Up Next: Stephanie Santiago

Words and Photography by Verity Hayday 

Coming from a Columbian background and a soulful sound, Santiago’s stirring style and voice has carried her musical talents around multiple festivals both in Peru and the UK, one being British Summer Time Festival.  With both her parents being in live bands she had a lot of musical influences at a young age, leading her to begin writing music in school and even joined her first reggaeton band at 15. In addition to all this, she has a skill for rapping. She did live performances supporting reggaeton artists and later joined a rock band proving the diversity within her musical talents. In college she got more of a musical influence from artists such as Erykah Badu and India Iyrie taking a dramatic switch from rock to Jazz where she found her sound. 

In 2015  she worked with LinkUp, covering Lana del Reys Blue Jeans and later released a video under SBTV’s channel, for her track Want Out, debuting her talents to a larger UK audience. 

“I think it’s amazing that we don’t feel the need to cater to an english market anymore because of all these new platforms like Colors and Tiny Desk. I’m trying to conquer the Spanish and UK market!”

Do you feel pressure to put out music? 

“I am a bit of a perfectionist, we can be good and bad, I did take a previous project down because it wasn’t my sounds anymore, I’m just a bit more conscious on what I put out but I leave it for the listeners to judge, I write from personal experiences so it’s scary to be scrutinised on your work, but I just need to get it out there.”

What’s your process when it comes to making music? 

“I work with a few different producers who are friends of mine and I play guitar and Piano, so I normally take my ideas to them and we work on it together. I’m excited to experiment with new styles and Ideas.”

Do you enjoy performing? 

“I love performing, I did a few gig’s in Peru the last time I was there and it was great, I love performing to crowds even though it can be daunting but once I’m there I just get into it.”

A year from now (let’s assume covid isn’t here) what do you want to have achieved? 

“I would have released a project in April, I hope I’ve performed at a few festivals and Gigs in the summer.”

When should we expect to listen to any new releases? 

“I have Spanish project, a single and a visual that should be my next release.” 

What was the name of your producers? 

“Around 2015 I came in contact with Colombian music producer Santiago Morales whom I started working with alongside Musician/ sound engineer Michael Njuguna, We worked mainly as a trio producing many tracks to which a few made the EP Theory of Emotion.” Santiago aka Alma de la selva Produced all tracks to Theory of Emotion, Michael co-produced ‘We See’. v”I’m currently working with Colombian Musician and producer Andres Pascua (Cousin of ALMA) on a new project to be released by summer this summer.”

What do you want people to take away from your music? 

 “Ultimately to evoke different sensations to the listener, music is emotive, if people can take away something positive from my music which often comes from a very personal place then I’ll be more than pleased. Music is my therapy and being able to utilise it as a means of expression and communication whilst having the opportunity to share it with people brings me intense pleasure and joy.”

Who are you listening to?

“It varies, currently, I’ve been listening to the likes of Lido Pimienta, Bomba Estero & Combo Chimbita but generally, I have been listening to a lot of Latin music more traditional sounds such as Cumbia, Salsa, Samba.”

How do you think your musical style has changed from your younger self to now?


“I believe I’ve evolved to acquire a more defined sound but its a constant development process. I’m happy to continue exploring different sounds by constantly challenging myself.”

As an artist, How do you think 2020 has changed you? 

“Given the current global pandemic, it’s been hard not to reflect on how it’s affected our mental health. I’ve used this time to reinforce my spiritual journey and self-care Incorporating an optimistic approach into my daily tasks. This has naturally inspired me to create more uplifting music throughout 2020.”

Stream her latest EP Theory of Emotion with features such as Liana and a collaboration with The Silhouette project on 2020 single The Process, available on Spotify and Youtube. 


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