Reviews & Dunn: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. How did The SANTIAGO Firm come about?
Melinda Santiago: It came about by me getting fired from my last Corp gig. In all my years and experience I was never terminated or even written up on a job before. I was terminated because I was a woman in a very high position and Hispanic. Our higher up was from a country where they didn’t believe in women (especially Hispanic women) holding any power. So God has his way of getting you aligned real quick to one’s destiny. At that moment, I decided I wouldn’t make anyone else a million dollars until I made myself a million. I started thinking about what I did best and I decided to put it to where I made money from it and had a blast doing it.
Reviews & Dunn: What can you tell me about your business and what you all do for your clients?
Melinda Santiago: It’s a full-service Mgmt. Firm. I managed clients such as Bobby V, Scarface, R Prophet, and 112, Michael Keith, Anivia Cruz, and many more. We offer Management Services, Consulting, Branding, PR, Book Publishing thru SFirm Publishing, TV Film opportunities thru Santiago Productions. You can visit TheSantiagofirm.com for more information.
Reviews & Dunn: I understand that your company is based in Atlanta. I remember in the early nineties, Bobby Brown mentioned that Atlanta was going to be a massive force in the music industry in years to come. What are your thoughts on how the ATL music scene has changed from the nineties to the present day?
Melinda Santiago: That’s a tough question… music used to have feeling and depth back in the day. RnB was separate from Rap. Then came Neo-Soul, Trap, Slap, EmoRap, etc. Music in the newer generation is more disrespectful and forgiving in calling women out of their name, promoting drug use, etc. It’s crazy. Rap used to ft. RnB and vice versa- now Rappers sing their own hooks, and the music fused. It’s tough to describe where we are currently at.
Reviews & Dunn: Your firm recently started a publishing company. What can you share about the inspiration behind that?
Melinda Santiago: After trying to sell my client’s story to unwilling ears, we decided what the hell. If the way wasn’t provided- we would make our own lane and create another streamline source of income for our clients. I partnered up with LC3Publishing – obtained an imprint deal, and that’s how SFirm Publishing came about. For my celebs, I put the #SFirmCelebritySeries collection in play.
Reviews & Dunn: The first book to be released on your publishing company is former Nappy Root’s member Ryan Prophet’s autobiography. How did the relationship with Ryan start?
Melinda Santiago: That’s a funny story. I was watching the show “Catfish” (he was on an episode). Literally, 30 min later, I received an email from his publicist asking for a meeting. We all jumped on a call, and we brainstormed what his actual need was. He had a story. A good one at that. So we put his music to the side, and he buckled down and wrote his book. Grams to Grammys. When we released it – immediately it went to #1 New Release and still maintains that spot. He and 50 Cent were going back and forth – but Grams to Grammys held it down. Lol. Sorry, 50…
Reviews & Dunn: Given that you work with music artists primarily, how would you say that R&B has changed in the last twenty years?
Melinda Santiago: Like I previously mentioned – there is still RnB out there; you just have to look for it harder. Mainstream isn’t playing it that much. Some great indie artists out there. The question remains though, how long will their career last in these time
Reviews & Dunn: You’re on a 3-hour flight to meet a potential client. What 3 albums are you listening to for motivation?
Melinda Santiago: Tank (all of them) Meditation music and Jhené Aiko and, of course, my clients. LOL
Reviews & Dunn: I’m a big fan of musical biopics. Who is one artist story you would love to see on the big screen, and who would you cast in the lead? Melinda Santiago: Luther Vandross and I would cast Laman Rucker in the role.
Reviews & Dunn: What advice would you offer to someone looking to get involved in your work line?
Melinda Santiago: Must be willing to learn, listen, and be patient. Must be honest, disciplined, thick-skinned, and relentless… RESPECT and INTEGRITY are key. If you lack any of these- don’t do it. Lol
Reviews & Dunn: Is there anything you would like to add?
Melinda Santiago: Started a new label for client Bobby V called Veltree Music Group. I am the VP/GM. We signed our first 2 artists and released their new single “Luv Dat Shit” –which is available everywhere. Lastly, just support those who support you. Even if we don’t get our roses now, we will prosper and succeed. #GODBLESSESGOODBUSINESS
Reviews & Dunn: Where can potential clients find you on social media?
Melinda Santiago: EVERYWHERE @MelindaSantiago / @TheSantiagofirm #SFirm