Many artists struggle to establish a musical identity, a brand and at the same time working hard trying on different musical styles like a shirt, or a pair of jeans, looking to find what fits best. Now there are others that seem to emerge fully formed, and confident of their craft, their identity and their music. Grammy Member L.A. Santiago fits into the latter category. His new album, “Won't Back Down” an energetic debut that heralds the arrival of a gifted, and significant new talent, one whose music feels familiar, while completely striking out on its own territory.
An Ohio boy who grew up in Ashtabula, near Cleveland, L.A. sang as a child at the age of 5, but did not take music seriously until he was 18. He explains that, it wasn’t until a High school Talent Show that he knew that music was in his blood, and he wanted to do whatever it took to realize those dreams. That night L.A. had a standing ovation and an encore performance from an audience of over 1,500 people. The love that he felt and energy from everyone could not be compared it was a motivating experience that changed the course of his life forever. In early 2007, recording on his computer and learning the art of writing songs, L.A. saw his talent develop and reached out to music producer Pappa Henny of San Antonio, TX. Now recording in earnest, L.A. was gathering skill learning what it actually took to bring a song to life reaching out to influences and using them to shape his own style. L.A. grew up with a lot of dance music. His mom used to dance around the house all the time, and when they would have family gatherings dancing was always fun time. So, he naturally gravitated to that kind of sound; there’s an energetic and youthfulness to it that he’s always loved. It keeps anyone young at heart and playful about life. After meeting Music Producer Paul V. Hernandez his name grew in and around the San Antonio area, the pieces began to fall into place for L.A. Entering a citywide battle of the bands competition in San Antonio, L.A. was chosen to be showcased on the popular morning show Great Day SA KENS5 airing to more than 2,000,000 households, and in 3 different states.
Recording continuously, L.A. has recorded four albums at Paul V. Hernandez’s studio in San Antonio. Working with Paul has given him the freedom to be himself and to make the music exactly the way he wants to make it, but he also understood each song was about teamwork and trust not only in him but in his producers abilities, and talents to breathe life into his music. That freedom allowed L.A. to produce ‘Won't Back Down,’ as well as the space to experiment while making it. He reflects, there was a lot of trial and error that went into the album, and many creative challenges in terms of production. The songwriting is more detailed, and that was reflected in how he recorded, and the teamwork involved. They have recorded over fifty songs. L.A. spent months on certain songs, playing with them until he thought they were just right for him. With L.A.’s playful experimental style the sound they have as a team is a commanding and infectious one, modern in feel, that is intertwined in their musical DNA. But L.A. says that, it’s all about expressing himself creatively, but also having fun and exploring different feelings inside of him through songwriting.
L.A. explains that, it’s him, seeing things through youthful eyes - in that way that everything is big and heightened, a young guy just starting life out. It’s that sense of excitement and wonder that sweeps through the album, and with the resounding beats, and the steady, yet propulsive rhythm. L.A. doesn’t just sing the songs - he inhabits them and lives them out, making his songs three dimensional in the most powerful of ways. L.A. is currently writing, and recording, honing his drive to create better more powerful feel good music. It’s gaining momentum - there’s a lot of creative stuff that L.A. is experimenting with. Being able to write his own music is something he’s always wanted. And on "Won't Back Down" L.A. Santiago is playing his songs precisely the way he’s always wanted, creating a fully realized album that is the culmination of where he’s been and where he sees current events going.