Toronto-based vocalist, DJ and producer, Savanna Lee (aka SavNotSavage), is a creator that combines a variety of influences to her music. Pair the hip-hop inflected jazz, techno, electro elements with a fresh aesthetic, and it's something you can vibe to at any time, in any place.
Growing up, Savanna sought inspiration from her cultural roots. “I started off with the Black Eyed Peas… I took pride in being Filipino with apl.de.ap. I remember asking my cousin to translate all the lyrics to me from his song that he sang in Tagalog (“The APL Song”).”
Now, she’s looking to an array of genres, both classic and contemporary for a style that is unique, envisioning time and place, evoking memorable nostalgia from the past, while enjoying the present.
For BanTOR Radio’s first guest mix, Savanna Lee is bringing her own sonic diversity and storytelling to the speakers with her Kickin’ It mix.
“That was me in Hawaii, just wanting to find some individuality,” Savanna says of the blend's process. “I had been in Hawaii with my parents for a few days that led up to it.”
Before Savanna traveled to Hawaii for a family vacation, she was asked to DJ for a fashion show at school. Research on techno beats followed. While on the island, she practiced her own catwalk in her hotel room, but was looking for a unique way to express her creativity, so she sat on her porch to fuse “island feels with a techno beat” that she loved.
Currently, Savanna is really into A Tribe Called Quest, delving into their sampling fused with a heavy dose of jazz music. Mixing unlikely, contrasting sounds is something the producer is fond of, and cites influence from Major Lazer’s 2015 Burning Man set and a longtime love for reggae music – a passion shared with her late father.
“After he died, my mom continued playing his music on the way to elementary school. I remember one day where she quietly cried, let a tear roll down her cheek as we pulled up to my schoolyard,” Savanna reflects. “I made meaning of listening to reggae music, (and) I picture him every time I listen to it. What I do for music is for him. I’ve always seen him as a cool man, a man that did his own thing, and was loyal to his being - that’s what I strive for on an individual level.”
Savanna is thankful for music, as she is consistently finding herself within it.
“Give me a beat and I’ll play with it melodically, listening to music is what has shown me potential creations that I can take on. Making mixes has shown me my findings of what I have taken away from listening to music all these years. If you ever want to find me, you’ll find me kickin’ it.”