Singer Santigold sounds off on dance music, new CD

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  • You may love dance and electronic music, but Santigold hates it.

    The singer-rapper, who has collaborated with Jay-Z, the Beastie Boys and Mark Ronson, says she wishes the sound wasn’t so popular.

    “I really don’t like that music, that sort of Euro-dance music, Ibiza-style. I’ve never liked it, even when it was kind of new and underground,” she said.

    The electronic and dance genre has taken over U.S. radio in the last few years, with acts from Rihanna to Britney Spears to Usher to Katy Perry adopting the sound, and churning out No. 1 hits.

    Santigold says today’s pop hits are formulaic, where artists “hire one of three producers, one of a couple songwriters, and you pretty much get the exact same song every time.”

    “It’s created a dismal landscape for music, but it’s a sure bottom line for the record company,” she said. “It’s really become about the economy of the music industry, and it’s shaping the music that we’re getting in a really unfortunate way.”

    Philadelphia-born Santigold has written songs for Christina Aguilera, Lily Allen and Ashlee Simpson. She used to work as an A&R for Epic Records, and almost signed rapper-actor Mos Def.

    “I brought Mos Def and I was like, ‘You guys got to sign him.’ And they’re like, ‘Is he down with Puffy?’” she recalled with a laugh. “Like, everything at that time was Diddy.”

    Santigold said the job was frustrating, and she decided to leave to pursue her own musical efforts. She blends elements of rock, pop, hip-hop and dance to create a sound that is as distinct as her album’s unusual beats.

    “I would describe it as genre-less music,” said Santigold, who released her sophomore album, “Master of My Make-Believe,” last week. It’s the follow-up to her critically-acclaimed 2008 debut “Santogold,” her former stage name before changing it in 2009.

    “I always call it collage music because really that’s what it is,” she continued. “It’s taking bits and pieces of all these different influences and sounds and piecing them together in a way that’s special and unique to myself.”

    Santigold says making “Master” – which features collaborations with Q-Tip, Diplo, John Hill, Greg Kurstin, David Sitek of TV on the Radio and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs – was “intense” and transcendental meditation helped ease some of her exhaustion.

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