Santigold: My album was inspired by The Arab Spring and a Jamaican boat ride
“Everyone says it’s a major party, dancey, type of place, but it’s supposed to be beautiful there, right?” she says.
The singer’s first experience of the White Isle was to headline an intimate show at the island’s art deco Es Vive hotel for two hundred and fifty competition winners.
The set, she promised, would be a mixture of tracks from her two critically acclaimed albums, 2008’s Santigold, and Master Of My Make Believe, which was released earlier this year.
The four years between her two LPs was down to a fully booked schedule. ‘I toured for the first two years and then I worked on the record for the next year and a half, then I did about six months of promo and then it came out, there was no down time at all,’ she says.
Technically, travelling the globe could be the perfect inspiration for writing an album, but the 35-year old says the experience of touring was too overwhelming to kickstart her creative process. “During the time I was touring, that was a new experience in itself. There was such lot to learn and figure out, I wasn’t thinking about the new record at all.”
When inspiration finally struck, she was 5,895 metres up. “As soon as I was done touring in January 2010 I went and climbed Kilimanjaro, we did a documentary about the clean water crisis It was me and Kenna and other artists and actors like Jessica Biel and Lupe Fiasco and Emile Hirsche and a bunch others,” she said.
“That was a really interesting experience and really eye-opening about bigger issues in the world,” she added. “Especially after touring and just playing music for a while. Going from places like the Vatican or the Kremlin to a small Masai village in Tanzania which had just got clean water technology, that gives you a different perspective on the world.”
Master Of My Make Believe was created during a tumultuous time when one disaster seemed to follow after another, and news agencies seemed to be spoiled for choice about what political or economic storm to focus on. Santigold couldn’t help but be affected by it. “At the time that I was writing the record there was so much going on in the world and that’s where I get my inspiration from,” she explained.
“I had written most of the record, but as I was finishing it that was during the time of the Arab Spring when most of the uprisings were going on, and also during those years was when the nuclear explosion happened, and the oil spill, and there was so many big, big things going on in the world and a feeling of unrest and frustration, and I guess I was writing my new record in that climate.”
But it wasn’t all unease and disasters that shaped her second album. “In Jamaica I was on this boat ride and we were going really really fast ad it was kind of scary, and beautiful and dangerous at the same time, and I remember thinking ‘I want my record to feel like this.’”
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