On September 18, renowned virtuoso drummer, songwriter and singer Cindy Blackman Santana will release her astonishing new solo album, Give the Drummer Some. Three years in the making, the record is a rapturous testament to Blackman Santana’s unparalleled musicianship and compositional mastery, featuring 17 tracks (both instrumentals and vocal songs) that take listeners on an exuberant, compelling and beautifully sustained journey that will leave them breathless.
“If I had any kind of agenda at all, I wanted this album to be all-encompassing,” says Blackman Santana. “Pop, funk, rock, jazz – I embrace the creativity in all of it, and I feel so inspired when I play it. That’s what I wanted people to feel when they listen to the album – inspired.”
Working as her own producer as well as with multiple Grammy-winning hitmaker Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey, among others), Blackman Santana welcomed a brilliant array of musicians to her sessions, including an eye-popping host of guitar titan guest stars, such as Mahavishu Orchestra legend John McLaughlin, Living Colour’s Vernon Reid and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett. As one might expect, the drummer, who for the past decade been a mainstay in the band Santana, features the unmistakable artistry of her guitar icon husband, Carlos Santana, on eight remarkable cuts.
Blackman Santana’s sparkling vocals light up Give the Drummer Some’s next single, “She’s Got it Goin’ On’” – a doozy of a party jam but one with a distinct point of view. “It’s a fun, clubby, party song that celebrates the confidence that a strong woman has,” says Blackman Santana. “She’s dressed for success, she’s got her hair just right, she’s got a strut – she knows who she is. I wanted to celebrate confident women in a really cool way. And a celebration can be empowering.”
During her illustrious career, Blackman Santana has performed with a prestigious and diverse group of artists (Lenny Kravitz, Ron Carter, Bill Laswell, Joss Stone, Wallace Roney, Buckethead, Angela Bofill, Vernon Reid, Jack Bruce, Jackie McLean, Don Pullen, Buster Williams, just to name a few), and she has released a string of critically and commercially hailed solo albums. In many ways, Give the Drummer Some represents a grand summation of Blackman Santana’s talents and history, but it’s also the start of an exciting new chapter in her musical life.
“It was a lot of fun to do so many vocal songs on this album,” she says. “I am, and always will be a drummer, but it’s also exciting to showcase the singer side of me. I want people to have a great time listening to it. I set out to make a record that was fun and uplifting, but more than that I wanted the messages to matter. If people come away from it feeling all that I put into it, then I’ve done my job.”