Santiago LaRochelle (United States)

    Fourteen-year-old Santiago is causing a stir in the Las Vegas music scene, gaining recognition as an up-and-coming singer, songwriter and musician. Santiago combines early rock-n-roll, blues and folk music with a mesmerizing voice that shrouds his age. As a musician, he displays diverse musical styles on several instruments, blending acoustic guitar with harmonica, and at times, showcasing accomplished piano skills.
    This past summer, Santiago was awarded the Youth Scholarship to the Contemporary Folk Week Workshop at the famous Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, North Carolina. From this experience, he was inspired to write his own songs. His lyrical content is steeped in emotion and insightfulness that touches people of all ages. Santiago says, “One of the best things to do is to write songs that make people think. There are things that need to be said in songs.” “Family of Four” and “This Is the End” are heartfelt and the added layer of a harmonica further accentuates feeling, creating tracks that are not quickly forgotten. 
    Santiago’s influences include yesteryear’s legends, like Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Bill Withers, and contemporary artists, such as Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, and Ed Sheeran. Santiago remarks, “I enjoy songs that tell stories about people, places, and events. I love to sing ballads that listeners can connect with.” 
    Santiago has performed several of his original songs on media outlets in Las Vegas, including invitations to play at the Gibson Showroom at Fox5 Vegas, Downtown Podcast, and the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Front Row Center. 
    In Las Vegas, Santiago has earned local support through appearances at open mics, restaurants, cafes or for charity events. He has been featured in the Gibson Artist Showcase at Hard Rock Café, and he also performed in the several variety shows at major hotels. On many occasions, Santiago gets together with other talented musicians, joining to add a harmonica to the musical mix. To this, Downtown Zen commented, “Santiago transforms from a mild-mannered, polite boy sitting on a stool into a raging harp player, ripping off complicated, heartfelt solos that would make Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh of the Eagles shake their heads and walk away in utter disbelief.”
    Santiago frequently collaborates with his older brother, Diego, who is a jazz piano player. The Las Vegas Review Journal has remarked, “(Santiago and Diego) are making their mark on the community as entertainers.” Both brothers attend the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts where they are Piano majors.