Matthew Santos has established himself as one of the most exceptional talents to emerge from the Chicago music scene in decades. With a voice consistently compared to that of the late Jeff Buckley and likened to a male version of Adele, he has been the subject of praise from such artists as Kimbra, Eddie Vedder, and John Legend. His highly acclaimed collaborations with Lupe Fiasco for which he received two Grammy nominations, have served to broaden international awareness of Santos whose own style is a unique, homegrown hybrid touching on alternative/indie-rock/soul and folk genres. The Chicago Sun-Times recognized Santos as an artist who is “organic and soulful and moody, full of interesting musical ideas and dripping with serious vocal talent.”

After cashing in his winnings from a 2005 “battle of the bands” showcase at Columbia, Santos self-released an EP titled As a Crow Flies the next year. During the time he was mixing the EP, Santos was introduced to an up-and-coming hip-hop artist named Wasalu Jaco (aka Lupe Fiasco) by a sound engineer who was a mutual friend. The two budding artists began their now-notorious collaboration on the song “American Terrorist” from Fiasco’s debut album Food ‘n Liquor. Santos’ vocals were featured on multiple tracks on The Cool, Fiasco’s sophomore album, including the Grammy-nominated single “Superstar”. With appearances on David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen, Craig Ferguson, TRL, and performances at Lollapalooza, Coachella, Glastonbury, Bonaroo, and the Video Music Awards as well as on a 56-date tour with Kanye West, Rihanna, and NERD, Santos’ world had undergone a drastic change with the worldwide success of “Superstar.” 

Once “Superstar” frenzy subsided, Santos returned to Chicago to continue working with his band. He was nominated for “Best Rock Entertainer” at Chicago’s 2009 Music Awards. The band — Aviva Jaye (vocals, keyboard), Robert Tucker (drums), Graham Burris (bass), Chris Gelbuda (lead guitar) and Matt Nelson (keyboards) – was named one of the Top Ten Bands To Watch by the Sun-Times, setting the stage for the release of 2010’s This Burning Ship of Fools. In 2012 the release of Quickly Disappearing brought Santos back to his indie roots. The album reflects a concern for the environment that is heartfelt. The overall idea for the album revealed itself to him on his backpacking trip through Denali National Park in Alaska where he had gone to see a glacier. “All that was left was a layer of dirt on top of some snow,” he recalled. He decided to focus his music on the issue of climate change and the album is a result of that decision. “This album is me rediscovering my values — as an artist…as a human existing in a modern world, says Santos,. The title Quickly Disappearing refers to the polar icecaps, how we’re affecting the planetary ecosystem, and global warming in general.”