Santigold on perfection, social media and her song "Can't Get Enough of Myself"


When given the chance to chat with Santigold for a few minutes before she DJed at a Dec. 7 promo party for Ketel One Vodka in Midtown Manhattan, I pounced. The vodka company's new slogan, "You don't understand, it has to be perfect," got me thinking: How does Santigold — who released her third studio album, 99¢, earlier this year — struggle with perfection?

"I'm a perfectionist, but I'm learning that there are good and bad things about that," she said. "Perfection doesn't exist. Perfectionism means chasing something that doesn't exist. You're always pushing yourself so you end up in great places, but you always feel that you're falling short of something." 

She added, "I'm learning to be at peace with something that isn't perfect."

So I wondered what she thought about social media and the temptation to curate a seemingly perfect life for ourselves on Facebook and Instagram. Her song "Can't Get Enough of Myself," which is on her album 99¢, seems to be a rallying cry against such vanity. 

"I think that social media is something that doesn't really allow much time or place for much introspection," said Santi. "If you think about Michelangelo, Aristotle, Socrates, Galileo — they didn't have any of this technology. They had so much time to develop brilliant, brilliant theories that impacted humanity forever." 

"Now everyone is so busy because they're actively capturing to re-show," said Santigold. "There's no time for reflection or introspection or to measure and look back on where you're coming from, where you're going. There's this constant attention to immediacy, to content. It takes us out of the moment."

Of course, she's no technophobe, either.

"At the same time, I'm very interested in technology and the evolution of technology, but humanity has to learn to find a healthy medium with social media," she said.

Lastly, I wanted to know how her perception of social media influenced her song, "Can't Get Enough of Myself."

"[The song] is about the narcissism of the social media world and the cultural environment that we're living in," she said. "Everyone uses themselves as a brand, as a product, as a way of marketing themselves. We are hyper-aware that we're products that we're marketing. We're even marketing ourselves in dating with apps. You're marketing yourself online to find real connections. So it's a tongue-in-cheek song about the cultural phenomenon of narcissism." 

That observation inspired Santigold to collaborate with Sam Fleischner, Yung Jake, Vince Mckelvie and Bryan Yee to make an interactive version of the "Can't Get Enough of Myself" music video. Viewers can insert themselves in the video via webcam. 

"I just thought what better than for people to see themselves in the video to bring home the point?" said Santigold. 

Before Santigold had to run to DJ her set, I asked her what she has on tap for 2017.

"Even when I'm finished with an album, instead of resting, the front of my brain gets a trillion ideas, always exciting ideas," she said. "This is my moment to figure out what to do next."