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Santigold talks new album, streaming and Dave Chapelle in new interview

It was only last week that Santigold a.k.a Santi White, announced the release date of her new album 99¢, her first album since Master of My Make-Believe back in 2012. Now in an interview for Pitchfork with Zoe Camp, she’s revealed several details about the upcoming album, struggling to work with the record’s many producers, her thoughts on streaming, comedic endeavours and more. We’ve sifted through and listed the most interesting points:

She worked with a lot of producers on this album

Having worked with a whole bunch of different people, White became pretty burnt out from having to bring it all together. “I usually work with so many different producers, and a lot of time there’s a lot of producers working on one song. I end up being the one in the middle, pulling it all together, and it’s really hard,” said White.

Having had a pretty relentless touring schedule as well as becoming a mother had also left her exhausted. Vampire Weekend‘s Rostam Batmanglij, Hit-Boy, Patrik Berger, Justin Raisen, Sam Dew, John Hill, and Doc McKinney all contributed to the album, and she did a collab with iLoveMakonnen on Who Be Lovin Me, who she said intimidated her, but contributed the catchy lyrics you hear on the track.

99¢ makes some interesting consumerist/materialist observations about our society

Obviously the artwork for 99¢ is putting forward a pretty clear message about the consumerist nature of the society we live in. It features Santigold spread amongst a bunch kitsch, disposable items wrapped in cellophane frozen in a pose that looks like she is about to jump into action. 

Camp asks if the lyrics on 99¢ are pertaining to this kind of culture, and Santigold replies, “The whole way that people interact with each other, the way that people write, the way that people view themselves, the way that people think about themselves or how to present themselves or the way that people deal with each other, the way that people meet people and date, I mean literally, what is that thing called? Tinder? You’re literally swiping to find dates!”

She’s torn on the whole streaming thing

Calling it ‘totally fucked up’, White is opposed to streaming for a few reasons, namely, that it’s hard for artists to make a buck when you’re getting paid zilch for your work. “As an artist, as a songwriter, it’s really hard. And people don’t realize that – you know, they want to keep getting great music and they want to keep getting real music that takes time to make, where the turnaround is probably slower than a lot of pop where you just throw records out every year,” said White. “It’s different, and you have to be able to, just like any career, you have to be able to sustain yourself while you’re doing it, you know?”

Fair point. But with the music industry model increasingly heading in that direction, holding out is becoming harder and harder. Saying she “tried to withhold for a long time”, White advocates for better deals for artists, ones which will pay them more money so they can support themselves.

Which leads to…

She’s fine with lending her songs to commercials

When asked if her anti-consumerist theme was at odds with lending out her music to commercials, White was unapologetic. “I don’t know if it always wasn’t an option for music – you’re not going to get crazy play on radio if you’re making any kind of music that’s not fitting into cookie-cutter alternative or cookie-cutter mainstream pop.” The only way White was able to make money off her music was from licensing and touring, saying she barely made any money from her streams on Spotify.

“That’s how I make a living, especially since people are not buying music anymore.”

She loves acting

White appeared as a guest on The Office, appearing as a bemused judge on the panel of an American Idol-esque show called The Next Great A Cappella Sensation alongside runner-up Clay Aiken and NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers“Oh my god, I love doing acting. I had so much fun, and I was getting so into it and then I got pregnant. And then I was like, rushing to get this record out, so I paused it, said White. “But I definitely plan to get back to it, it was just getting good for me.”

She might have a future collaboration with some comedic heavyweights on the horizon

Asked whether she prefers comedy or drama, White said she was a goofball at heart, remarking that “I’ve been told by people close to me that I’m not that funny.” However, White think she has a viable career as comedian, saying that she had dinner recently with Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock and that they were thinking about doing something in the future. 

Check out the song Radio she did for film Paper Towns back in July.

99¢ is out January 22 via Downtown/Atlantic.