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'Supernatural' success surprises Santana

Carlos Santana  

January 5, 2000
Web posted at: 2:38 p.m. EST (1938 GMT)

In this story:

High expectations

Clive Davis gets his due


NEW YORK (CNN) -- It was June 1, 1999, that Carlos Santana and his band played "(Da Le) Yaleo" on CNN's "Showbiz Today" while rehearsing for their performance that evening on VH1's "Hard Rock Live." Santana had a new album out. His comments suggested an ability to see into the future, as he predicted that the music would catch listeners' ears.

CNN Showbiz Today's Paul Vercammen talks with Santana
Real 28K 80K
Windows Media 28K 80K

Listen to a clip from "Smooth"
[125k MPEG-3] or [195k WAV]
(Courtesy Arista Records)


Santana performs "(Da Le) Yaleo" on CNN Showbiz Today

Full audio performance:
1.4Mb MPEG-3
Audio clip: 390k WAV
Video clip: 2.3Mb QuickTime

Santana was nominated in the following 10 categories for the 42nd Grammy Awards.

  • Song of the year
  • Album of the year (for "Supernatural")
  • Record of the year (for "Smooth," featuring Rob Thomas)
  • Best pop collaboration with vocals (for "Smooth," featuring Rob Thomas)
  • Best pop collaboration with vocals (for "Love of My Life," featuring Dave Matthews)
  • Best pop instrumental performance (for "El Farol")
  • Best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal (for "Put Your Lights On," featuring Everclear)
  • Best rock instrumental performance (for "The Calling," featuring Eric Clapton)
  • Best rock album (for "Supernatural")
  • Best instrumental composition (for "El Farol")

    "We got together and we put together this music, 'Supernatural,' and we believe it's definitely going to create a cause-and-effect," he said. "My brother Benny Rietveld calls it 'spreading a spiritual virus.'"

    Tuesday morning, the virtuoso rock guitarist learned that he has received a leading 10 Grammy nominations for his latest release, including album, record and song of the year.

    Mexican-born Santana, 52, told CNN on Tuesday's "Showbiz Today" that the nominations make him feel like the Grammys are "the Super Bowl."

    High expectations

    Santana says he had no idea his record would win such critical and commercial success. With collaborations between him and other musicians -- among them Dave Matthews, Eric Clapton, Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, Eagle-Eye Cherry and Everlast -- music critics expected something interesting, at least, when the album was released.

    Audiences promptly discovered Santana's newest work, making the first single, "Smooth," co-written and sung by Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, a Billboard No. 1 single. The CD "Supernatural" has sold more than 6 million copies.

    And as a backdrop to his current popularity, people are being reintroduced to some of Santana's older recordings, including 1970's "Abraxas," included on several year-end lists among top albums of all time.

    "We are being connected with 3-year-olds, 7-year-olds, 70-year-olds, 60-year-olds," he says. "Grandparents, parents, teen-agers and the children."

    Clive Davis gets his due

    While recording his album, Santana says he was interested not in sales, but in "capturing the sound -- to be soulful, sincere, simple, be true to the motives of honoring the music. And that's all I concentrated on."


    That "Supernatural" has sold well, too, since its June release, came as a pleasant surprise -- to him. The record executive who made it happen says he wasn't surprised at all.

    "It's one of the very few albums," says Arista Records president Clive Davis, "that young people love and older people love. So it's exploded."

    Back in 1969, around the time of Santana's fiery debut at the original Woodstock festival, Davis signed the band to Columbia Records. He subsequently created his own label, Arista, finally bringing Santana over to the label with this Grammy-nominated recording.

    In recent years, touring steadily, Santana has failed to make a dent in radio playlists with anything but his classic rock hits. That seems to be changing now, thanks to Davis' intuition. And there may be more hits to come.

    "The songs are great and they're radio-friendly," Davis says, "so we have six, seven, eight possibilities at singles."

    Santana says he's convinced that his association with Davis got his career going again. "My wife was very adamant, very persistent about myself being connected with Mr. Clive Davis," he says.

    "And once that connection was made, Mr. Clive Davis -- his vision, his conviction, his faith in us and his clarity obviously speaks for itself. I owe everything to my wife and Mr. Clive Davis and, of course, all the artists who participated on it."

    CNN Entertainment News Correspondents Mark Scheerer and Paul Vercammen contributed to this report.

    Grammy nominations prove Santana's 'Supernatural' success
    January 4, 2000
    Santana's 'Supernatural' going strong
    January 3, 2000
    Latin pop: A new international music language
    October 22, 1999
    Santana: Music is 'Supernatural'
    June 2, 1999
    Despite critical drubbing, Matchbox 20 keeps strumming
    August 24, 1998
    Santana among acts enshrined into Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame
    January 13, 1998

    The Official Carlos Santana Site
    The 42nd Grammy Awards
      • How the voting is done
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