New album is about ‘accepting that your fantasy is actually your reality,’ Santi tells MTV News.
By James Montgomery


When it came time for Santigold to begin work on the follow-up to her breakout self-titled debut, she had to change more than just her name; she had to readjust her entire view on reality.

“I really had to get a grasp on what the process was for this record … and what I was experiencing. And, really, the process for me of making this record was mastering my make-believe,” she said. “It was really about navigating through my own reality; navigating through my mind, my emotions and realizing that I was in control. I had to trust my vision and my creativity and really own the art I was making and own my experience in life, and claim it. I really do believe that our view on the world is what the world is; how we view ourselves is what we are … we really are in control of our lives and ourselves and our world, but only if we take control.”

And take control she does on the upcoming Master of My Make-Believe, an album that is, first and foremost, a mission statement, Santi’s ode to self-empowerment and self-awareness. But despite what the title may suggest, it is most definitely not an escapist fantasy. Rather than withdraw from the increasingly surreal times in which we live, she’s suggesting we do the complete opposite.

“It’s about accepting that your fantasy is actually your reality, and trusting your imagination, and trusting that your imagination is actually a real sense of knowing,” she explained. “It was my second record, so I really wrongly thought I had it all under control going into it. I was like, ‘OK, I got this, I know how to make a record, I know who I’m working with,’ so the first thing was to realize that was completely wrong. The other thing was, last time I had John Hill sort of as my partner throughout the record; I worked with a lot of people, but John was always there. This time, the only person that was always there was me. That was a big change, and I had to grow into accepting that. It took a tremendous amount of trust in myself.”

While all that may lead you to believe that Make-Believe is all heady and conceptual, well, take a listen to first single a staggering, swaggering slab of electro strut (courtesy of producer Ricky Blaze) and guitar stabs (courtesy of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner) that is — as Santi put it — very much “for the clubs.” But it’s also a lot more.

“That song took me, like, three months to write the lyrics. First, Ricky sent me a track that was amazing, and visually, it reminded me of this day when me, Diplo and John Hill went out on this boat, and John was seasick; he was throwing up over the side,” she laughed. “And we were going really fast on this speedboat, and I was just holding on, sitting cross-legged on the very front of the boat, and my body was just, like, flying, like I could have been thrown off at any minute. And this guy was playing this old reggae through these little speakers, and it was blown out and distorted, and it was such a visual memory that stayed with me, and this song kind of felt like that.

“But lyrically, I was trying to talk about what I want for the world and what I want people to be,” she continued. “The youth are the hope of the future, and I want people to have the courage to trust their own vision and instincts and make up the truth for themselves and question what’s told to them.”

Will you check out Santigold’s new project? Let us know in the comments!

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