“I don’t make music for myself,” says Santigold, matter-of-factly. “I pay a lot of attention to that — making music that’s liked by more people than just myself.” In a scene driven by bravado, few musicians would ruminate on the Zen-like balance behind creating truly gratifying art. But exploring that intersection between integrity and intrigue has always been central to this idiosyncratic musician’s appeal. That, in turn, has culminated in her latest release, ’99¢’ (out January 22, 2016), an often-playful satire on the singer’s “brand.”
“The ’99¢’ album cover features me shrink-wrapped among a cluttered mess of things — my life in a bag,” she explains. “It is about how everything is a packaged product for sale: how we package ourselves, our lives, our relationships.” We first heard Santigold’s outspoken, unmistakable voice in 2008 on her vibrant self-titled debut featuring the singles “L.E.S. Artistes” and “Creator,” both takedowns about authenticity that won praises from Rolling Stone and Pitchfork alike.
Her follow-up, the darker ‘Master of My Make-Believe’ — its centerpiece, the post-punk anthem “Disparate Youth” — hit both Billboard’s Dance/Electronic and Top 200 charts upon its release. Where to go from there?