Santi Oia was born in Santa María of Oia and he found his musical passion as far back as his childhood as a way of intertwining melodies with relevant messages. Since beginning from collaborations in the Galician festivals he had been a composer of important comps such as “murmillo del bosque” or “ my christmas tree,” always defending environment with his artistic music.
His stagename as a symbol of his home roots which depicts his love for nature’s embrace and hatred for injustices. Santi’s music is a mix of protest, love and experiments that reflect his commitment to positive change.
In the face of issues confronting the music sector, Santi fights for just payment of musicians as they picture a society where music heals and lifts up more than just entertainment.
Coming projects promise more collaboration and instrumental works as part of his music-nature-activist agenda. This is what his message to fans means—be positive, change today, and enjoy time because it means life. Santi Oia is like an oasis of music that speaks out loudly beyond entertainment through the melody in search of a better world.
More of this was shared in a recent interview with Mister Styx of Musicarenagh, so join me as we delve deeper into Santi Oia’s life to know him better
Listen to My Christmas Tree below
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What is your stage name?
Is there a story behind your stage name?
Yes, my name is Santiago Martínez Castro, hence “Santi”. And Oia is the name of my hometown, south of Pontevedra, Galicia. A beautiful seaside town that I love with all my might, with unique landscape beauty and very special and inspiring smells and sounds. The full name is “Santa María de Oia”. And it also has the “Royal and Imperial” titles granted by the Catholic Monarchs. So Santa María de Oia, La Real and Imperial.
Where do you find inspiration?
Above all in Nature, I love Mother Earth.
But injustice makes me sick. And the lie, too. I think that lies waste your time and injustice prevents you from enjoying it. Time, something as unique as that, the most valuable thing. We cannot decide where or when to be born, but once you start breathing, we should be able to decide how we invest our time, which is limited and non-transferable.
And nature is everything. That’s why the song is about planting a tree to keep us company throughout the year and not what most people do: cutting down a tree in the forest to decorate it in our house during Christmas and then throwing it away like spoil. There is nothing noble in that, no learning for our little ones, who one day will grow up and wonder, What have our parents done for the planet? Well here my grain of sand. My previous work is also a rock denunciation of the felling of trees and forest fires, it is titled “Murmuro del Bosque” you may want to listen to it on my spotify.
What was the role of music in the early years of your life?
Hear. Listen and learn the sound language. I soon realized that there is music that enters your body and mind and becomes constructive, inspiring, motivating, or relaxing, calming and hopeful energy. And I no longer wanted to get out of that world that is Music. Of course, as with everything, you have to choose what to eat, fast food doesn’t suit anyone, but they continue to consume it, the same thing happens with music. You have to choose.
Are you from a musical or artistic family?
Neither one thing nor the other. My parents are very honorable workers. My father is a Builder and my mother works in the fields, in her garden and on his small farm. Now retired, they continue doing what they can. I love.
Who inspired you to be part of the music industry?
You refer to groups and artists that inspired me, supposing.
Well, a cappella music was always there, Take 6 or Boyz II Men with their version of the song Yesterday (by The Beatles) that I recommend you listen to. Doo wop, Gospel, Rock, Pop, Blues, Jazz and of course Classical music. I couldn’t stay with one genre. I drink from good music and the message that great bands give us. And because the guitar is my main instrument, I will tell you that without Eddie Van Halen I would be another, without Michael Jackson, without Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, The Eagles, Mariah Carey, Pat Metheny or Sting, among many others, I would be another.
How did you learn to sing/write/play?
The guitar with a book of chords, and for some time self-taught, that gave me the development of my ear. Then I took guitar classes with different teachers throughout my life, I also went to the conservatory and the “Laboratory of Musical Creativity” in Vigo, studying modern music and some jazz, and it was there where I learned the most, the guitar classes. song came later. And I still continue to investigate and learn every day. The letters go through a period of reflection and then onto paper.
What was the first concert you went to and who did you see perform?
It was not the first but it was one of the most important, the group Dire Straits at the Balaídos stadium in Vigo, spectacular! Chris Isaak, Scorpions, La Guardia, Luz Casal, Bebo and Chucho Valdés, Alejandro Sanz, Amancio Prada, Carlos Cano, Vocal Sampling, Mint Juleps and Van Morrison among many, and one of the last and also enormous, the great Sting, superb !.
How would you describe your music?
Difficult task. Sometimes a protest song, other times committed to Mother Earth. Love is also present, of course. Always from a positive point of view and from the heart. And sometimes experimental. My second release was an instrumental where I mixed melodies and harmonies with sounds of nature recorded by me, in such a way that they caused the listener to relax, a relaxation different from ASMR, I think I achieved it. On my channel you can listen to something to know what I mean.
Describe your creative process.
Difficult too. I can dream about a song and when I wake up I have the general idea. I can start with the music other times because of the lyrics. And the most incredible is when you sit down and everything comes together almost without thinking about it, little happens but when it happens it is tremendous, like seeing a shooting star cross the sky. And when the muse doesn’t come, I sit down and start with the resources of knowledge until creativity appears and takes over, and it always appears.
What is your main inspiration?
Observation, contemplation, reasoning and the heart. Then comes the answer to the previous question, otherwise it wouldn’t come, of course.
Has your style evolved since the beginning of your career?
Yes. He always does. As everything. That’s how it should be. And so it remains.
Who do you see as your main competitor?
I can’t see music like that, I can’t see musicians as competitors. I don’t feel that way. They say some things and I say others. Music is a language with which we say things, with which we transmit ideas, we tell stories. William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra will never be competitors for those who read them, they both feed the soul and the spirit. That’s what I think good music should be “Food for the Soul and Spirit.”
What are your interests outside of music?
I dedicate myself entirely to music. I teach music. I have an acoustic cover duo that I love to play with, called “Take It Easy” after the song by The Eagles. We have a work on CD, also in streaming stores it is titled Máis fariña, it is a song of mine, the only one on the album.
And if you mean if I have hobbies, I’ll tell you some, I love photography, chess, family and nature.
If it wasn’t a music career, what would you be doing?
I don’t contemplate anything else. Everything I do is to improve who I am.
What is the biggest problem you have encountered in the journey of music?
That reproductions are not paid well, that copyrights are not paid well, at least for the artists who are trying to grow. And that there is a lot of “fast music”, as I told you before “fast food”. So you don’t have many incentives or motivations on the economic side. The market is not made for small artists or composers.
Motivation emerges from within, from passion, that’s why you never give up, that’s why I never give up. I think that’s the key.
If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would it be?
First, pay per reproduction. That each reproduction counted for both streaming and copyright. And of course they paid more for it. That would be a motivation and recognition of your work.
And more places to play. It would force doctors to prescribe music: You’re stressed, you have to get four concerts in two weeks, then come back here. Hahaha… everything would improve, surely.
Why did you choose this as the title of this project?
Well. As I told you before, it is about a tree that is planted and cared for like a friend throughout life, instead of cutting it in the bush and then throwing it away after Christmas. It is a Christmas song with a subtle protest against consumption and abusive felling of trees. Christmas is as good a time of year as any to raise awareness among people, especially the little ones. And also, we tend to be more receptive. I hope it catches on in society.
What are your plans for the next few months?
I’m preparing four versions with four friends, and among them there will be one or two of my songs. I am also working on another instrumental project, a small track: It is about harmonies and melodies that could be the Soundtrack of anyone, moments and feelings that we all have. So the title starts with “OST…”
Do you have any artistic collaboration plans?
Well, yes, I always end up playing my songs in the duo Take It Easy, so Pablo Costa is and will be my favorite collaborator, I love him.
What message would you like to give to your fans?
That they are good, that they contribute something positive to the planet and the people they love and that they take advantage of the time they have, that is the most important thing they have.
And above all, do it today! Tomorrow never comes.
Friends, be happy today!