Two-time GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Matthew Santos, best known as the singer from Lupe Fiasco’s “Superstar," reemerges as MA / SA with his first single release in five years, “Back to Earth.”
Since his last solo LP release in 2015 under Matthew Santos, MA / SA has been fronting the Chicago-based band MONAKR, touring extensively through the U.S. with plays at SXSW, CRSSD Fest, and Mamby. On screen, MONAKR's music earned placements in the Hollywood film “Love, Simon” and TV show “Shades of Blue.” In recent years, he has collaborated with Grammy-winning Daveed Diggs (Seven Nights in Chicago), NGHTMRE (Feeling Gud), Saba Pivot (Bucket List) while touring with Dessa throughout Europe, China and North America.
MA / SA’s inimitable voice sets a retrospective and vulnerable tone, cascading over hip/hop infused beats, dusted in crackling vinyl and gleaming with brassy overtones. Drawing on soul, R’nB, and pop influences, “Back to Earth” is a collaborative effort with multi-platinum producer J.Kelr (Chance the Rapper, Anderson Paak, Kendrick Lamar) in conjunction with Engineer & Producer Nick Breton (SZA, Clairo, Mount Kimbie, Little Simz) at the Los Angeles recording landmark Truth Studios.
The lyrics confront the capitalistic foundations of a generation, while calling out the careless behavior of generations before; “Back to Earth” is a call to action to address the reality of climate change, suggesting that the ball is now in our court and “we carry all” moving forward.
The single is accompanied by a re-imagined cover of Billie Eilish’s “Everything I Wanted.” The song resonates with MA / SA's personal experience, having been thrust into the limelight during the rise of “Superstar” in 2008; even 15 seconds of fame can impact one’s life and mental health in unsuspected ways.
“There’s something special, blissful and, yes, melancholic about Santos’ voice. Maybe even haunting.” -Chicago Tribune
“Such a beautiful voice” -John Legend
“If I had one word...it would be captivating.” -John Sebastian; Program Director, CBS Radio