Emcee | Writer
"Profound and Moving."
"If wordsmith-songbird isn't the future of hip-hop, she should be."
Dessa's first release with Doomtree, False Hopes, introduced a unique sensibility to underground hip-hop: literary, bitter-sweet, and wry. She alternated between a clever, droll persona as an emcee and her earnest, unaffected delivery as a singer with a low, clear alto voice. Her a cappella arrangements delicate and expressive, full of sad, old world harmonies. False Hopes attracted a varied set of ferociously dedicated fans in the Midwest and beyond. The press compared her to Lauryn Hill and Ladybug, and then as "equal parts Ani DiFranco and Mos Def" (Rift Magazine).
Most recently, Dessa published a book under the Doomtree banner. Spiral Bound, her collection of essays and poetry, was dubbed a "dazzling literary debut" by the City Pages and "witty and desperately honest" by Alive Magazine.
A Badly Broken Code, her solo full-length record was released in January 2010 to an eagerly waiting number of listeners and music-writers alike. It earned 4 stars from Urb Magazine, a mention in Spin, and rave reviews from publications across the country. She's currently on a 40-city tour with P.O.S.
"Absolutely brilliant." -Crossfire.com (London)
"A paramount, intimidate look into an astonishing human being." -OkayPlayer.com
"Code does not disappoint! Dessa stands alone in her brand of music." -HipHopDX
Spiral Bound: a short collection of essays and poetry
"Matthew Santos is headed straight for the spotlight." Time Out New York
"Rising Superstar" Chicago Tribune's RedEye
"New Name to Watch" Chicago Sun-Times
"Matthew Santos a superstar in his own right" Chicago Sun-Times
"The acoustic, folk-pop fare is a far cry stylistically from what Santos contributed to many tracks on Fiasco's latest album, "The Cool." However, the soulful underpinnings of his voice are what remain consistent, containing a versatility suitable for his singer/songwriter styling as well as R&B." -Billboard Magazine
"Blessed with a gorgeous voice introduced to the world at large on Lupe Fiasco's "American Terrorist" and "Superstar," this Columbia College grad is slowly but surely garnering attention for his own stripped-down folk-rock, as heard on last year's "Matters of the Bittersweet" album. "Jim DeRogatis, Chicago Sun-Times
"Matthew Santos is the melodic diversion on single "Superstar" but what an arresting diversion! He almost stole the performance on the "Late Show with David Letterman" on Jan. 2, the first "new" musical performance following the late-night host's return to TV after his deal with the Writer's Guild of America. Santos gets the vocal hook all right " a repeated chorus, but given a new interpretation with each repetition. Fiasco may be the next big hip hop thang, but Santos is the secret weapon on this track." - Los Angeles Times
"Santos delivers with some of the most unique and powerful vocal arrangements ever recorded. While flirting with R&B, jazz, country and straight-up Americana, Santos has the ability to fuse each genre into a tapestry of meanderings that never fall out of place. Imagery abounds as the Minneapolis native inches each note along, covering a figurative canvas with just what's required for the mindÃ¢s eye to find harmony with its auditory counterparts. Simply put: Matthew Santos won't fade any time soon. He's got that certain something folk lovers appreciate and other artists wish they had." Rock River Times
"Alternating between an ethereal falsetto and a muscly growl, his voice betrays a penchant for Jeff Buckley and Dave Matthews." Washington Times
"With his wavering but soulful voice and a playful acoustic sound akin to Jack Johnson and Bob Schneider, there's plenty of reason to believe that Santos could land his own single." - Star Tribune
"There's something about Santos that produces an aura of cool, calm and collectivity well beyond his years...Santos' well-written lyrics set him apart from the never-ending list of new musical talent." Newcity
Grammy-nominated artist Matthew Santos has established himself as one of the rare and striking voices quickly emerging from the Windy City's music scene. With a growing fan base hailing him for his ethereal voice, Santos has secured his place in current music with his distinguished style and elusive musical gift. Far from all of the sound and fury of the modern music trends, 27-year-old Santos is quietly rising into one of the most remarkable voices of his generation.
Regarded on YouTube as a "legend-in-the-making," word has spread about his riveting talent. Santos was nominated for "Best Rock Entertainer" for Chicago's 2009 Music Awards and his band are featured as one of the top ten bands to watch in Chicago by The Chicago Sun-Times. His full band features Aviva Jaye (vocals, keyboard), Robert Tucker (drums), Graham Burris (bass), Chris Gelbuda (lead guitar), and Matt Nelson (keyboard).
Since his world-known collaborations with Grammy-Award winning hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco, Santos has faced more expectations and pre-conceived notions from music lovers than most singer/songwriters. Santos' vocals are featured on multiple tracks on FiascoÃ¢s Gold Record "The Cool" and most widely recognized on the Grammy-nominated single "Superstar." Perhaps it wasn't surprising that Santos' own music was related to the hip-hop genre by only the thinnest of margins. With a wealth of music to offer the world, Santos' performances during the "Superstar" phenomenon became counter-intuitive to his desire to focus on his own "soul-folk-rock" music, and break free from the disillusioned association as Fiasco's "Hook Guy".
"The acoustic, folk-pop fare is a far cry stylistically from what Santos contributed to many tracks on Fiasco's latest album, "The Cool." However, the soulful underpinnings of his voice are what remain consistent, containing versatility suitable for his singer/songwriter styling as well as R&B." -Billboard Magazine
Santos' upcoming album entitled This Burning Ship of Fools is an eclectic collection of original songs both new and old. "Exploring an edgier sound than previous works with more electric, high-energy songs and expansive production, the album was an experimental venture into the realms of alternative/pop/rock, while honoring my roots as a soul/folk/indie-rock musician," says Santos.
All self-produced with co-production by Greg Magers and recorded entirely in Chicago, This Burning Ship of Fools explores the nature of the music industry in songs such as "Wide Eyed Firefly" and "On the Radio"; the nature of "the golden promise of happiness and salvation" in the song "You Will Be Saved"; compassion, community, and hope in the song "Good Life"; the longing for romantic love in the songs "Decembers Ghost", "Break Free", and "Drop a Coin"; issues of free will, balance, and patience in the song "Time Still"; and a story of an all accepting, homeless man in the song "Days Like This".
"I want to be an artist that people won't know what to expect from next, but they can expect that it's going to be quality. I'm not a niche artist that writes and sings the same kind of songs over and over again, and I think that's what sets me apart from other singer/songwriters," says Santos.
Native to Minneapolis, Santos discovered his passion for music at age six when he started playing piano and his inspiration for playing guitar began at the age of fifteen. At first Santos pursued the visual arts, but decided to dedicate his life solely to music and relocated to Chicago in 2001 to study music composition at Columbia College Chicago. He released his first independently produced album Change is Better in 2004 and EP As a Crow Flies in 2006. In November of 2007, Santos released an acoustic album Matters of the Bittersweet under Candy-Rat Records, with intimate video recordings available on YouTube.
It's a belief in something bigger than himself and his musical vision that motivates Santos as a singer-songwriter. "I hope to inspire people through music to take responsibility for their own talents and use them to serve the greater good," Santos says. "I want to show the world that you can do what you love and live in this society, finding a balance between coexisting in a social construct and following your heart."
A.N.T. is a 30 year old emcee & musician, bursting with passion, honesty, creativity and a desire to see the landscape of music changed to reflect the Hope that resides inside of us all, to be better today than we were yesterday. A.N.T. believes music should not only reflect the struggles of life and society, but more importantly point toward what change can look like. I'm not the truth but I live it and speak it!!!!!!
High Noon Saloon
701A E. Washington Ave
Madison, WI 53703
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