Santigold opens up about balancing tour life with motherhood & an over-saturated music industry

Santigold returns to Australia this month after a long time away and man, have some things changed for Santi White in the interim. Since 2012’s Master of My Make-Believe came out and saw Santigold up her live show game even more around the world, she’s since followed it up with this year with the release of 99¢.

With her latest US tour just behind her as we chat about her Australian return recently, focus turns to the 99¢ material Santigold has been working for the live stage. The songwriter comments on the challenges that have come with bringing a reinvigorated and boundary-pushing live show to fans (new and old).

“It’s good,” she says. “Some of the songs are fucking hard, though! When we start the show and then do all this choreography too, but [by the end of] the first bit of the show, we’re almost dying! Sometimes you write stuff in the studio and you don’t think about doing that shit, and it’s hard. It can be done, but it’s fucking challenging. I lost my voice right at the beginning of the last tour, so that was not fun. I had to postpone shows; just finishing the tour was really sketchy, I barely made it. It’s a sucky element, to have to contend with that as you’re trying give people a good show.”

Trying to give people a solid live show, producing music that not only can garner attention and remain true to your own creative aesthetic and bending to the changing nature of accessing music are elements of the music business Santigold frequently questions. Since becoming a first-time mother this year to the insanely cute Radek, she admits there have been moments where she’s questioned whether being part of an entertainment business as it is now, lines up with the ideals she entered it with when Santogold came out in 2008.

“I was like, ‘Is this worth it?’” she laughs. “To be completely honest, I could be like, ‘This fucking sucks and I’ve got this awesome guy here who has nothing to do with it’. Quitting touring wouldn’t be something I’d want to do because of him, the thought would be because of everything else, about how much everything else has changed in the music world. If the values of the entertainment business are still line with my values and if they’re not, is it still worth it for me? It’s definitely a conversation I have with myself.”

“It’s [music] more accessible than ever,” she agrees. “I think it’s completely oversaturated. It’s a blessing because yes, you can find so many different types of music and you could find so many things you wouldn’t have found otherwise. It’s great if you have time to sit there and go through all this stuff to find the good stuff and people love it. On the flipside, when you’re putting music out it’s so hard, because it’s so hard to get people’s attention and hold it.”

Living in and creating music in an age where social media controls a high percentage of all movement and is a constant reminder of the evermore limited attention spans of the wider public, Santi admits that it can be hard to remain on top of it all, especially if Instagramming every aspect of your day isn’t something you’re ready to commit to in your personal life, much less as part of your career.

“You can do so many different things,” she says. “You’ll only have people’s attention for two or three days, no matter what you do, unless you do something for shock value. Or unless you’re always out there and always putting stuff out constantly. If you’re doing that, how much quality can be in it, if it’s just a matter of rushing to put stuff out?”

“Social media’s just a huge part of maintaining people’s attention, which is a whole other thing in itself; you have to really commit to constantly documenting every second of what you’re doing and sharing it. That’s a certain type of personality and the values have shifted as well. Are people responding to the music or they responding to the fact that you’re constantly out there in their face and hanging out with celebrities? It’s more accessible and it is saturated but it’s also harder to be heard, in a way.”

Of course, now Santi has factored in motherhood into her lifestyle of being an in-demand performer, it’s understandable that some things would be pulled more into perspective. While touring is clearly an arena where Santigold still shines, she opens up about the influence baby Radek has had on her professional life, for the better.

“I was a little bit scared of what it was going to be like trying to do it all with a child, this whole cycle as a new mum.” she admits. “I was especially scared of what touring was going to be like, but honestly, having him there has been the easiest part of it and it was a really fun thing, to have him on the road. Everywhere we went it was like, ‘Disneyland’s right here – let’s go to Disneyland!’. It was pretty fun to have him on the road. It turned out that the thing I was worried about ended up not being the hard thing.”

“It’s been interesting to do these shows,” she adds of the new production she’s been touring and is preparing for Australian fans. “It’s interesting, because they’ve definitely been to some people who haven’t seen me before and it’s pretty cool to see how the audience changes and grows.”

We can’t wait.

Santigold appears at Splendour in the Grass on July 23rd. She also plays two sideshows in Melbourne and Sydney – tickets are available via Live Nation, HERE.

July 20th | Prince Bandroom, MELBOURNE
July 22nd | Metro Theatre, SYDNEY

 

 

 

 

 

 

Header image: Christelle de Castro.

Santigold plays Splendour in the Grass on July 23rd. She also has some special sideshows lined up for Sydney and Melbourne – head to Live Nation for ticketing details!

July 20th | Prince Bandroom, MELBOURNE
July 22nd | Metro Theatre, SYDNEY

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