Maureen Santiago: The King of Malaysia’s favorite soul singer, now making her home in Minneapolis


You never quite know when or where you’ll luck up on the next artist to write about. At Winterland Studios, loitering by the reception desk. Spot a business card for singer Maureen Santiago. Put it in my pocket and, at some point, called for a press kit. Weren’t a bad move.

Maureen Santiago, a versatile vocalist of amazing quality, would hold Svengali spellbound. She has a gorgeous voice, hypnotic eyes and works with some very good pop material. Even her press package is state-of-the-art, an extremely attractive portfolio. Graphics, clips, the whole nine.

Sitting in a little plastic pouch on one of the pages is Maureen Santiago, a three-song EP of polished R&B. Clear and streamlined, Santiago has flawless delivery. “Save The Memories,” a lovely ballad, generates singular heat. “Believe In Yourself,” a swingin’ dance jam with nasty backbeat, takes you back to when singers had to actually be able to sing and not rely on a computer to fill out the voice. Angelic vocals over sweet funk, smooth, upbeat, it’s one of those joints you love to, when you get home on a Friday night, just toss it on the box, pour a taste and get a head start on the night’s revelry at the club. “When You Look At My Face” is a beatuiful, disco-ish torch song. The kind that kept jukebox owners and club managers happy. Almost majestic melody, razor sharp arrangement, sung with power, grace and seething passion.

Showing fascinating range, also in kit is EP Fide et Amore, an impressive four-song collection of spiritual selections, including a haunting rendition of “Ave Maria.”

If, after reading her bio, you’re a good little reviewer and ask, she’ll send you a copy of her album Perasaan, done in her native Malaysia. Where, in fact, she was popular on radio, television and, of course, the stage before very appreciative fans. Among them the King of Malaysia, who twice hosted shows by Maureen Santiago for the court only.

Santiago, by the way, runs her own show. As chief exec at Sultry Soul Productions. It’s what she describes as a “music production boutique established to provide the passionate and soulful…soundtrack for today’s urbane lifestyle.” 

Don’t sleep on this international talent. It really isn’t that often you come across an artist this strong.