'Supernatural' success surprises Santana
January 5, 2000
Web posted at: 2:38 p.m. EST (1938 GMT)
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.
"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."
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.
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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
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The Official Carlos Santana Site
The 42nd Grammy Awards
How the voting is done
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