For 32 year old Salvador Santana music has, quite literally, been his life. Both of his grandfathers were either a legendary bluesman (Saunders King) or a mariachi bandleader (Jose Santana). Last but not least, his father Carlos has become an international guitar hero for his five decades as the leader of the band Santana.
Coming from such a diverse heritage, it’s almost no surprise that Salvador has fused numerous influences to create his own unique style that meshes parts of jazz and soul with conscious hip hop. Over the last several years, he has been gaining the attention of the mainstream and has been invited to perform at major festivals like Montreux Jazz Festival, Bonnaroo, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Along with his live performances, Santana has been turning out studio material, including his latest effort “Fantasy Reality” which drops Aug. 21.
“To me, this record, I really feel like it encapsulates exactly what I’m striving for; which is showcasing all this music that we’ve heard before, the music that’s out nowadays, and maybe where it’s going – it’s all relevant,” he described the album as during an exclusive interview during The Peach Music Festival.
While his music might surprise people who associate his name with the blues rock scene, Santana wants his music to be an uplifting experience where people can feel better about themselves and have a positive outlook on life. It’s something his grandfathers, father, and many contemporaries have done for decades. He takes the stereotypes many hip hop musicians face, and uses the music to show there is a bright side to the scene.
“As a lyricist, I like to inject consciousness into the lyrics,” he said. “I keep it real, but at the same time, you could never have enough positivity, and this world really needs that.”
With “Fantasy Reality,” Santana indeed brings positivity to his fans. As part of his fathers’ current East Coast tour, the band has allotted a portion of their show to Salvador’s material. It’s a part of the show where many people – especially at Peach Fest – enjoyed the meshing of world music and hip-hop the band brought to his unique blend of genres. While the admiration is appreciated by the younger Santana, the music is just him doing what he knows best.
“I, as a musician, don’t look at it like I’m just doing hip-hop or I’m just doing jazz,” he said. “The genre of music I like to play – my dad does it and there’s a lot of other musicians out there that do it too – they just haven’t really pigeonholed the name. For me, I call it life. I play life.”
Ryan O’Malley is music journalist and has been writing for the Times Leader and Weekender for several years.
To see the full interview online, visit http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cOsUZ0UPCtQ