Steve Santana

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b. Steve Campbell, c. 1970, Falmouth, Trelawny, Jamaica, West Indies. Campbell’s big break came in 1987 when he was invited to open a show at his school’s annual fair. The line-up also featured an early…
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Artist Biography by

b. Steve Campbell, c. 1970, Falmouth, Trelawny, Jamaica, West Indies. Campbell’s big break came in 1987 when he was invited to open a show at his school’s annual fair. The line-up also featured an early appearance by Patra, while Foxy Brown, Lady G and Papa San topped the bill. At the time of the concert, Papa San was managed by Sassafras (The People’s Promoter), who was sufficiently impressed with Campbell to offer his services to the young singer. The promoter gave Campbell his first taste of stardom, but this was short-lived, owing to Sassafras apparently being ostracized through legal issues raised by the Jamaican Federation of Musicians. Campbell, however, found a niche singing on the sound system circuit, which led to him being invited to perform on the north coast of Jamaica as part of a cabaret show. He performed to the tourists for five years, playing six nights a week, which developed his skills and provided a stable income.

By 1993 his association with Norman Grant’s son led to an introduction to the lead singer of the Twinkle Brothers, who produced his debut, ‘Beware’. The singer initially performed as Santana, but to avoid confusion with the US band, Grant suggested that the singer should precede his name with Steve. Santana’s career began to develop and by 1997 the singles ‘Until There Is Justice’, produced by Roy Cousins, ‘Time Will Tell’, produced by Mafia And Fluxy, and Norman Grant’s production of the roots anthem ‘Heavily Protected’, signalled his arrival. A number of sessions also resulted in white label releases appearing in the UK, where Santana had by this time chosen to base himself. His recordings are a regular feature of roots and culture shows and have been endorsed by Jah Shaka. Santana claimed that to augment his position ‘you have to lay the foundation’. He is a widely admired performer who makes music for the mind and asserted: ‘Too many people believe in God - Yet only a handful know him’.