Saturday, May 25, 2013
Hip-hop artist Sonya Tomlinson, better known as Sontiago, is the real deal. Her rhymes are whip-smart, her voice is distinct, and her feet are firmly planted here in Portland.
Sontiago’s new maxi-single “Muscle Car” is a six-track affair that is 19 minutes of dance-inducing joy. Recording artist Alias, a Hollis native, did the remix.
WHAT'S ON SONTIAGO'S iPOD
"Mixin' Up the Medicine," Juelz Santana & Yelawolf
"Little Brother," Lady Lamb the Beekeeper
"No Room For Doubt," Lianne La Haves
"Well Water Black," Why & Alias
"Bad Girls," M.I.A.
"Time for Real," Bleubird & Ceschi
"Don't Take It Personal," Monica
"Thomas Jefferson," Astronautalis & Sims
"It's a Pity," Tanya Stephens
TURN YOUR RADIO dial to 102.9 WBLM every Friday at 8:30 a.m. to hear Aimsel Ponti wax poetic about her top three live music picks for the week with the Captain and Celeste.
With help from a few friends -- both new and old -- Sontiago is back with the maxi-single "Muscle Car." With remixes and a B-side, it's a six-track affair that is 19 minutes of pulsating, dance-inducing joy.
GO invited Sontiago to put her mic down just long enough to catch a few questions that we threw at her. We got schooled about the making of "Muscle Car" and one of its driving forces, musician Therese Workman.
Can you break down "Muscle Car?"
The beats on the maxi-single were made by Canadian producer Ango. When we originally connected for a week in Montreal to share ideas and production, it was important that I knew what came to mind, or what visions he had for the beats he was lending to this project. When he gave me the beat for "Muscle Car," he said when he was making it that the imagery of a guy driving a muscle car kept coming to mind. So sparked the idea of this player who's bluff is being called by a girl who was once lured in by him and his car, but over time becomes brave enough to call him out on the fact that his game is getting old.
The remix is by Anticon recording artist Alias, a Hollis, Maine, native. I don't want to embarrass him by bragging, but the guy is internationally known, has toured all over the world, sold a decent amount of records, and has worked with a range of artists. We're really lucky that someone as talented, hard-working and humble calls Portland home -- it totally ups our value.
Therese Workman worked with you on "Muscle Car." Can you tell us about her?
Where do I start? She's a dreamboat of a human, an incredible musical mind and driving force behind the final product. Therese is from Waterville, though we met in Portland when her all-girl band, Ramblin' Red, played a show at Space.
She was living in Portland at the time, but has since moved to NYC, where she works as a fellowship adviser at Columbia University. She is one-half of the brilliant duo Oh My Goodness. They make songs infused with humor, future-pop, R&B and a healthy dose of "The Cosby Show." She can play a lot of instruments, but I would say synths and keys are her specialties.
So what else have you been up to?
Next month, I begin my new position as grants and outreach manager at the Maine Women's Fund, where I've been employed for a year and a half. I'm still on the event staff at Space Gallery (in Portland). We just celebrated our 10th anniversary, and I am really proud of being a part of that success. This past spring, I was busying myself as a teaching artist at the Telling Room (in Portland), where I paired up with local filmmaker David Meiklejohn to create a series of short biographical films from 15 area teenagers, who all relocated to Maine from other countries. It's called "The Whole World Waiting."
From your perspective, how has the hip-hop scene in Portland evolved over the last five to 10 years?
I think the hip-hop scene, though it still has its active veterans, is best carried by younger people who have the fresh eyes and ears, time and hunger to breathe new life into it. I thought that when I was one of those young people, and I think it now, a decade later.
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