Artist performs positive music to inspire and uplift listeners
Eddie Solis Jr.
THE SANTA CLARA
May 12, 2014
The Bay Area is a diverse place, where multiple cultures and backgrounds intermingle. Solo artist Salvador Santana and his music are a reflection of that spirit. His tracks are as diverse and eclectic as the Marin, Calif. region that raised him.
“I create music from all kinds of genres, whether it be Latin-influenced, hip-hop, rock, jazz and much more,” said Santana. “Everything I do, I make it conscious, meaning I make music to inspire and uplift.”
He is a man of many musical talents. He composes, raps in a style more accurately described as spoken word, writes songs and kills any keyboard he touches. With the help of a vocoder that makes him sound like Daft Punk, he also explores vocals.
In preparation of his forthcoming album, “Fantasy Reality,” set to be released this summer, he brought together sounds from different genres and cultures from around the world, along with vibes of his previous albums to mesh together a new record.
“I’ve said it before that my music is a new blend, but I would also describe it as a new genre that I’ve been trying to push, and that’s ‘Life.’ I play ‘Life,’” said Santana. “Every type of music that you hear in this lifetime, past, present and the future — I play it all, because I know that it all has a profound impact for each and every person.”
Taking an inventory of his sound, Santana employs his own smooth raps and matches them with the gospel-sounding vocals of Alex Nester. Layer that on top of Latin-inspired fiesta songs begging you to shake your hips, or bassy reggae beats to bob your head to, and you start to hear this new “Life” genre that Santana is talking about.
The challenge with any pioneer, however, is getting people to buy into what you’re doing. For that to work, it has to be cohesive. It has to gel. The catchy party-starting track “Baby You Know” exemplifies the best of what Santana has to offer. It is an upbeat love song that blends his well-thought-out musical composition, easy-to-love chorus and flavorful verses. And while songs like “Rise Up” have an empowering message, the juxtaposition of genres could prove too taxing for listeners to appreciate.
As a solo artist, Santana already has an album and an EP under his belt, “Keyboard City” and “Rise Up,” respectively. He’s constantly striving to take the best of what he’s done and build off that.
In addition to being the best version of himself as a musician, Santana also has to live up to the Santana name — that of his father, Carlos. Yes, Carlos Santana. The 10-time Grammy winner instilled the importance of musical structure into his son’s style. While Santana recognizes that his name is something he can’t shake off, for him it is not something that should determine his own musical path.
The apple certainly doesn’t fall far from the tree. His music carries the same Latin flare and matches it with creative rock elements, but where Santana deviates from his father is in highlighting his talents as a keyboardist and complementing all that with soulful choruses and his own raps.
“At the end of the day, Grammys, awards, achievements and things like that, those are very supreme validations,” said Santana. “But the biggest one for me is when somebody can come up and say, ‘You know, Salvador, I listened to your music’ or ‘I heard you and your band play and I was going through a really tough time and listening to this particular song, or listening to this message, or listening to what you had to say, it was just uplifting and it totally changed my life.”
While the Grammys may not be his measurement of success, there is no arguing that Santana is a conscientious musician whose personal goal is to release positivity into the universe through his work. He is involved in various charities such as his parents’ Milagro Foundation, Doalittle.org and Daraja, an organization giving girls in Kenya a chance at a better life.
“My job is to make sure that with my music I can uplift, not just one person, but many people through positivity and inspiration,” he said.
Contact Eddie Solis Jr. at email@example.com.