Nico Santos released his debut record “Streets of Gold” on Oct, 12th. “Rooftop” immediately resonated with me and it became this spring’s favourite song of mine. But he was already working behind the scenes as a singer songwriter for years. We all know Mark Forster’s “Wir sind Gross” and yes he co-wrote the song. So when I was told that I could have a quick chat with Nico Santos I was really happy and I was super excited to get to know the person behind those songs.
So Nico, you’re not a newbie in the music biz. So why did you release your debut album only just now?
I wanted to have the album just right so that I won’t say in 10 years time „Ahh I should have spent more time on it“. I wanted to have it perfect. I can listen to the record in one go and think wow I love every song so that I don’t have to skip one.
How long did it take for it to be just perfect?
Streets of Gold – the title track I wrote 4 years ago. Since then I wrote 200 or 300 songs. Those are the 14 best songs which transport the best emotions I had at that time.
Streets of Gold – What does the the name mean?
It’s about the time before I started with music, before I found the right people to play music and the desire to play music. It’s about the desire to find the right path in life. Everyone knows that feeling. And for me it was music.
The cool thing was that when I moved to Berlin I find the right guys to build a team and create my new record.
But what does it actually mean?
If you look up synonyms for lucky „Streets of Gold“ comes up so it’s the pursuit of happiness.
(A little side note on that: The saying comes from the time where Europeans immigrated to the US because people would say the streets are paved with gold over there.)
The record is so versatile. This morning you posted outtakes from your video shoot where you danced like Michael Jackson. So I assume his one of your idols but who else are your musical inspirations?
My parents, definitely. My Dad’s a Jazz musician and my Mom does rock. But other than them Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake.
Did you see them live?
Yes, both. 🙂
Prince and Stevie Wonder are inspirations too. My parents gave me a lot of music to listen to.
I think songwriting is so exciting. I saw John Legend on Saturday…
John Legend, really? That is so cool I was just googling Gigs John Legend 2019 and found nothing! Where did he play?
At the Baloise Session. It’s a very cool venue with 10 gigs over 3 weeks and you are sitting at tables with candle’s on them. It has a Jazz club vibe.
Wow that sounds really cool!
It is. Anyway John Legend mentioned that he starts with a melody and then finds words that fits the melody. What about you? How do you write your songs?
It’s different every time. I think if you had a recipe how to write good songs everyone would want it. There are certain tips or ways how it’s best to write songs. I usually sit at the piano and transport my feelings into chords. Quite often a little lyrics slice comes up and then I use my phone to write it down. I think I have like 1500 voice messages! 🙂 A lot of ideas…
But most of the time I sit at the piano like 40 / 50 % and see what happens.
Sounds a lot like John Legend! 🙂
Your stage name is Spanish and you are German. So why did you choose English as your language of music?
I grew up with English music. Back then I wasn’t interested in Spanish music and I wasn’t familiar with German music because I grew up in Mallorca. My parents inspired me with English music and that’s why English is the language I felt most comfortable with when I write songs. Now I’d gotten used to it and I feel like I can get across my feelings better in English. When I’m at songwriting sessions I see that my German isn’t as good as others. They grew up in Germany and went to school there. That’s why I’m happy to be able to sing in English and there are not many German artists singing in English.
That’s why my blog is in English too!
Your – I call it “spring hit” – was „Rooftop“. When I heard it the first time I knew I loved it immediately!
Very cool! Thank you that makes me happy 🙂
Sometimes you have those songs that you know that you love them immediately. Do you have this too and if yes, which one’s are yours?
From others or my own?
At the moment I love the record by Khalid that just came out. I just loved every song… „Better“, „Saturday Nights“… I like R’n’B a lot. 6LACK is really cool. He’s got some cool features too. Amazing record!
And now your songs?
With „Rooftop“ I had a good gut feeling. If you jump up in the studio and you’re really happy that you wrote the song then it’s a good sign. Sometimes you think it’s good and then it’s bad but if you get up…
Oh yeah, I know that feeling!
I googled and I found this Filipino actor Nico Santos. How often do you get mistaken for him?
When „Home“ came out a lot of people wrote and tagged him by mistake because I didn’t have Instagram and Twitter. So he wrote on Twitter: „I’m not Nico Santos the singer“. It started to annoy him so he tweeted: „Nico start your own IG and Twitter account!“ And I think OK, now I really have to.
So you two are in contact?
No. He wrote it and others sent it to me and so I knew I had to something now. I’ve never met him but I think it’s funny how two complete different people have the same name.
3rd of May you’re back in Zurich at X-tra for the final gig of your tour. What do you expect from the Swiss audience?
I was in Berne at Energy Air and I had one of the coolest shows ever! The energy was unbelievable, it was a lot of fun. It’s weird because in Germany people say they’re a bit aloof and you Swiss say it too but in Berne I thought I was Justin Bieber! 😀 I pointed at something and everyone completely lost their minds. It’s not like that in Germany. I tried a few different spots and the energy was the same!
Really? I had a very different experience the last few years? Maybe it’s the front rows I’m too old for that! 🙂
Ha, no! Maybe it’s that but you know during the „ohh ohh ohh“ part I thought the whole football stadium sang with me!
Cool, so the same at X-tra in May! 😀
The same at X-tra in May, yes 🙂
What needs to happen that you say „Yup I made it“ with my music?
I don’t think this exists. I never want to have this thought. Music is ambitious as well as your whole life. I don’t think there’s ever a point where I say „Now I have 100 golden records“ I made it. I think my wish is that I can make music my whole life and be happy and then, yes, then I made it 😀
Daniela who’s joining us at the gig in May asked: What made you step in front of the mic and not only write music for others anymore?
It always was a bit of a wish for me. When „Home“ worked in Germany with my voice, a song that I wrote in my when I was little, I thought it be cool to do my own music. The song was a bit too deep house for me so I wanted to do my own and perform them. That was the first moment I thought OK now I gotta start doing it.
Then I wrote „Safe“ and after that „Rooftop“.
Kellin asked: What’s your dream location where you want to perform?
Madison Square Garden. Every artist wants to play there 🙂
True. I heard it before in my previous interviews.
I heard that Stromae is the only French singing musician that sold out Madison Square Garden twice. If you managed to that, that’s not too bad!
And I’d love to play Plaça de toros de Palma in Mallorca.
Oh wow, yes that’s a great location 🙂 I think that’s where the show „Wetten dass“ was filmed. Have you been in that location?
Yes, I actually watched “Wetten dass“ and another programme where Melanie C performed her hit „Never be the same again“.
Last Fan Question from Anna: What’s you favourite dessert?
It changed recently! Now it’s cheesecake.
What was it before cheesecake?
Everything with ice cream. It didn’t matter it just needed ice cream. I ate like 3 ice creams a day and now it’s cheesecake. Princess Cheesecake in Berlin is awesome. People might start saying „Nico stop it“.
I totally get what you mean I don’t know how people can have summer bodies! I have the best ice cream guy around the corner called Gelati am See and I’m there every lunch time.
Yeah, everyone talks about summer bodies but I don’t know how they do it either.
So that was it! Thank you so much Nico!
Cool, thank you!
Get your tix for Nico Santos’ show on May 3rd at X-tra via Ticketcorner. Check out “Streets of Gold” and leave a comment below which song is your favourite or head over to Instagram and let me know there 🙂
P.S: Please vote for Nico Santos to win this year’s Bambi award: https://www.bambi.de/nico-santos