For our next installment of #MDInterviews, we get to know Santa Clara.
One of Canada’s top rising talents, Santa Clara crafts songs that are as captivating as they are eclectic. The Vancouver native’s music has charted on radio on both sides of the border, in both Canada and the United States. Currently in the limelight for his recently released single, “Human (Everything Is Changing) ft. Laurell,” Santa Clara is noted for creating a panoramic production sound that is reminiscent of pop stars like Bastille, M83, and Lana Del Rey. One music blogger, SongSmith, said that Santa Clara “is known to have competitive hooks. They are new, catchy, and will definitely trigger you to sing through the chorus by the end of the song.” Give “Human” a listen and see for yourself.
Music Dealers: First off, thanks for sitting down with us. I see you are currently on a radio promo tour in Canada for your new song “Human” – how has the single been received from the radio stations?
Santa Clara: It’s been awesome so far. This is the first single I’ve released with a feature artist on it (Laurell), so I was unsure what type of reception it would get. But so far everyone has been loving it - one radio station even went as far to say it’s the best collaboration between Canadian pop artists in years - I don’t feel quite worthy of that description, but it still feels good to hear.
Music Dealers:What has been the best experience of the radio promo thus far?
Santa Clara: It’s been great meeting everyone at the stations and doing the acoustic performances. I like proving that I’m not just a studio artist and that I can play live. I think that’s really important for stations to know that when it comes to whether or not they’re going to play your music.
Music Dealers:The video for “Human” is awesome – who came up with that concept and who shot it? I love the post production work on it.
Santa Clara: Thanks so much - my buddy Jason Cermak who’s in the film industry as an actor and director came up with the concept. We sat around in his condo one night in Vancouver just listening to the track to come up with ideas and he instantly saw me in a straightjacket. I instantly fell in love with the idea because it portrays such a strong image of being under a woman’s control, just helpless & struggling - I just thought it was a killer way to say “you’ve got me.”
Music Dealers:Your resume and ability to break into the charts as an indie artist is incredible. What do you think it is about your sound that allows you to reach the charts next to some of the industry’s biggest names?
Santa Clara: I’ve spent the last 2 years working on my sound. I think my rock influences give it an edge and I’ve managed to still fit it in the confines of pop radio - so it’s something a little different and so far it’s working.
Music Dealers: Talk a bit about your latest album, “Silence Is Overrated.” Do you do your own production or work with outside producers? One thing I think you have mastered is selecting production that compliments your voice and style perfectly.
Santa Clara: Thank you, I’ve been producing my own music for a while now. This album I did mainly on my own - I had a producer friend, Steve Kroeger help me with the mix on a couple tracks and give me feedback - we’ve been collaborating for a while and it’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off of and get a second pair of ears on the music. There’s a few co-writes on the album with other producers and we worked out the initial production ideas together, which was great - I love working with other people, it always turns into something you would never have come up with on your own.
Music Dealers: Over the past few years, you have played shows with some great artists - who was your favorite?
Santa Clara: My favourite experience was opening for Kuba Oms, I was just getting started at the time and really looked up to the guy. So that was cool in itself, but I had recently met one of my childhood idols Tal Bachman and decided to invite him on Facebook. I never thought he’d actually come, but he did. I didn’t know he was there until the end when we finished and he came up to the stage and shook my hand and said “Great show, thanks for inviting me”. He was just being nice, but it blew me away.
Music Dealers: How would you explain your sound in 3 words?
Santa Clara: Alternative electronic pop.
Music Dealers: What is the last album you purchased? What are some artists that you draw inspiration from when creating your own music?
Santa Clara: Haha, the last album I bought was Taylor Swift’s 1989 because it wasn’t available on Spotify. That album is a pop production masterpiece. Being a producer I often get inspired by production like that and also with great songwriting. It’s all over the place from The Civil Wars, Queen, Lana Del Rey, M83 to Rod Stewart - I get inspired by anything that hits me.
Music Dealers: What are the plans for Santa Clara after the radio tour? Are there any performance tours in the works? Anything else exciting?
Santa Clara: We’ve starting to plan some shows in your backyard for the new year and we’ll be ending the year with a show in Seattle. I’ll be busy with radio tours till then. I’m also working on a trilogy music video series, which I think will be really fun to do.
Music Dealers: What are you trying to accomplish through your music? To consider your musical journey a “success” in your eyes, where do you want to be in 2-3 years?
Santa Clara: Success to me looks like being able to create what I want and when I want. I don’t want to ever stop doing this. The more success I have the easier it is to make that happen. But at the end of the day, I’m in this to write hits. That may sound shallow at first, but I want to write songs that people connect to on a mass scale. There’s something magical about that. Music is powerful, mystical and at the same time it’s just numbers and math. There’s something illusive about what makes a great song and being able to find that and tap into that at a level where it makes people feel something on a large scale is incredible. It’s the holy grail to me and I love searching for it and finding different ways to do it.
Music Dealers: Time to put yourself in the shoes of a supervisor or brand head. List two songs from your album and what brand/TV show you feel they would align with.
Santa Clara: I’d say “Vagabond” & “Young & Naive” have big potential for teen drama shows like Vampire Diaries or Pretty Little Liars. I’ve had my music on shows like that before and really fits in that type of soundtrack.
Music Dealers: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Best of luck in the future & I look forward to watching your musical empire grow!
Santa Clara: Thanks so much for having me.
Interview by Rob Lindquist, Music Dealers