EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Savanté

Featured Photo Credit: Kelly Ann Schuler

Since releasing his first album at sixteen, Savanté has continued to create thought provoking and positive tracks.  His latest single, “Beautiful” is an inspiring anthem that will make you want to dance.   

ECHO chatted with Savanté about the single and its creative music video, his new clothing line and what fans can expect next.

What inspired you to write “Beautiful”?

When I originally wrote the song it was titled differently. Initially, I was writing the melody and lyrics with my sister. It was about a girl who felt invisible to someone she was dating or the world or whatever.  When I finally got into the studio with Adrian Newman and Ryan Stewart of “Call Me Maybe” by Carly [Rae Jepsen], we were just bouncing off ideas on how are we going to make people feel valued? How are we going to make; especially women [feel valued]…to empower women; especially in the teenage years, early 20s and even in the 30s. You know a lot of their self esteem is developed while their frontal cortex is developing between one and seven. Not a lot got that; so it’s a hard process to reverse. I knew that songs could get stuff in people’s heads so I said I’m going to stick an affirmation in their head. I want people to feel like they are beautiful and feel good about themselves. I’m a big advocate for spreading positivity and doing your best. I felt like having a real upbeat, relevant power anthem was important.  

What was it like to see people being inspired by your song? 

It is the most rewarding part of the whole entire thing. It takes hours and hours and hours to put the song together…To see how many people it has reached – I think there are about 300 shares between Youtube and Instagram. That was really amazing to see; especially so fast. I think we are at half a million views now. We counted 501,000 this morning. It’s not anything incredible. It’s not the most shared video ever, but to see that it has reached that many people…even if their day is lifted  for just a few minutes or if they are listening to it constantly – even better . It’s really rewarding and it is the cherry on top for the whole entire job. 

Right now, it is a time to pivot. You know there is so much negative media out their right now in the political and health sector that even through music and this medium. Even if we can help pivot people take a left turn for the better, then we did our job as creators. 

How did you come up with the concept for the music video?

I’ve shot a lot of music videos before and I’ve been on a lot of different sets. It’s always a lot of fun. I felt like this song needed something more organic. I was tossing up  a lot of organic ideas in my head. The first inspiration for the song came when I saw my family dancing in a parking lot to it. It hit me. I remember I went on TikTok and somebody had mentioned that a couple of people had done a couple videos and I was like wait a minute this is organic. This is social distancing. This is positive. This doesn’t celebrate me as the artist who wrote it. This celebrates the people that I’m trying to get it out to. So I said, I wonder if that would work? So we started to put it together. As soon as I saw the first 30 seconds of a mock video that I put together, I said this is it. The video kind of created itself. For a lot of creative people, when they force creativity, it doesn’t always happen as well. The video kind of created itself. The song called for the video . I think what the people wanted to see was other people just celebrating life. Just beyond the song and the people that collaborated and beyond what I can do. It was really about showcasing the people. The inspiration initially came from that first video. Then I started to see the other ones on TikTok. That had a little bit of a spread effect. We couldn’t use every single video, but we used as much as we could. 

If you could set fans up in the perfect environment to listen to your music, what do you imagine it looking like? 

Obviously, it can’t happen right now, but it would be in a big concert setting. When I’m out running, walking or doing anything, I can picture “Beautiful” being played in a large crowd setting. That would probably be the best place or in the car. Great song to drive in the car to. It really booms in your speakers if you’ve ever done it. The chorus of it – you can sing along to it so well. You don’t have to be a great singer. There’s not a lot of licks in it. I kept trying to do all these cool licks to it and the producers, Adrian and Ryan, they kept saying no, you have to keep it singable. People have to be able to sing along to this in their car whether they can sing or not. It’s great to hear when people have great vocal strengths and stuff like that, but we intentionally kept the melody and the structure of the song and the lyrics so everyone could sing to it in a big concert setting.

Your singles “One Song” and “Beautiful” are very positive. Why is it important for you to put positivity out into the world? 

First of all, I feel like it’s my job. I’m not going to sit here and say that my whole entire life exudes positivity – I’d say the majority of it. You know, I have my rough days. I think that positivity is the light at the end of the tunnel even for myself and all of the challenges that I go through – all of the times where I’ve struggled as a person with my own life and watching other people struggle with theirs. So much of what we take in in a video or in a song is subconscious. I do write a lot of sad love songs and politically charged songs and things like that. Right now, is it necessary? No, the world has enough negatively charged media- enough arguing. There’s plenty of that. It’s a bit saturated to be honest. I know that, especially in times like this, something that is positive is refreshing and it does impact people. It’s that analogy of a candle can light up a whole entire dark room. Even if just one video, one thing on your whole entire feed, one ratio to your life dynamic of what you ingest in terms of media is positive, we hope that it makes an impact . That’s why I believe in spreading positive music. 

You have a new single, “Find A Way” coming out soon. What can people expect from that and what can fans expect next? 

“Find A Way” is pretty much “Beautiful”’s big sister. It’s kind of the same vein. It was written with the same artists kind of in the same three days. We were kind of in that space. “Find A Way” is a little bit more chill. It is not a dance record. It has acoustic guitar in it. It flows really easily-really well. We’ve already started to come up with different ideas of how to get it out. “Find A Way” is definitely in line with “Beautiful.”

 We also have another song on the record called “Colorblind;” which I wrote with some guys at Universal Music. We had originally written an anthem to kind of celebrate all types of color. Whether we’d like to admit it or not, there are still racially charged issues in this world and in this country; especially now. A lot of people say that the album is one dimensional – he’s just the positive guy. It’s not. It’s very real. The fact that people might not believe that they are beautiful doesn’t make it not really or not authentic. It’s just about focusing on what aspect of authenticity to share. Expect positive music. We’re going to be as creative as we can through all of this. We’re going to figure out different ways and campaigns. Right now we’re advocating for mental health. I think that is really, really important right now. There’s a lot of people advocating for COVID Relief and everything like that. I think that a big part of where we can help out with people is to refresh their day. So we’re really advocating for mental health awareness. I think it’s important to talk about it. We don’t want to leave it as the elephant in the room. Everybody has got some sort of issue or some sort of battle that they deal with with themselves. A lot of times just addressing that it’s there gets rid of a big portion of it. It just makes it easier to deal with your problems when you recognize that other people struggle. We all struggle with the same things. We’re going to be creative. 

At the beginning of the year, we had plans of what we were going to do and how we were going to do it. All of a sudden everything shifted; so we’re shifting too. We’re assuming that the shift is all leading up to a better direction and more success and to be able to thrive. I think that this is the time to really put your work and your passion; so that your entire being, body, mind and talent are activated into letting life give you a gift. I think that is what this is all about. 

You just launched W&M Clothing. How did that come about? 

I collaborated with my business partner, Kyle. We have both wanted to do clothing for years. It just never felt like the right thing. I had kind of imagined this t-shirt that just said one word on it. It just said “beautiful” on it. We have a couple of other T-shirts too. We wanted something that they could wear proudly. The clothing is all 100% organic cotton by eco green life. It’s conscious clothing. It’s affordable clothing. The clothing gives you that bold affirmation – “BEAUTIFUL.” When someone reads it, they are going to internalize it as their view. The person wearing it is saying, ‘I am beautiful.’ It’s just spreading more beauty and positivity. We’re really excited about it. We’re excited about the message. It’s been really cool to see it come together. 

Is there one quote that you’ve heard or that you go by that you want to ECHO out to the world? 

I don’t know who said it, but it’s one that I used to have on my instagram before I had to put a bunch of stuff on there to promote everything. Basically, it is that anything is possible. I don’t know who said it and probably a million people have in their own way. I think that is the mantra that I have adopted for myself. When I was younger, I didn’t have friends. I grew up a biracial kid in a primarily caucasian school doing things that weren’t as popular, but I found music. As soon as I started to just dive into music, it just opened up this world of possibility, of success, of feeling good and feeling like I have a purpose – feeling like I could impact people and help people. That’s what I want to take with me when I’m gone. So I’ve adopted the mentality that anything is possible. I’ve always made sure that I take the highest risk possible with anything that I did and just went all in just like Kyle and I are doing now even with the clothing . We just went all into it. With the music, we went all into it. With everything that we are doing, we are just going all in. There could have been lots of things that could have worked out better, but obviously that wasn’t the possibility that was lining up. You know it was this or it was something else. I gauge my success based on what I can do for other people in terms of helping them out for the day. Again I’m not perfect. I’m so far from it, but anyway I can continue to acclimate and involve myself and help other people do that through osmosis, that kind of where I base my success. If I could say one thing, it’s that anything is possible. And that goes for everyone because at one point the President of the United States was a baby in a crib. Nelson Mandela was a baby in a crib. Everybody was some baby in a crib or bed or something somewhere. You have your whole life ahead of you. Anything is possible.