“Soul therapy is the process of healing through music and the arts.” – Savannah Cristina
2020 unleashed a bevy of stay-at-home R&B music videos. Within that quarantine collective, a poetic pulsar factors more than what’s next to pop, but the overlooked musical gifts of Black Latinas. Savannah Cristina, the Dollaz N Dealz-meets-Warner Records signee, premiered her “Comfortable” visual on YouTube enrobed in satin jammies — seeming just that.
Her top of the year entry flaunts charming vocals and an effortless air. Amidst new clips framing her appeal and panoramas of a cozy apartment, the college student-turned-soloist is representative of her demographic truthfully. Her elements are identifiable. There are images of a name chain with her boyfriend’s signature, accenting bohemian decor, and visible textbooks.
All of the motifs above led to an in-demand “Flo Milli shit” assist on their collaboration, “F’d Up.” The trap-tinged R&B track boasts 1.3 million views on its music video and pivots Cristina away from her virally celebrated neo-soul offerings. The major label newcomer is ambidextrous. “Gold Mine,” the vocalist’s latest single, samples Adina Howard’s ’94 hit, “Freak Like Me,” and cast her real-life beau in its video.
The earworm is the most carefree Cristina has been for listeners lyrically and offers a taste of what’s to come on her forthcoming debut LP. The Knockturnal caught up with Savannah Cristina between the takes of her next YouTube acoustic session — in preparation for her fast-approaching, Self-Care: The Drive-In Experience concert, at Miami’s Dezerland Park. This is what we learned about the Florida native’s #SoulTherapy practice, her Alicia Keys co-signing moment, and more.
The Knockturnal: Savannah Cristina, you are an R&B singer-songwriter and poet. For those becoming acquainted, please explain your creative #SoulTherapy practice.
Savannah Cristina: Soul therapy is the process of healing through music and the arts. It’s confronting the trauma that has molded you and using it as a tool. [I mean this as] a creative outlet — it is gaining the power to succeed against all expectations.
The Knockturnal: Alicia Keys co-signed you in a visual, and added, “I think we [are] finally getting to a place where we are thinking about, ‘What does it mean to care about yourself?'” How did it feel seeing her associate your YouTube audiovisual, “Self Care” with successfully improving your listeners’ wellness?
Savannah Cristina: I appreciated that she acknowledged my visual. I understood what I was doing when I chose to go to the beach. It is my happy place. The beach is where I do most of my self-care routines, considering I am a Florida girl. I’m happy that the visual helped get my message across. I am sure that is how the song [went] viral so quickly.
The Knockturnal: Your single, “F’d Up,” is circulating virally. How was your studio session for this Flo Milli collaboration?
Savannah Cristina: I first heard of Flo Milli when I was sitting in a hair salon. It was her song, “Beef FloMix.” Once I heard her voice, I could sense her confidence. I knew I had to have her on the song — over any other artist suggested to me. This song needed that kind of energy, genuinely!
The Knockturnal: What can fans anticipate from your forthcoming major debut album?
Savannah Cristina: They should expect more self-care, self-love, and selfish verses. Also, [listeners will be] learning a little bit more about my personal life. Yes, this includes me being young. I’m a 23-year-old college student who is trying to figure out the woman she is becoming.