Québec born, South Florida bred singer Eyme Santos is gunning for her crown. The 20-somethings Miramar resident is not only ready to take the music world by storm, she’s dead set on leaving behind a legacy of ingenuity. “The industry right now is monotonous, and everyone is trying to pretend to be a creative,” quips Santos, who is sure she is fated to become the “female version” of producer extraordinaire Pharrell Williams.
Recently chosen as the winner of Rémy Martin’s 2016 Circle of Centaurs Music Mentorship Competition – the serendipitous result of a series of intuitive actions – Santos describes her sound as something coming back from the future, blending R&B, classical, soulful melodies, and experimental and progressive rhythms. The Dominican-Haitian artist credits the likes of Michael Jackson, Juan Luis Guerra and Ella Fitzgerald as her musical influences.
Being recognized and celebrated by the Cognac brand for her many talents, from singing to writing to production to fashion-designing, Santos was given the rare opportunity to be mentored by Orange is the New Black‘s Jackie Cruz, who also shared her personal experiences and insights of working in the entertainment industry, as part of the Rémy Martin’s music program.
After spending the bulk of her mentorship in New York, Santos returned back to Florida to clock in the hours at the studio for her summer extended play, titled Nights in the 305. A Miami International University of Art and Design alumna, Santos is an equally adept designer, simultaneously readying her spring fashion line, also named after her upcoming EP.
Representing Rémy Martin:
“I grew up in Canada—the French side, and they’re very much European in tradition and ways. So Rémy Martin is a company that used to always see growing up. I appreciate their aesthetics and productions, which always have a certain degree of quality. That’s what made it all the easier to want to be a part of the brand. There’s an art to their Cognac, an art to how they drink and pair it. That’s kind of like how I am with my music. It really resonated with me and where I want to be as an artist. The reason why my latest project is taking a little bit longer is because I really want to make it a multimedia experience.”
Biggest Musical Influences:
“Michael Jackson, who’s been my number one influence as far as music is concerned, I feel like he used to take the power of storytelling to another level. So for me, that’s what I am aiming for as an R&B artist—I want substance. If we’re gonna sell sex, for example, it won’t be the sex you’re used to. Definitely also Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone—of course Stevie Wonder [Laughs]. I really took the time to study some of the old schoolers because they had—I mean look at Billie Holiday, she was iconic and understood grinding from a very early stage. So I knew I needed to understand what she created. And Ella, her vocals are just… the way that she moves through jazz and the melodies, she helped me to understand the power of melody. And Stevie, how he wrote and put harmonies together. I have to say that Juan Luis Guerra has absolutely affected me and the way I approach music. He just captures it, man. His melodies are insane and makes our cultural sound what it is. Aaliyah is also one of my biggest sources of inspiration. Because as a woman, she represents what I want to do. I don’t want to be a woman that sells sex, I wanna be a woman that is sensual and is comfortable enough in her sexuality that she can enjoy it, but not necessarily have to sell it.”
Mentoring With Jackie Cruz:
“My greatest takeaway was to really believe in myself. I just met her, so for her to see a huge value in me – a stranger – is big. Me trying to always be humble, I tend to downplay myself, and she was like, “No, it’s OK to be big and proud.” To know that I’m dope and not feel guilty about the gifts the Universe gave me, you know? My music might help someone, might save someone’s life. I know it saved mine. That’s what I really got from my encounter with her—not devaluing what I have to offer as an artist and person. Learning her story and how she struggled at the beginning, we have similar nuances concerning finances and being deceived. It gave me a lot of strength to know the Universe is real and to know that what I’ve been manifesting is coming from good energy. I really felt that in building with her. The other thing that really resonated was her telling me to not only walk in faith but to have that willingness, that will power to will something into existence. It gave me a lot of hope. Starting the year like this has given me a lot of hope.”
Changing The Game:
“The [music] industry right now is monotonous, and everyone is trying to pretend to be a creative. I want to be the one to really teach it. Showcase something new, you know? To get it off of this plateau that I think we’re on, musically. We need more vision. That’s why I appreciate people like Jhene Aiko and SZA, because they’ve really—they’re women artists of quality, for real.”
New Projects Underway:
“I’m working on an EP and short film called Nights in the 305, which is pretty much depicting the story about a girl that’s stuck in a love triangle and choosing not to be a victim in the situation. So we explore her mind and the situation and the people involved. My music, of course, will score the film. I’m also working on a clothing line with [my partner] called Maison Mantra, it’s sort of like “my house of passion.” It’s a unisex line, and together what we’re trying to achieve in fashion is to especially teach men how to dress and put things together. I feel like they don’t get that enough in the fashion world. But we also want to cater menswear for women – like me – who like to wear guys fashion; how to put looks together and make them look more feminine. We’re going to explore all of that.”