Amaya Santos is a New York-based R&B, pop artist. Taking inspiration from the Caribbean music she grew up with and blending it with hip hop beats and sultry, velvet vocals, her music is a fresh take on her roots, with a modern twist. Her latest single “Carousel” was inspired by the story of her friend’s unstable relationship. A lively arrangement of rhythms and melodies underpins the entire production. It manages to engage the listener right from the start, all the way to the end. When Amaya starts performing, she immediately brings enthusiasm with her.
What’s one reason you are passionate about music and what inspires you?
I have been passionate about music for as long as I can remember, I love that there are different kinds of music for all occasions. Music has the power to make you feel different things and that’s probably what inspires me, being able to express how I feel and connect with others through it.
How did you first get into music and how has this changed your life?
It was my dream and I decided to just dive right into it! I started looking for studios in my area and soon after I was making my own in-home studio. I feel like I have more to look forward to, I love being in the studio, creating my own music, performing it and connecting with my audience is just such an incredible feeling.
When you create music, what is your personal purpose or goal?
It is different and depending on what kind of music I’m creating but the overall purpose is always to express what I’m feeling.
Tell us about your latest single ‘Carousel’ what was the thought process behind it? How would you describe this song in your own words?
Carousel started with my friend sharing details about her rocky relationship. It made me reflect not only on amorous relationships but on my overall relationships with other people and how sometimes we fail to distinguish the never ending cycles of unhealthy friendships or remain in one sided relationships. I thought about how there were all these ups and downs and yet they were stagnant and that’s how the idea of a carousel came about. I build my music around the idea, starting with a single instrument and mimicking the motion of a carousel by adding and removing instruments to give it that build up and decline.
What do you hope people will take away from this track?
I think sometimes when we are in a situation like “carousel”, we are blind to it. I would hope this song could be a wakeup call to anyone who is in a similar situation and that it could help to know they aren’t alone and that there are other people feeling the same way or going through similar situations. I also hope it would help them realize they can move on from them.
How would you describe your music style to someone who is unfamiliar with your music?
I think my music is an interpretation of my roots. I love blending the soul music, r&b, pop, hip hop and Caribbean music I grew up listening to and making it all my own.
What is the process that you go through to create a song?
Once an idea comes to me, I start to sketch it out by choosing instruments and melodies to build the instrumental then filling it in with the lyrics.
Which musicians have been influential to you?
Lauryn Hill, Mariah Carey, Aaliyah, Amy Winehouse
Your real name is Catherine and your artist name is Amaya Santos, how did you get your artist name? And why did you choose that?
Amaya is my grandmother’s maiden name on my mother’s side and Santos is my grandmother on my dad’s side maiden name. These two women are the strongest, hard working, most inspiring women I know and as an artist that is exactly who I want to be.
What is your biggest personal achievement?
Taking the leap and starting my music career has been my biggest achievement, it has always been a dream of mine and to watch it become a reality has been incredible.
What advice would you give to someone of your age who wants to pursue a singing career?
Go for it! Don’t let your fears or insecurities get in the way. Make the music you love and follow your heart, not the trends.
Any upcoming projects that you would like to share with us and your fans?
I have a music video for Carousel that will be releasing in the upcoming weeks, please follow my YouTube channel for updates. I’m also working on an EP that I hope to share more details about soon!