Photo by Ryan Jerome @ryan_jerome  Writing by Adrienne Strand

Wise as a serpent, cool as a queen. The LA based alt-singer Ryan Santiago has both a unique voice, style and awe- some songwriting abilities. Her song Overwhelmed found its way all over TikTok in 2020 and has since gotten over 150 million streams and been certified gold. Her latest collaboration EAT ME with Demi Lovato is just as brutally honest as it is powerful. This is an artist whose name you should remember and to add to your next bad b***h playlist — she’s here to stay.

Why did you pick Royal & the Serpent as your stage name? What does it mean to you?

It’s a metaphor for duality. It symbolizes two opposing forces (such as: conscious awareness/ego) coming together as one.

You have a really cool sense of style, what is the key to create the perfect look for you?

Thank you so much! Having fun is huge. I love playing around with different combinations, layering, etc. It’s mostly just a fun way to self express. What I’m wearing on the outside usually reflects whatever I’m feeling on the inside.

As of now, how many tattoos do you have? Which one is your favorite and do you plan on getting more?

I actually recently counted with my boyfriend, we were having a contest haha. I think I landed in 1st place with over a hundred? Sentiment aside and purely based on aesthetics I’d probably have to go with my bat wings as a favorite. And yes, I plan to continue getting tattoos for the rest of my life!

How would you say your music has evolved since the release of your debut single in 2017?

Oh wow, so much. I think my music has evolved with me as I’ve continued to grow as a person [and an artist]. I’ve found a voice – both physically and lyrically. My sound has also changed a lot as I’ve continued to develop a stronger sense of self.

How did punk influence your 2022 EP Happiness is an Inside Job?

To me, punk is about embracing who you are even if that means going against the grain. The EP is about digging deeper and trying to love myself, ugly parts and all. I guess I just feel like whoever’s got the guts to be fully themselves, whatever that means to them, is punk as f*ck.

Which is your favorite song that you have written?

Definitely ‘Love Abuser (Save Me)’ – I feel like I’ve been chasing down that sort of sound and poetry my whole career [and finally found it for the first time in this song].

What do you want people to feel when listening to your music?

Seen. Heard. Understood. Like there’s somebody else out there like them and they aren’t alone. Nostalgic. Happy. Loved.