Interview with Meïa Santiago
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I was attending ballet classes since an early age and my parents enrolled me in a music school. But it wasn't until I saw a high school rock and roll band play live for the first time that I decided I wanted to pursue that.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I enjoy spending time in nature. Although living in NYC makes it difficult, whenever I have the time, I go to the park or outside the city. The space and silence of nature offer me inspiration and awaken a different kind of creative potential. I believe it is more mysterious and profound.
How long have you been making music?
When I was eighteen years old, I started my first musical band with my brother and my then-boyfriend. We played covers of bands we liked such as Texas, Prince, Led Zeppelin... while we tried to write our own songs.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m living in NYC though I’m originally from Barcelona.The cultural shock has impacted my songs. Also, the daily use of bilingualism. And the feeling of a certain sense of uprooting that comes with the fact of living far from your own country. But at the same time, it has brought a lot of musical richness and has made me more mature in many aspects.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
In the last five years my most memorable show was at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC. It was my first show in NYC, and I was just moved to the United States.
In Spain I would mention my show at Luz de Gas presenting a music project called‘Viviendo el Arte’. I love playing with the string section and in that show I had a fantastic string section.
I would also mention my shows at Jamboree because back in the day it was one of the most notable jazz music venues in Barcelona.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I love playing at DROM in NYC. But I would love to play at Blue Note Jazz Club, and obviously if I dream big playing at Carnegie Hall would be great.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Jon Baptiste, Me’shell N’degeocello, Steve Lacy, Morris Hayes, Joan As a Policewoman, Kamilah, Antonio Eyez, Sade….
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Don’t give up.
Believe in yourself.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I Can’t Stay Away From You
It is one of the songs to which I have dedicated the most time and attention. From the lyrics and composition to the production, everything has been carefully analyzed and crafted.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I Can’t Stay Away From You, Sueños, Down by the Water… One of the most requested is Angels In New York City.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
I write music out of the need to express my emotions through lyrics and sounds.
I don't have any specific ritual or creative process. Sometimes I start with a rough draft of lyrics, other times I begin with a melody or harmonic progression.
It is a puzzle made up of multiple pieces in which the emotions I need to express and my musical knowledge come together to give cohesion and meaning.
From chaos to order, I would say.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
I believe that each person feels and understands songs in their own way, and that freedom of interpretation is something genuine that I respect. Art should be experienced with that sense of freedom.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I am planning to move to a more rural environment and I am already starting to compose material for my new album.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
My IG @meia_mei
My FB @meiasantiagoi