The unique artistic vision that is Santigold burst onto the scene with her debut album in 2008. Back then the Philadelphian born Santi White was known as Santogold, but in 2009 she changed to her current moniker. She’s written for other artists including Lily Allen and Ashlee Simpson, but now she’s got a new record Master of My Make-Believe, as well as single Disparate Youth. The 35-year-old is an intimidating solo performer, but she’s also known for her collaborations. I asked her to recall her favourites (both her own and others).
Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith – Walk This Way
I remember being so excited as a little kid about the video. Back then, hip-hop was new and that crazy hair band look was so insane. Coming through the hole with that hair and the lips, visually it was amazing, but the merging of rock and hip-hop at the time was pretty groundbreaking.
Santigold and David Byrne – Please Don’t
I worked with David Byrne on a song for his record. Just the fact that it was David Byrne who was coaching me on how he wanted it was the most amazing thing because he’s one of my heroes. That he even wanted me for his project was a compliment. He said my show was the best show he’d ever seen and it just blew me away. He’s seen so many and his own shows are the most amazing. It pretty much made my year.
Amadou & Mariam (feat. Santigold) – Dougou Badia
I just worked with Amadou and Mariam. That was really special because it was so outside of what I normally do. They’re a blind couple from Mali. They compose on an acoustic guitar. We’re sitting in a hotel room on the bed playing guitar. They’re wanting me to sing along. They wrote the part on the spot and I was like, ‘can I go and do something on my computer?’ Once we got into it, it really came alive.
David Bowie and Queen – Under Pressure
It’s a masterful piece of music, a piece of artwork to aspire to. I didn’t even really know who Queen was. I don’t think that Freddie Mercury is really one of the people who’ve influenced me, but I was watching some old VH1 footage of Queen and he’s an amazing performer.
Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre
This is the best collaboration ever. For a whole album, or period of a career. It’s one of those magic combinations that works so well. Sometimes you’ve got this chemistry.
Master of My Make-Believe is out on 23rd April. Disparate Youth is out now.