Articles Written By: jenn

Matthew Santos

matthew santos

“out-of-this-world voice…abundance of soul.” -The Cornell Daily Sun

“He takes a driving beat and a pounding acoustic guitar and kneads it into something affirming and urgent.” -The Baltimore Sun
Bio, 2013:

Matthew Santos has established himself as one of the most exceptional talents to emerge from the Chicago music scene in decades. With a voice consistently compared to that of the late Jeff Buckley and likened to a male version of Adele, he has been the subject of praise from such artists as Kimbra, Eddie Vedder, and John Legend. His highly acclaimed collaborations with Lupe Fiasco for which he received two Grammy nominations, have served to broaden international awareness of Santos whose own style is a unique, homegrown hybrid touching on alternative/indie-rock/soul and folk genres. The Chicago Sun-Times recognized Santos as an artist who is “organic and soulful and moody, full of interesting musical ideas and dripping with serious vocal talent.”

Santos says the musical diversity that marks his work is “the conflict of being a human being vs. being a brand. Obviously a human has multifaceted tastes. I’m trying to be as colorful on my palette as I can.” The painterly metaphor is one both well earned and underscored by personal experience.
Born and raised in Minneapolis, a six-year-old Matthew Santos started flirting with music by picking out melodic themes from movies and TV on his mother’s old piano. While growing up, Santos always saw himself becoming more of a visual artist and exhibited a potent talent for photo-realistic drawings, and a clear knack for painting. Ironically, it was at the age of 17, while attending Oxbow, an art school, that he rediscovered the raw immediacy of musical expression. His own true passion for singing and writing songs began to flourish. Spending more time with the guitar than the paintbrush, it became evident to Santos that his future in the fine arts was in question.

The decision to pursue music was codified when he relocated to Chicago in 2001 to study music composition at Columbia College. After a few years serving coffee, walking dogs, scrubbing toilets, moving furniture, and pursuing his studies at Columbia, Santos dove head-first into creative experimentation. He started a band and hosted what became a legendary, cultural melting pot of an open mic night at Gourmand, a coffee house near campus that exploded every Thursday with an incredibly eclectic line up of talent – everything from bag pipers to singer/song writers, slam poets to sitar players. Inevitably, Santos dropped out of school and took a soul-searching trip into the deep wilderness of Alaska.

It was in the midst of this reclusive and arduous journey that his life purpose became clear. When far removed from civilization and all its distractions, the one thing that mattered most to Santos was creating music. From that point on, his focus was dead set on making an impression — and hopefully a living — doing something he truly loved.

After cashing in his winnings from a 2005 “battle of the bands” showcase at Columbia, Santos self-released an EP titled As a Crow Flies the next year. During the time he was mixing the EP, Santos was introduced to an up-and-coming hip-hop artist named Wasalu Jaco (aka Lupe Fiasco) by a sound engineer who was a mutual friend. The two budding artists began their now-notorious collaboration that would grab the attention of an international, mainstream audience in the years to follow.

After the first official collaboration on the song “American Terrorist” from Fiasco’s debut album Food ‘n Liquor, Santos’ vocals were featured on multiple tracks on The Cool, Fiasco’s sophomore album which was Gold-certified and most widely recognized for the inclusion of the Grammy-nominated single “Superstar” featuring the vocal by one Matthew Santos.
With appearances on David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen, Craig Ferguson, TRL, and performances at Lollapalooza, Coachella, Glastonbury, Bonaroo, and the Video Music Awards as well as on a 56-date tour with Kanye West, Rihanna, and NERD, Santos’ world had undergone a drastic change with the worldwide success of “Superstar.”

While truly grateful for the mass exposure from the lime light of the Lupe collaboration, Santos was ultimately not content in simply being coined and branded as “Lupe’s hook guy”. “I like(d) ‘Superstar’ as a song, but it’s not me, I didn’t write it. I see the video and I’m like, ‘I’m not that dude.’ But it helps that it’s out there. It’s just another way people can get to me.” –

Once “Superstar” frenzy subsided, Santos returned to Chicago to continue working with his band. He was nominated for “Best Rock Entertainer” at Chicago’s 2009 Music Awards. The band — Aviva Jaye (vocals, keyboard), Robert Tucker (drums), Graham Burris (bass), Chris Gelbuda (lead guitar) and Matt Nelson (keyboards) – was named one of the Top Ten Bands To Watch by the Sun-Times, setting the stage for the release of 2010’s This Burning Ship of Fools.

In 2012 the release of Quickly Disappearing brought Santos back to his indie roots. The album reflects a concern for the environment that is heartfelt. The overall idea for the album revealed itself to him on his backpacking trip through Denali National Park in Alaska where he had gone to see a glacier. “All that was left was a layer of dirt on top of some snow,” he recalled. He decided to focus his music on the issue of climate change and the album is a result of that decision. “This album is me rediscovering my values — as an artist…as a human existing in a modern world, says Santos,. The title ‘Quickly Disappearing’ refers to the polar icecaps, how we’re affecting the planetary ecosystem, and global warming in general.”

With 2013 well underway, Santos has been focusing on a cultivating a fresh sound with a growing catalogue of brand new songs, while reviving/revamping some unreleased material in preparation for the next record(s) release slated for Fall 2013.

January 13th: East Meets West @ the M Building

140113 East Meets West

Musimelange opened its 2014 musical season with a one of a kind concert featuring the “Blue Lotus Trio” from Chicago.

The ensemble combines strikingly different backgrounds with Chicago Blues harmonica legend Corky Siegel, two time Grammy nominee indie-folk vocal star Matthew Santos, and Chihsuan Yang, virtuoso of violin and haunting Chinese erhu.

Corky Siegel was acclaimed by the Miami crowd during his last symphonic blues performance as a guest soloist on harmonica and piano with the Miami Symphony. He came back joined, this time, by outstanding artists to break musical and cultural boundaries, and create a fusion between musical genres.

Siegel prepared a medley of his reverent re-imagining of the blues which he’s become so well known for. Matthew Santos, recognized for the platinum selling hit, “Superstar” and Chihsuan Yang, who recorded with everyone from Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys to classical works of the masters will enrich the concert to only make it more enjoyable and eclectic.

The first and third act of the evening featured succulent hors d’oeuvres and desserts matching the ethnic backgrounds of the musicians, paired with a east meets west wine and beer tasting.

Act 1: Fusion Cuisine

Act 2: Blue Lotus Trio with

Corky Siegel, piano & harmonica – Chihsuan Yangerhu – Matthew Santosguitar & voice ~

dessertAct 3: East meets West Gourmet Desserts


October 21st, 2013: Musique et la Cuisine du Soleil @ DB Bistro

131021 Musique Et La Cusine Du Soleil

Souvenir de Florence – November 2012

Souvenir de Florence collage

An Evening in Austria – April 2012

An Evening in Austria collage

May 6, 2013 | Meet The Artists at The M Building

Meet The Artists

Celebrate the end of Spring with one of the Greatest Pianists of the 20th and 21st Centuries, Philippe Entremont, who enjoys a dazzling international career spanning over 3 decades and is celebrated as one of the most recorded pianists of all time. Together, with MISO’s concertmaster Daniel Andai, they will perform an intimate chamber music concert in the magical living room of The M Building.

Act 1: Experience Philippe Entremont’s favorite drinks and food.

Act 2: Ludwig Van Beethoven’s beloved “Spring” sonata for violin and piano, performed by Philippe Entremont & Daniel Andai.

Act 3:Discover Daniel Andai’s favorite dessert.


Carrie Feit Photography – A Spicy Night

Check out A Spicy Night viewed by Carrie Feit Photography, musimelange’s featured photographer 

Carrie Feit Photography – Latin Flavor

Check out Latin Flavor viewed by Carrie Feit Photography, musimelange’s featured photographer 

A peak into musimelange’s delightful Latin Flavor…

Spicy Night in Brickell Magazine

Brickell Mag April

West End String Quartet

THE WEST END STRING QUARTET first attracted national attention as the sterling strings in Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues. They bring warmth, humor, innovation, and dazzling virtuosity to their performances, with a fresh approach to string quartet repertoire. These four distinct musical personalities are international award winners, hailing from around the globe, with degrees from the most esteemed music schools in the world like Juilliard, Oberlin, and Indiana University. Individually they have enjoyed current chamber music performances at Alice Tully Hall, The Kennedy Center, Le Poisson Rouge, Merkin Concert Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Smithsonian Institute. Recent highlights in first chair violinist  Mr. Gorgojo’s career, are chamber music appearances with Yo-Yo Ma on the Chicago Symphony Center Presents series. Mr. Gorgojo is the recipient of the La Caixa Scholarship, the Spanish Culture Minister Scholarship, Indiana University Merit Award, the Bloomington Camerata Scholarship for Excellence in Orchestra Playing, and winner of the “Juventudes Musicales de Madrid Award.”  Violinist Chihsuan Yang is also accomplished on Chinese Erhu, and has toured throughout the U.S., Taiwan, Australia, Canada and Mexico. Cellist Jocelyn Butler has performed with several great orchestras such as the Aspen Chamber and Festival Orchestras, the Chicago Symphony’ Orchestra’s Music Now concerts, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.  Dave Moss is a diverse violist with extensive experience as a solo artist, chamber collaborator, and orchestral musician. His technical and musical insight, ranging from the early baroque performance practices to the most progressive contemporary music, are tremendous assets praised by colleagues and critics. Moss has performed at The Aspen and Tanglewood Music Festivals (USA), The Spoleto Music Festival (USA), The Pacific Music Festival (Japan), and The Moritzburg Music Festival (Germany). He has also performed internationally on tours throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Mr. Moss is an Irene Diamond Fellow from the Juilliard School where he received his Masters Degree. Together, this dynamic group of brilliant string players have proven to be the most exciting new young faces to emerge on the international chamber music scene.


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