Ivana Santilli
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Ivana Santilli


Band R&B Pop


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"NOW Review"

TO.NY (Do Right!)
Just in time for the 2008 sunshine season, Ivana Santilli quietly returns from New York/London to remind us that Nelly Furtado isn’t our only chanteuse who is young, gifted and Euro-?Canadian. In her absence, many lesser vocalists have claimed positions that Santilli could have conquered if she wanted to be Timba land’s next investment, but she stuck to her convictions and kept climbing the same path she’s been on since Brown.

Spending a few years abroad has matured her singing substantially. She occupies a space between Esthero, Goapele and Corinne Bailey Rae but is still distinctly her Toronto-?born self. Whateva U Want makes for entertaining, motivating dance-?floor fodder, but the impact is a bit fleeting. Her airy expressions romantically caress the flesh but don’t often provide that deep-tissue massage (play Mary J. or Lauryn if you want that feeling).

Leave It Alone explores the infectious space-?boogie territory that Jamiroquai used to rule, and she carries it well. Been Thru This feels like the intriguing result of a confrontation between Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson in 1982, while the title track is the distant cousin of something created during Prince’s Purple Rain sessions, and Santilli plays the Sheila E. role with convincing grace. Hopefully next time, we’ll get much closer to the heart and soul of this globe-?trotting Toronto gem. - http://www.nowtoronto.com/music/discs.cfm?content=163351

"Exclaim! Review"

Ivana Santilli’s State of Mind
By Del F. Cowie

For the past few years Ivana Santilli has spent time in dour London and home in Toronto, but mostly in New York, finding inspiration in unlikely places. “Late at night is the best time to go grocery shopping in Manhattan,” says Santilli. “In this grocery store they played the best pop music from [the] late ’70s, early ’80s and I could see people dancing in the aisle.”

The fruit of Santilli’s late night excursions is her third solo album TONY, named after the two cities in which it was conceived. Her homage to classic pop songwriting takes a different approach than 2004’s Corduroy Boogie, which included contributions from King Britt, 4Hero’s Dego and UK soul icon Omar. “This time around, living in New York really moulded the way I looked at my own music in terms of it allowing me to being very direct.”

Santilli’s songwriting and arrangements have resulted in perhaps her most sonically consistent and cohesive record to date, incorporating mid-tempo balladry and Minneapolis-tinged funk, while retaining her love for boogie, disco and even yacht rock. Lyrically, Santilli’s New York state of mind has made her more focused on everyday life.

“Some people are working from seven in the morning to nine at night and then they get their cocktails alone in a bar,” she says. “Although their goal is to move up the ladder, one of things they’re looking for is someone to warm their heart. That’s why a lot of the songs are about relationships. What makes the city go round is the business. But on a healing level I see people falling in and out of love and arguing on the street — the hard aspect of it. It is such a hard city. It’s my job to make people feel comfortable with their discomfort that they’ve had throughout the day.” - http://www.exclaim.ca/articles/multiarticlesub.aspx?csid1=123&csid2=4&fid1=32042

"Fast Forward Weekly Review"

Ivana Santilli - Tony
Do Right Records
Published June 12, 2008 by Frank Litorco in CD Reviews
The creative growth of modern-day R&B has been spurred on, ironically enough, by the revival of its own sounds. Amy Winehouse, Sharon Jones and Nicole Willis are among the artists creating a solid reproduction of soul circa 1960, with nary a sample or electronically processed beat to be heard. In a similar vein, Ivana Santilli's latest recording travels back in time by at least a few decades to capture the essence of the genre, with sonic textures more closely associated with the ’70s and ’80s than the present.

Santilli sets the soulful tone for the rest of the CD with the first few bars of mellow keyboard in opening number “Still Anymore.” It’s a captivating song for all the right reasons: production values that would make legendary uber-producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis proud — Santilli’s sultry vocals and, most importantly, her superb songwriting in full effect. Highlights are in abundance on this album, including the title track. Paying homage to the cities Santilli considers home (Toronto and New York), “TONY” shimmers brilliantly, riding high on its Quiet Storm groove and a hook that stays in your brain for days.

Although the CD suffers from having one too many closing numbers that detract from the overall flow, it’s a minor complaint. TONY is a tremendous effort on many levels and one that should bolster Santilli's status as an R&B artist of the highest degree. - http://www.ffwdweekly.com/article/music/cd-reviews/ivana-santilli-tony/


Brown - 1999
Corduroy Boogie - 2004
TONY - 2008



“If it swims we got it…” It’s a beautiful afternoon in the spring of 2005 in New York City and Canadian singer/songwriter Ivana Santilli has become mesmerized by the sight of the motto printed on the back of a fish truck. Although her two highly successful solo releases, “Brown” and “Corduroy Boogie”, have made her virtually a household name in her native Canada, on this day she’s found her inspiration in the often brutal directness that seems to represent the essence of Manhattan culture. This tri-lingual/multi instrumentalist/genre defying/critically acclaimed and award winning artist has long impressed crowds with her penchant for combining beautiful music, thoughtful lyrics and high energy live shows. Now Ivana’s seeking answers to the questions burning within her creative spirit: having achieved so much already, what can she do now to top herself, to exceed her own lofty expectations? Tours of Europe and the U.S. that fall further convince Santilli of both her international appeal and of her desire to reach the largest, broadest audience possible. This idea becomes a driving force as new songs begin to almost literally pour out of her the following winter. Always the musical explorer, Ivana’s new sound covers uncharted territory. After having previously dug deeply into such diverse musical styles as drum n’ bass, boss nova, broken beat and neo-soul on her first two albums, now an even stronger emphasis is placed on Ivana’s singer/songwriter roots. The new songs contain bigger hooks than ever and a songwriting approach that wouldn’t sound out of place on a vintage Hall & Oates album circa 1982. “I went back to a time where I didn’t even know I was being influenced… you know, those long car rides with your parents, that AM radio sound… Call them guilty pleasures, I call them great songs. A classic song never goes out of style, no matter how cool you profess to be.”

Born to an Italian father and French Canadian mother, Ivana’s background is nothing if culturally rich. Fluent in both French and Italian, she took up piano at the age of seven. However, it was the choice of her second instrument at age 10 that paved the way for her to perform with her father, a longtime stalwart on the music scene in Toronto. “I wanted to play the trumpet because it’s loud and as the youngest daughter, I needed to be heard. But when I told my dad I might instead learn the French horn, he replied: ‘mah, but who’s gonna hire you playing the French horn?’” Firm that she’d find more work as a trumpeter, he then handed her a book of South American standards and began taking his pre-teen daughter to his gigs. “Playing weddings in my father’s band was where I witnessed the art of entertaining. I learned how to please both the ninety-year-old grandma who wants to hear her precious Italian folk songs and the thirteen-year-old who’s only interested in the latest top 40 hits.” Her multi-instrumental capabilities, along with her striking beauty and undeniable onstage charisma, won her a place in the Canadian indie funk-pop group Bass is Base while still in her mid-teens. The group soon signed to Island records, recorded and toured extensively, charted regularly on Billboard, and otherwise served as Ivana’s indoctrination into the music industry. “The time with Bass is Base woke me to the idea of what I was supposed to be doing. Despite my father’s warnings of how he’d seen too many talented musicians starve, it was like I suddenly had insomnia; I couldn’t fall back asleep now.”

Feeling the need to spread her wings, Ivana departed Bass is Base after two successful albums and left several major label offers on the table in favor of a solo career with her own independent label. “I never wanted to feel confined as a musician, so the indie route appealed deeply to my creative senses. Plus I needed to find out who I was as a solo artist,” she says. “Brown”, her first solo release, sold almost 40,000 units, becoming one of the top selling independent albums ever released in Canada to that point. The success of the album propelled Ivana into the world of constant touring, interviews, TV appearances, and award shows. She toured alongside Canada’s top acts of the day: Barenaked Ladies, the Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, DeLaSoul, Tito Puente and James Brown. She collected a host of prestigious awards including album of the year from both the Urban Music Association of Canada and the Canadian Organization of Campus Activities. She was nominated for Much Music Video Awards and Juno awards. She even had a one hour Bravo special devoted to her. For the songstress it was all a bit of a blur, “an Indie typically has six-month shelf life but the demand for our live show kept “Brown” alive for over 2 years. Perhaps most satisfying was that our audience spanned all races, ages and genres.”

The next few years however proved somewhat difficult. Ivana had become the victim of an all too common music industry story: her distrib