With a voice consistently compared to that of the late Jeff Buckley and likened to a male version of Adele, Chicago singer-songwriter Matthew Santos has been the subject of praise from such artists as Kimbra, Eddie Vedder, and John Legend. His highly acclaimed collaborations with Lupe Fiasco, for which he received two Grammy nominations, have served to broaden international awareness of Santos, whose own style is a unique, homegrown hybrid touching on alternative/indie-rock/soul and folk genres.
After the first official collaboration on the song “American Terrorist” from Fiasco’s debut album Food ‘n Liquor, Santos’ vocals were featured on multiple tracks on The Cool, Fiasco’s sophomore album which was Gold-certified and most widely recognized for the inclusion of the Grammy-nominated single “Superstar” (featuring a vocal hook by one Matthew Santos). With appearances on David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen, Craig Ferguson, TRL, and performances at Lollapalooza, Coachella, Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, and the Video Music Awards as well as on a 56-date tour with Kanye West, Rihanna, and NERD, Santos’ world underwent a drastic change.
Once “Superstar” frenzy subsided, Santos returned to Chicago to continue working with his band. He was nominated for “Best Rock Entertainer” at Chicago’s 2009 Music Awards. The band — Aviva Jaye (vocals, keyboard), Robert Tucker (drums), Graham Burris (bass), Chris Gelbuda (lead guitar) and Matt Nelson (keyboards) – was named one of the Top Ten Bands To Watch by the Chicago Sun-Times, who recognized Santos as an artist who is “organic and soulful and moody, full of interesting musical ideas and dripping with serious vocal talent.”
Santos has recorded six albums since 2004, including his most recent LP, Into the Further, which is set for release in early 2015.