NYC’s queen of cool Santigold on the musical tastes she inherited from her dad, her career start and how to earn respect as a female artist.
Prior to 2007, Santi White’s biggest impact on the music industry happened in the background, as the Philadelphia-raised artist worked as a major label A&R rep and wrote songs for other artists. She also logged time as the frontwoman of punk outfit Stiffed, but eventually left the group to pursue a solo career. In 2008, White issued her self-titled debut LP as Santigold, which featured production and guest appearances from Diplo, Switch, Sinden, Disco D and Radioclit, amongst others, while combining bits of new wave, reggae, punk, electro, soul, funk, dancehall and more into a particularly compelling post-everything stew. The critically acclaimed record quickly found an audience, and White received a further boost when a Diplo-helmed mixtape, Top Ranking, surfaced just a few months later. Since then, she’s continued to work with a wide range of all-star collaborators – she appeared on a Beastie Boys single in 2011, and her 2012 sophomore album Master of My Make-Believe included contributions from Karen O, Q-Tip, Dave Sitek, Boys Noize and others. The third Santigold album, 99¢, is arriving in early 2016, and once again finds the shapeshifting pop chameleon enlisting a diverse crew, including iLoveMakonnen, Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, Hit Boy and numerous others. Without question, White’s rolodex runs deep, but what’s truly impressive is how she’s managed to develop and maintain such a singular artistic voice, regardless of who she’s working with.