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 Santillis 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 2004s Corduroy Boogie, which included contributions from King Britt, 4Heros 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.
Santillis 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, Santillis 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 theyre looking for is someone to warm their heart. Thats 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. Its my job to make people feel comfortable with their discomfort that theyve had throughout the day.