If you hear the name Salvador Santana, it is more than likely you will immediately identify with his last name. Yes, he is the son of guitar legend Santana, but he is more than that. The 28-year-old keyboardist, vocalist, composer, and songwriter has taken his humble upbringings and musical talent to embark on a tour to promote a new untitled EP that will come out later this summer.
Santana previously worked with his band, the Salvador Santana Band, but now he has gone solo, creating a mix of hip-hop, jazz and world music. Salvador Santana will be performing at the Hollywood Cafe in Los Angeles, Friday Feb. 15 at 7 p.m., one of his many tour dates to promote his new work. He took time to let the Daily Sundial know whom he would love to work with, the best advice his father gave him and what he enjoys playing on his iPod.
Daily Sundial: Thank you Salvador for speaking with me today. How’s everything?
Salvador Santana: I can’t complain it’s a beautiful day, love is in the air, and yeah can’t complain.
DS: Let’s talk about your new music. You’re single “into the light” is your second single from your new EP which is set to be out in June, is that right?
SS: Yeah that sounds about right.
DS: What has been the reaction to it so far? SS: You know what, for the most part it has been very positive. With most people it has been one of those things where it educates and entertains.
It’s become a very touchy subject with the lyrics and the video comparing it to the wars on the streets, gang violence, and the war that’s going on in the Middle East—so far and so fort. But for the most part it has been very positive. I’m so grateful and blessed that everyone is enjoying the music and that song in particular. And that’s what I wanted, for people to enjoy it as much as I did creating it.
DS: Awesome. What can fans expect from your new EP, and is it different from the last release “Keyboard City?”
SS: Yeah, it’s definitely different. I’m picking up from where I left off with the last album. Since you mentioned “Into the Light,” I’m just trying to evolve within the music, as an artist and as a person, and I think that carries over with the new music.
You definitely hear some familiarity with what people have become accustom to and what they’ve heard over the years, but you can definitely expect to hear new stuff. I’ve grown as a person and as an artist, so you’ll hear that in my music. But it’s going to be great and it’s going to be fun so I hope people enjoy it when it’s released.
DS: Could it turn into a full-length LP?
SS: You know anything is possible a this point and in this day and age. Right now I’m sticking to my main goal and that’s to release one song at a time. Eventually, the best of the best of those songs will go on this EP.
DS: You’ve worked with Beastie Boy producer Money Mark in the past, is there anyone else you’d like to work with or collaborate with?
SS: Oh yes, so many artist. Working with Money Mark was such a pleasure and I learned a lot from him. I was a kid in a candy store, and it was such a great experience. I would love to work with so many artists after having that experience with Mark.Herby Hancock is one, being a keyboard player like myself; he’s been a huge inspiration. Maybe Damien Marley. Other than the obvious, I think we have a lot in common. I love his music and what he’s doing.
Those are some of the artists. But there’s so much more. In this day in age you have to collaborate and there’s an art in collaboration and benefits that come from it. I’ll continue to stay humble and blessed and see what other opportunity comes my way.
DS: What have been your differences, or unique ways, of working with this project and with the Salvador Santana Band?
SS: You know everything had been a learning process. I guess the best way I can answer that is advice, well given by both my mother and my father, in different ways but the same message was that no matter what you do in life give your 100 percent, give it everything you got, do it with love, do it with positivity, and do it with passion. Whatever you choose to do, add those ingredients and that will resonate with people. Whether I’m in the studio with cool artists or on stage with my band performing I’m giving it my 100 percent and enjoying it. For me that is it and the reward is watching people’s reactions to when they hear the music.
DS: Since you brought up your father, your music has been compared to his but it’s totally different. Who else has influenced you?
SS: There have been a lot of influences, definitely. A lot of musicians that have influenced my father like Jimmy Hendrix, Bob Marley, John Coltrane, the list goes on and on but for me I’ve taken more of my generation in and have been influenced by Tupac, Nirvana, Dr. Dre, Rage Against the Machine, you know I can keep going. Music like that has been really impactful to me. I like to incorporate a little of everything and that’s why you hear different kinds of music with me.
The same goes for my father. Everyone always says to him “oh, Carlos you’re such an awesome guitar player what you’ve done and how it transcended Latin rock,” but my dad will be the first to say “I don’t play Latin rock, I play world music.” And I do the same thing. I play world music that is currently inspiring people around the world to this day.
DS: What is one thing your father told you about the music industry that you have carried on?
SS: There are a lot of things he has said. And again like I’ve mentioned before, him and my mother and close family friends have always reminded me to always be myself, be Salvador, be as authentic as you can be. No one else can be me. As weird as it sounds it has helped through a lot whether it is personal, business, and everyday life. I’m so grateful for my father and mother who have given me that advice because it has stuck with me until this day.
DS: You’re embarking on a tour promoting this new EP, what are you looking forward to the most about this tour?
SS: I am looking forward to a lot of things. I’m looking forward to familiar places. Places that we’ve played before but not recently so I’m excited to re-visit them again like the Bay Area and northern California. I’m excited for the new places. I’m looking forward to taking this incarnation of my band and presenting familiar music and new music we’ve been working on in the studio. And I don’t know, I’m excited about everything overall. I can’t pin point one thing. It’s going to be great; it kicks off here in L.A. so it’s going to be awesome.
DS: What are some of your favorite songs to perform?
SS: I really like all of them, you know, it be up-tempo, low-tempo or ballads. But to be honest, my favorite ones are the ones where people just get up and dance. Again without a shadow of a doubt, those are the most rewarding; just seeing people enjoy your music and get up dance are the most fun to perform. But you know I love playing them all.
DS: For sure, are there any covers that you’ve done in the past or something new?
SS: Yeah, actually we’ve done some hip songs, some Bob Marley, Jimmy Hendrix “All Along the Watchtower.” But we refined them, so they’re not directly from the book. I put my own spin on them to balance them. Anyone that comes to the show will hear some familiarity. We start off strong but finish even stronger.
DS: Yeah definitely, what is currently playing in your iPod right now?
SS: Man, that’s a great question. Right now, other than the music that I’m working on but right now the Damian Marley and Nas record and a lot of jazz. You know for a lot of people they say they can concentrate better with classical music but for me it’s jazz. It helps me unwind and relax like Coltrane and Herby Hancock. I try to go back to my roots and basics.