It's Saucy Santana's world, and we're all happy to be living in it!
Following the success of his viral megahit "Material Girl," the 28-year-old out rapper is in the midst of a swift and well-deserved career boom. After recently signing a recording contract with RCA Records, he is set to release his upcoming single "Booty," which is already garnering its own hype online since the track samples Beyoncé's iconic 2003 hit "Crazy in Love."
And this year, just in time for Pride Month, Santana is also one of the faces showing off the Pride Collection from popular luxury brand Coach's annual Pride campaign, something he admits is a big deal, especially since he and his mother were always such big fans of the label.
Out caught up with Santana to talk about what it's like working with Coach, getting the clearance to sample the one and only Beyoncé, what the new era of his work is going to look and sound like, and so much more!
Photo: Anderson Martinez
Out: Going into Pride Month, how are you feeling in this moment? Especially considering how many people support you and your work and all the cool things you've been doing over the past couple years.
Saucy Santana: It's one of my favorite times of the year, so I'm just very proud. I feel very prideful. I'm making moves for my culture and just being one of the pioneers of the community. And with everything that I have going on this month, June is just a proud moment for me.
Coach is one of the most beloved and cherished luxury brands in the world. What does it mean to you to be a part of their annual Pride campaign this year?
It's a very big deal for me. Coach was one of the brands that I used to always see my mom wear, so I grew up on Coach being one of the first designer brands that I was introduced to. To me, this is a big deal. I'm just happy to be part of it.
Mothers know best! Do you have a favorite piece in the year's collection? So much good stuff, rainbow stuff.
Uh-huh! All the rainbow stuff is cute. I think my favorite look was this rainbow purse I had when I was doing my photo shoot in LA. I had a denim outfit on with this rainbow purse. It was so cute. It's so much cute stuff. The collection is really, really cute. There are so many things that I like, that I don't even have a favorite.
What advice do you have for those who want to live their best lives and be a bonafide material girl?
Just be yourself. Be yourself genuinely and authentically. I've gotten where I am in my career with being myself, with no facades. It's easy to wake up and be yourself. That's just what God gave you. You don't have to front for nobody, you don't have to try to act a certain way. For me, my biggest thing is being authentic. That's the only way that you can be a bonafide material girl.
Love that. Speaking of authenticity, there are so many LGBTQ artists nowadays who get to be their most authentic selves while getting to do what they love to do. What does it mean to you to be a part of this new wave of artists who get to be out and proud? Back then queer artists had to be in the closet, but you get to actually be your most authentic self. What does that mean to you?
That's one of my proudest moments. I have seen literally the influence once I started coming into the rap game and just being myself and people started to see that, 'Oh, wait, you could do these certain things and he's not getting backlash for it. People love him, actually.' I'm very proud of that because it wasn't like that before. You had to either dress a certain type of way, or to be able to be around certain people you had to act a certain type of way, or at least make them think that it's this or that. I'm just glad that we are in a time where I think that queer and gay is almost normal now. You turn on your TV, you see a gay person. You walk into the corner store, you see a gay person. You're listening to your favorite rap song, it's a gay artist on there. I'm just glad that I feel like it's being normalized and people are not... it's not a "wow" factor anymore. We walk into a room and we're accepted, just like everybody else.
Photo: Anderson Martinez
Did you have any out and proud LGBTQ+ artists that you looked up to when you were growing up? And how does it feel knowing that you could be that person for someone?
Growing up, I didn't. Like I said, back then we didn't have that, so I didn't have many artists or anybody to look up to. The only person that I could remember is RuPaul. And I remember watching RuPaul during my high school years. And not even necessarily that I wanted to be a drag queen, but just being able to watch that femininity be on TV, on cable, and I could just choose to wake up and watch that was something cool for me.
How does it feel knowing that you could be that role model for a younger person?
It feels great because it's so many people that have so many different journeys. I even have friends that was like, 'I always wanted to wear nails, but I was scared. I always wanted to wear makeup, but I was scared. I always wanted to get my lashes done. I wanted to put on a purse, but I was scared.' And I'm like, 'Just be yourself.' It makes me feel good and warm in my heart that people could look to me and just find their confidence.
What's the number one song on your "On Repeat" playlist right now? Who are you obsessed with? Or what songs are you currently obsessed with right now?
My favorite song right now is "Booty." That's my single that's about to come out. When I'm about to do something new, I obsess over my music literally all day. It's so funny because by the time the song comes out, I be like, 'I played that song a million times already,' and everybody is just getting into it. But I just previewed it and I'm about to have a rollout for it. That's literally all I'm listening to right now. I'm just literally listening to my song. And I have to make sure it's perfect when it comes out, make sure that people going to like it, make sure that it's hitting. It's going to be the summertime, so that's really what I'm on right now.
Can you spill a little tea on the Beyoncé clearance for the track?
You work hard and once you get to a certain level, you begin to be able to... once people start taking you seriously and just see the talent and what you can achieve, you're able to get certain clearances, or people will get behind certain things. I'm definitely grateful that I was able to get that song cleared because I was scared as hell. And that's such a big song that we remember. Growing up, when I first heard the record, I was like, oh my fucking gosh, that's "Crazy in Love." I'm never going to be able to get that song. Now that I have it and it's about to come out soon, I'm excited. That's what I'm listening to right now.
Did you ever think in your wild dreams think that you'd ever be releasing a single that samples an icon like Beyoncé?
No, never. I wasn't even thinking that far. As confident as I am, I still have my own silent battles like, 'Am I good enough? Can I do that?' I'm just happy.
You also recently just signed with RCA. First of all, congratulations.
How good is it knowing that you have the support of a team behind you helping you elevate and go further in your career?
I'm thankful. I feel like that was the only thing that was stopping me from my full potential because of course I worked really hard and I made hits without them, but I just feel like with us now being a tag team, it's only going to be greater things to come, "Booty" being the example.
Speaking of bigger things to come, what can you tease for your fans and readers about any upcoming music and projects? What is this new era of Saucy Santana going to look and sound like?
New era Santana is just getting elevated. In my opinion, it's giving more pop. It's popping, but still Santana. To me, it sounds pop. To my people, I don't know if they would take it as pop, but to me it just sounds like a more poppy, fun, elevated sound. I like it.
Pride Month is a very special time of year, obviously. What message of support or advice do you have for young LGBTQ+ folks out there who are going through hard times? And especially in the chaos of the world right now.
In the chaos of the world, be yourself. Be safe, be mindful. Just think out your thoughts and just know what you want to do and go after it. Once I really settled in on what I wanted to do and I went after my goal, I was able to achieve it. Get you a plan. I'm not an aimless person. Get you a plan. Whatever you want to do, go after it, fight for what you want, and just always be yourself at all times.
Photo: Anderson Martinez