- Words Louis Rabinowitz
TikTok star and rapper Saucy Santana chats about exploring his queerness through music, his use of humour, and his greatest creative influences.
The rising influence of TikTok has changed the landscape of the music industry as we know it, and Saucy Santana is a perfect example of that sea change.
The gender-nonconforming queer rapper started as a make-up artist for City Girls, and parlayed his lessons learned into an extremely successful TikTok account, garnering 2 million followers by creating viral challenges to his songs such as “Material Girl” and “Walk”. Consequently, he’s been featured by TikTok’s own blog as one of 2021’s biggest artists building fame on the platform.
Now, Saucy Santana is ready to take the next leap in his career, having released his debut project Keep It Playa last month, featuring Santana’s trademark witty lyricism and an appropriate team-up with City Girls. We sat down with him to chat about his rise to fame on TikTok, the role of his queerness in his music and his use of musical influences from across America.
Why did you decide to use TikTok as a starting platform for your career?
TikTok was something very popular and known for making music trends and going viral. I have a very funny and charming personality so a lot of the things that I do are not on purpose, it’s just me being me. And I think that is why I perform so well on the platform, because I’m being myself.
You’ve called Gucci Mane and Trina your big influences. What have you taken from those artists?
Adlibs and lines I’ve heard from Trina growing up as well as Gucci Mane.
Your status as a gender nonconforming queer man is front and center of your musical identity. What do you hope your presence in the music scene – especially rap – means?
My scene in music means everything to me. I’ve gone through my whole life being myself and I’ve kindly been accepted by so many different people and it hasn’t been different in the rap industry. I know it’s going to be hard and this is something that’s new for some people, but I’ve been like this my entire life.
What does a great musical collaboration look like for you?
A great collaboration is something that’s not forced. So I would definitely love to see myself and Nicki Minaj.
Your album brings in sounds and influences from all across the US, from Houston to Florida to Atlanta. Why was that important for you?
I just like to appeal to different crowds, different audiences, and different cultures, being from different cultures myself.
Where else do you take inspiration from when building your music?
A lot of my inspiration comes from Florida, and me growing up there. So I listened to a lot of old school hood records and just club music period to help me get in my bag.
What sound do you think people are looking for after the turbulent past couple of years we’ve had?
People are looking for sounds that they are used to, also mixed with something fresh. Something new because people are always looking for a bop.
Why is sarcasm and acerbic humour such a central part of your music?
That’s just my personality and that’s my attitude. So I like to put who I am in my music.
What’s inspiring you creatively at the moment?
Different life experiences. That’s how a lot of the things I rap about come about. Alot is true, so there is no cap in my rap.
What’s next for Saucy Santana in 2022?
I’m going to be the BIGGEST star you ever know…Stay tuned….