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Santessa was born on the Isle of Man. Her mother is half English, half Ghanaian and father is Irish. After Santessa's parents separated, she spent her childhood partly on the Isle of Man, partly in the rough estate in Manchester where her grandmother lived.

Eventually they moved to Majorca, then to Barcelona for six years. It was a prefect city for a teenager to grow up in. Beaches, mountains, art and a culture and a kicking nightlife. "People don't go out until midnight, and then don't come back until eleven in the morning. It's great to party in Spain.."

At the age of nineteen, Santessa travelled from Barcelona to London on a motorbike for a month's holiday and ended up staying. "It petrified me, this grey city where everyone was really moody. It took me months to adapt, to get a grip on things . But music made we want to stay. London just drew me in."

In the past two years, she has recorded four albums of material. None of it ever came out. "A lot of it was really inaccessible", she laughs, but says it was liberating nonetheless. "I wasn't trying to write anything that anybody liked. It was just about what I wanted to say, and how I wanted to say it. That was a good period for me."

But eventually she came back to the idea of songs, structure, of allowing other people in to her edgy, complex world. She met up with Stuart Mathewman, the guitarist in Sade and a producer in his own right (Sweetback, Maxwell), and suddenly it all came together. "We just clicked straight away. I felt I didn't have to compromise."

From trip hop to soul, from the sinuous rhythms of reggae to the atmospheric landscapes of Bowie's Low, from London club cool to Latin mystery, Santess has created something shimmeringly beautiful and whole. She's home, but that doesn't mean we yet know where she's coming from or where she's going.

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