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Take Five With Amaryllis Santiago

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Amaryllis Santiago: Amaryllis's story is very simple. She loves all types of music. Singing is a big part of who she is—not a lot of hype, just straight music. Many of the pieces she has written are like most singer/songwriters. The songs come from experiences and things that she has either gone through or has witnessed others go through.

Throughout her musical journey she has learned to find her voice in Smooth Jazz, R&B, Dance and her first love...Latin music.

Original songs are raw mixes. She has received global recognition and world-wide accolades from MIDEM Preview Magazine (Jan., '08) as the first Latina Jazz singer to have two singles on the MIDEM World Top 10 Charts at the same time (Cannes, France).

Instrument(s): Vocals.

Teachers and/or influences? There are so many influences. Off hand, I would have to say that Luther Vandross, Celia Cruz = 16464}}, Oleta Adams, Regina Belle, Karen Carpenter were pretty much central to shaping my early influence of genres.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I knew that I wanted to be a musician when I saw different music movies on different artists...The Five Heartbeats, The Jackson 5, etc.

Your sound and approach to music: Since I am literally all over the place with music, its hard to really pin down an approach...other than I listen to the first 10 seconds. If the melody grabs me or the words, then I am pretty much hooked on it.

Your dream band: I would have a mixed band of young musicians and seasoned ones. Both could learn from each other and there would be healthy competition to step up the game in terms of musicianship....a great recipe for a knock out band.

Road story: Your best or worst experience: I have to laugh at this question...because it could go either way. There have been so many great and bad experiences...and in the end...the positive ones definitely will outweigh the negative.

Favorite venue: The Belvedere Inn, Lancaster, PA Molly's, Lancaster, PA The St. Moritz Supperclub, Harrisburg, PA The Blue Bistro & Wine Bar, Harrisburg, PA.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? Chaka Khan, "Angel." This is one of her latest—a real deep song and I am enjoying it.

The first Jazz album I bought was: Oleta Adams' self-titled debut.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? Being able to contribute time and talent is very important to me. Anything that is community and music-oriented makes it important.

CDs you are listening to now: Al Jarreau Oleta Adams George Benson.

How would you describe the state of jazz today? Pretty eclectic and interesting.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? An open mind and accepting the talent that is out here. Remain grounded and continue to go back to the basics and stay on point with learning about the history of jazz.

What is in the near future? There is so many great things that are happening. The most current one would be the Clare House Jazz Fest. From there, I would have to say....keep checking in...the projects are getting ready to be released.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: Either a teacher or an attorney.

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