MATTHEW SANTOS SHOWS FULL RANGE
BY RYAN BROSMER
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Matthew Santos started out playing music at an early age. Now 24, he has just released "Matters of the Bittersweet," his debut solo album, and he also has the industry buzzing around his collaborations with recently Grammy-nominated rapper Lupe Fiasco.
Santos is coming to the Black Cat in Washington tonight to perform songs off his new album, along with a few tracks off his next album.
The Chicago native has forged a sound for himself that is very much akin to Dave Matthews', but with a much more intimate feeling.
"Initially I started out as a 6-year-old kid fooling about the piano trying to figure out tunes I heard on the TV and radio," Santos said in a recent interview. "And then it turned into formal piano and then my brother got a guitar and I started fumbling around on his guitar and it turned out I basically learned a whole bunch of chords."
The songwriting process came naturally from there, he added. "It was more of an intuitive process of playing what felt good and what sounded good. I started putting words to songs and it just sort of took hold."
Santos got his big break once he got hooked up with Lupe Fiasco through industry connections. That led to Santos' contributing vocals to Fiasco's first album and his sophomore effort, "The Cool," which will be released next Tuesday. Santos performs on the first single, "Superstar," and will join Fiasco on "The Late Show with David Letterman" next Wednesday.
Santos' show at the Black Cat will be his first in the D.C. area in which he will have the backing of a full band. His first experience touring with a group of people came while on tour with Lupe Fiasco.
"That's been a fun and enlightening experience," he said of touring with Fiasco. "He doesn't like to rough it so much, so we stay in really nice places and we eat at really nice places. So I think that going on the road with a band is going to be like one big camping trip."
Though his first full-length album has only been out since November, Santos is looking ahead to the next one. He's signed on with Fiasco's 1st and 15th record label, a subsidiary of Atlantic, and will bring his backing musicians along.
"We've yet to discuss and start plotting out our plans for releasing the full-band album, but I was promised by Lupe that it would happen the summer of '08," he said.