When we hung out with Spankrock at Jimmy Kimmel a few weeks ago, one of the treats of the performance was the effortless singing of Santi White, aka Santogold. Every time she tilted her chin slightly toward the ceiling and opened her mouth a gust of amazing soul would blow our wigs back, and we wondered when we would hear something new from her. We already knew she was bad (as you can read in Santi’s Gen F from F43 after the jump), but we didn’t expect anything like the Switch and FreQNasty-produced “Creator,” just posted on Santogold’s MySpace. It is crazily wobbly and more than slightly reminiscent of another gal currently working with Switch, but it’s also already a contender for jam of the early Spring.
What Santogold’s been sifting for
By Lindsey Caldwell
New York’s Santi White is changing everything. After multiple turbulent years trying to hold her beloved punk-n-ska inspired band Stiffed together–and then another tow years dealing with the death of ther father–White’s got some shit on her mind and it’s coming out as Santogold. “When stuff was going on years ago, groups like Public Enemy talked about it,” she says. “Now people are like, ‘Did you see Lost yesterday?’ I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love Lost, I love The Office and all that stuff. I don’t watch the news, but I know what’s going on, and I think it’s sort of been coming out in my music.”
Santogold (a nickname she got from a classmate back in the ’80′s for her sister-girl style) is a project that’s all about Santi: new band, programmed beats, tons of reggae influences, an impressive list of producers and collaborators, all spiked with Whites’s varying vocal styles. In her new song “LES Artistes” she addresses the way folks tend to front like they’re something they’re not. “I’m an old school artist,” she says. “I don’t care about looking the part all the time, and in the modern entertainer world it’s all about looking the part. In fact, you don’t even have to have anything beyond that. If you look the part then you are the part. I just can’t be bothered half the time.”
Martin Heath of Lizard King– the label that signed and developed the Killers– spotted White at a Stiffed show. They met up and he gave her the go ahead for an EP, and later a full length. “I appreciate him,” White says of Heath. “He’s a music guy–he’s not from New York and he doesn’t necessarily fit in with the music people here, but that’s what it takes sometimes to get some good shit going.” It took a minute to convince Heath to let White completely control her entire project, but he came around after a bit of coaxing (and some not so good pairings with pop producers).
White was eventually left to her own devices, so she teamed up with producers including FreQNasty, Switch, Disco D, Spankrock’s Naeem and XXXchange and others. John Hill, who is also a former member of Stiffed, was her partner thoughout the project, and together they assembled the album in three weeks. Talks of crazy dance party-inducing shows and more collaborations have left White fearless for her solo project. “Now that I’m by myself,” she says, “I’m not by myself, which is good.”