Salvador Santana has been involved with music professionally since 1999, although this journey has begun for him, from his birth as he is the son of the great guitarist Carlos Santana and has two well-known grandparents in the music business aswell. From his mother’s side, Saunders King, a well-known blues singer, and from his father’s side, Jose Santana, who is a violinist and the leader of a mariachi band.
Salvador, however, has already made his own career in the field, either as a member of SSB (Salvador Santana Band) or as a solo artist. He writes music and lyrics, performs and produces various projects for other artists, which has earned him his first Grammy Award so far, for his collaboration with his father for the song “El Farol”, included in Carlos’ award-winning “Supernatural” album.
Being a great fan of his father, I did not long to feel his presence in the music scene and to admire the originality of his work, which won me easily! Salvador is one of a kind and does not compare himself to the big “heads” of his family! Now, it’s time to get to know him better through the exclusive interview he gave at SounDarts.gr!
Salvador, it is our great honor to have you in SounDarts.gr.
Thank you and likewise!
Please, tell us some things about your current activities and your ordinary priorities.
As always I feel really grateful and blessed, lately I’ve been working on multiple projects. I recently dropped a couple remixes. One for my homie Soup from J5 and another for my home girl Val Fluery. I also got to compose an original score for a short film titled Leather Bound. Mainly, I’ve been producing, collaborating with a variety of artists and composing for film and television.
Every musical genre has its own meaning. What does hip-hop mean to you?
To me hip hop is more than just a genre in music… hip hop is a worldwide movement.
Hip-hop or jazz? If you have to pick one of them, which one would you choose and why?
I can’t pick just one because I’m constantly inspired by both.
Your family consists of great musicians. Was that the main reason that led you to music?
Yes, because it’s in my DNA. I didn’t choose to create music, music chose me.
You are a qualified and gifted artist concerning your origins, your progress and your career so far. How easy it is to carry the name “Santana”?
Just like in life, there are advantages and disadvantages. Everyday I remain honored and grateful because I acknowledge and appreciate the love and sacrifice my family (on both sides, in flesh and in spirit) gave so that I can enjoy my life.
Have your father ever played a catalytic role in making a decision, either to protect you or to encourage you?
Both my mother and father always said to give a thousand percent towards whatever I’m involved in, as long as I’m not harming myself or others.
There are people who may not know about your social interests and how much beneficial your projects are. As you’ve said, you are in a constant journey to change the world. Do you want to tell us something more specific about it?
I’ve been staying active within my community… standing for immigrants and equal rights and standing against social injustices. I believe we’re all put on this planet to make a difference. Like John Coltrane said, “one positive thought creates millions of positive vibrations.” and like Maya Angelo said “…people are gonna remember you by how you made them feel…”. I create art and music to inspire people while reminding them to stay motivated and to enjoy life.
You have already worked with several artists on stage and in the studio as well. What are the essential ingredients for a successful collaboration?
Yeah, for me the main thing is to basically get out of your own way, meaning egos must be checked at the door. When that happens it makes it a lot easier for the artists to showcase their talents and create some incredible art or music.
Do you like to experiment or do you want to move on your best known musical paths?
I like to combine the best of both worlds. I have a vision that I keep while creatively exploring the unknown. With that in mind, I’m always in for a surprise.
Are there any artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Yeah, but I can’t say because I don’t want to jinx anything. ha! However, I am super honored and grateful for the collaborations I’ve been involved in so far: Money Mark, Gza, Del The Funky Homosapien, Soup Charli 2Na Dj Nu Mark (J5), Asdru Sierra & Jose Espinoza (Ozomatli), Wayne Jobson… Just to name a few.
The musical genre you have chosen is different than your father’s. Inevitably, there is a comparison with his music. Was this a problem in your career so far?
I don’t really pay attention to the comparisons or the differences. I remain focused on being present in every moment and allowing the creative process to unfold.
Have you ever visited Greece ?
Yes! I got to spend some time in Athens back in summer 2009. I was there on tour with my father performing in his band at the time; we performed at the new Olympic stadium.
What do you recall from your visit here?
I had a day off in between the show and a travel day so I went with a couple of band and crewmembers to see the Acropolis. It was incredible! Lord willing I’ll have the opportunity to come back and visit again real soon.
What are your future plans? Maybe we have the chance to hear something new from you soon?
I’m finishing up an album that I collaborated with Asdru Sierra lead singer of Ozomatli. The project is called, “The Remixikanz”. I plan to release it before the year is over.
Is there anything that you would like to add which hasn’t been mentioned since this moment of the interview?
Yeah, here’s my website and social info so you and anyone can keep up with my creative adventures.
Discography & ID : Salvador Santana
Interview/Translation: Thodoris Kolliopoulos
Questionnaire: Elektra Limniou