A Night Out With | Santi White
Rules to Tour By
By WINTER MILLER
WHAT? The singer Santi White, a k a Santogold, multitasks while talking with D.J. Franki Chan at Studio B in Brooklyn.
Angela Jimenez for The New York Times
“I DON’T drink, I don’t do drugs, I don’t smoke and I don’t drink after someone drinks my drink.” These are just some of the commandments prescribed and followed by Santi White, better known as the genre-hopping singer Santogold.
Ms. White’s debut album, “Santogold,” broke into the Billboard Top 100 with its mix of new wave, punk and electronic rock, and brazen lyrics. She is to play the Central Park SummerStage on July 20 before she goes on tour with Coldplay.
The other night, Ms. White, 32, was sitting on the patio of Castro’s, a Mexican restaurant on Myrtle Avenue near her home in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. She was joined by her friends Craig Wetherby, 30-plus (he wasn’t saying), a photographer; and April Roomet, 33, a stylist for Snoop Dogg and other hip-hop artists.
Drinking papaya-mango juice out of a bucket-size cup, Ms. White leaned against an orange wall beneath a cobalt sky dotted with cotton-ball clouds.
Ms. Roomet, a friend of Ms. White’s since they met in art class at a Philadelphia public school, reached for her juice. Ms. White shot her a look that said: I don’t care if you die in the Sahara.
“Can I have a sip?” Ms. Roomet asked innocently.
“No. Get your own,” Ms. White said, elbowing Mr. Wetherby. “She knows I’m a germophobe!”
“Hey, you don’t know your own strength,” Mr. Wetherby said.
Ms. Roomet ordered her own drink. She had flown in from Los Angeles to style Ms. White for a video that they had spent all day long shooting.
Ms. White’s ensemble was an ’80s salute: tight white pants, an oversize yellow shirt and black Reebok high-tops with rainbow stripes and a gold slash.
She poked at her fish with beans and rice without offering a bite to her companions. The two women reminisced about an impromptu lecture given by a drunken art teacher about how to push in your intestines, should they happen to fall out of your navel. They also recalled a harrowing escape: While working as a waitress, Ms. Roomet noticed a man entering the restaurant with a sawed-off shotgun; she summoned Ms. White, who was dining, and they escaped through the kitchen, taking the bewildered staff to safety.
Around 11 p.m. the gang headed across Brooklyn to the club Studio B in Ms. White’s black Escalade. (“I didn’t know what an S.U.V. was when I bought it,” she said.)
Ms. White had been put on the guest list by some D.J.’s who were performing, so they skipped to the front of a blocklong line. Once inside, Ms. White couldn’t find the guy with the wristbands that would get them into the V.I.P. room.
“I don’t go out much,” Ms. White said with a shrug, and wished she were home. The band playing showed no signs of ending (or improving). By 1 a.m., Ms. White could take no more; she would see the D.J.’s spin some other day.
In a few hours, Ms. White would begin a medically imposed vocal rest for at least a week. She had plans to carry a pad and pen to communicate, and possibly to scribble down a few more of her commandments.
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company