I’ve only really gone to Glastonbury one time and that’s when I was a teenager. I went randomly with The Roots, they are old friends of mine from when I was a teenager and I met up with them in Paris and ended up going with them to Glastonbury, and honestly, the only thing I can remember about it was the doughnut’s. Absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to have a doughnut again!”

Alas, even messiahs have to eat!

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