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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Exclusive Q&A with C&C Music Factory's Scarlett Santana

Dj Buddy Beaverhausen: Scarlett, thank you so much for this Q&A. As you know, I'll be coming to a benefit event on Nov. 6 in which you'll be performing. Could you please tell us more about it and share your personal connection to it?  
Scarlett Santana: Thank you so much! I look forward to meeting you too! I'd be gladly to explain, K.i.D (Kids of International Deportees) is in the process of becoming a non-profit organization. K.i.D is a program that will focus on Children of Deportees. Not everyone is aware of what an epidemic this situation has become. It will help these children with social, financial, employment, education, legal & mental health concerns. In addition, it's a place where young children & adolescents can talk to other kids that are in the same situation and most importantly keep in touch with their parent(s). And so, I feel the need to lend my support to such a great cause if it helps in anyway to bring awareness and get this organization to meet its goals and subsequently help all those affected by the deportation process. I have seen first hand what it does to a family when they become separated because of deportation. It's so heartbreaking to see children and family members separated from their loved ones.

DBB: You're a Jersey Girl born and raised in Newark, and I'm a Jersey Boy born and raised in Paterson, so right away, we share a connection! But you were born in 1988 (just a wee bit later than I).  When you grew up, who were your musical influences?
SS: Ok! New Jersey in the house! I must say I have a few musical influences; growing up, my mother was my biggest influence. She would always have music playing in our home and we would sing songs from Whitney Houston to La India and Marvin Gaye to George Lamond. We had eclectic taste in our music. I think different types of music and musicians/artists influenced the artist I am today. However, I really love Whitney Houston, Lauren Hill, TLC and Mariah Carey.

DBB: Share with our readers who Ivy Wallace is and how she has influenced and/or inspired you?
SS: Oh, my God! I love Miss Wallace. She was my elementary music teacher who introduced me to what music was all about. She hand-picked me out of my kindergarten class as we were all singing and said that I had a strong voice. She distinctively heard it right out of the group and ever since took me in under her wing from kindergarten to 7th grade. She taught me so much about music at an early age. She broke my fear of performing in front of an audience, and would have me perform solos in school concerts or have me stand up in class and sing. She gave me and my voice the confidence it needed. After so many years, I [recently] went to visit her and found that she is still teaching. It was definitely an emotional moment once we saw each other. Miss Wallace is one of the most amazing and talented women I know with such a big and beautiful personality. She loves all her students, and I love her so much for everything she has done for me. She will always be the best teacher I've ever had.

DBB: A great teacher who inspires us is a really a treasure. I loved hearing about that. Early on, you gave spoken word performances at Nuyorican Poet’s Café in New York  and sang at places like China Club and Club New York. How old were you at that time and what was that period of your life like?
SS: My cousin introduced me to Nuyorican Poet’s Café. I was about 17 when I began to recite my spoken word poetry and sing in places where I wasn't suppose to be because I wasn't old enough.  Put it this way, I've been to a lot of places because of my tenacity and determination. I went anywhere as long as my voice was heard. Around that time, I had a good friend of mine who also believed in my music, his name is Che from Red Eye Entertainment. He was a big part of my life and was responsible for booking my shows and, because of him, I opened up for George Lamond. I continued to have shows with my dancers everywhere, and it's those moments that have been some of the best times in my life.

DBB: You opened for Lamond during this time and then became his protege. You recorded with him and subsequently met and recorded "Live Your Life" in 2010 for C&C Music Factory. Were you pinching yourself?
SS: Yes, definitely! I'm very blessed to have met him and call him a friend. I grew up listening to George who was one of my mom's favorite artists and also turned out to be one of my favorite artists to work with. He is an amazing friend, and a great person overall. I always say he's my guardian angel, always looking out for my best interest. We have tons of unreleased music where we have collaborated together and hopefully we will release them soon. He has a new single coming out, so make sure you look out for it... wait until you hear "Live Your Life" the remix featuring George Lamond, Kulture Done and yours truly!

DBB:  Let me just tell you, I love "Rain"! You had a well-deserved top 10 Billboard smash with that, again with C&C Music Factory. How did that impact you personally and how did it affect your career?
SS: Thank you so much for loving the record. That means a lot to me. It was an unforgettable moment in my life when I received the call about the song I love so much and wrote my heart into and being told that it peaked on Billboard at No. 1 in the U.K. I remember vividly calling my mom and grandma and going crazy with excitement over the phone about the great news. My musical career has definitely been an interesting one. It has its rewarding and trivial moments but all that matters to me is that I get to do what I have always dreamed of and love doing with a passion.

DBB: You also worked with the legendary Todd ("The God") Terry and had a couple of dance hits. How did you meet and could you fill us in on your collaborations?
SS: We met about two years ago at an industry event, he's the coolest person you'll ever meet. He's so real and down to earth. We have so many different collaborations already that we can literally put out a hot and eclectic prolific album. It's quite a blessing to be working with the best and I'm not exaggerating when I say that I've met a lot of talented people in my life but Todd Terry is the best at what he does from House Music to Pop to Trap to Dub Step to Edm to R&B to Rap to Freestyle and to everything. It's mind blowing how consistent he is with hot music. I have the creative freedom musically to do what feels right because I work with such a talented genius of a producer that has so much versatility in music, which I believe is also important when creating music. I must say that while working with him, I have written some of my best work, and besides music, he has taught me the business aspect of it. He's also an amazing person and a wonderful friend.
DBB:You're 25. Where would you like to go, musically, creatively, professionally in the next five years? 
SS: In five years, I would love to have as many albums and hit singles as possible. I would love for my music to be appreciated worldwide, and hopefully by then and God willing, I would have my own record company with amazing artists on board. I want my fans to know and believe that if you believe in yourself and put in the hard work that anything is possible.

DBB: How do you feel about the state of dance music right now? And about what's on mainstream radio?
SS: I definitely feel dance music right now needs to give new artists a chance to showcase their talent, and that mainstream radio can be more diversified in their selection of music. 

DBB: You have also been part of the cause known as Milagros Day  (“Non-Profit Organization that provides personal growth and professional development to Survivors of Domestic Violence”). Please tell us about how and why you came to be involved in this and what it's like to work with the legendary La India, your sister ambassador at Milagros Day.
SS: I'm actually glad you brought this up because I am so honored and proud to be an ambassador of Milagros Day Non-Profit organization. I was introduced to Dawn Diaz, the founder of Milagros Day through Genco Cheviano, and Ms. Diaz wanted to use my song "Live Your Life" as the organization's theme song. I was also asked to represent the organization as their ambassador due to my personal experience that resonated with so many women survivors of domestic violence. La India and myself shared our own personal experiences and we hope that by sharing our personal experiences it would empower women to overcome any trials and tribulations.

DBB: Scarlett, thank you so much for this interview. Can't wait to meet you on Nov. 6. Any last shout outs to your fans?
SS: Thank you so much for letting me share my story with you and the world! I'll be looking foward to [seeing] you November 6th. Yes, of course, I have shout outs!! I want to give a huge and major shout out to all my day one fans and to my new fans and a special shout out to the ones who reach out to me via Facebook (iamscarlettsantana) Instagram and twitter (@scarlettsantana). I read each and every one of your messages. I love you all! And thank you for your continued support!

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