Adrian “Drop” Santalla
Adrian “Drop” Santalla (born March 8, 1979) is a Cuban American Miami-based record producer, audio engineer, and founder of Drop Dead Beats Inc. Santalla first became known as a recording engineer for all of the local Miami Deejays. He achieved recognition for his work on Fat Joe’s worldwide multi- platinum selling hit Lean Back as well as hit singles for music artists including P. Diddy, KanyeWest, Pitbull, Fat Joe, J-Lo, Gloria Estefan, Kelly Rowland, Thalia, Black Violin and many more. His style of production originated from his Spanish roots and Afro- Cuban influences (Salsa, Merengue, Bachata,) hip-hop, R&B, reggae, pop, classical, and house music. Santalla works with artists from all music genres; conceptualizing, producing, and mixing songs from start to finish as a music producer.
Santalla was born on March 8, 1979 in Manhattan, New York. At the age of one, his family moved down to Miami, Florida. Santalla demonstrated an affinity for the arts at an early age. Saxophone was his first instrument following the drums. His passion for music led him to deejaying. Santalla would deejay in his middle school and all around his neighborhood. He deejayed all throughout high school. In the summer transitioning from middle school to high school, Adrian Santalla was named “Drop” because of his assortment of Miami bass music that he would play. His fascination of the radio fueled his desire to become an audio engineer. He would take apart the radio and put back together and see how it works. He would record songs from the radio on cassette tapes.
Starting at the age of five, Santalla grew up playing baseball throughout his childhood years. Growing up, his leagues consisted of: Pelota Pascual, Los Leone, and attending Flagami Park where they had several leagues. Along playing in these leagues, Santalla also played in the Boys and Girls club, where Ralph Suarez scouted him to play for the Brito Miami Private Panthers. Suarez led the panthers to four state championships and three state runner-up finishes from 1996 to 2002. During his career, Suarez has had 17 players drafted and 28 players sign with Division I colleges. Santalla won 2 championship rings in 1996 and 1997. In 1998, after graduating from Brito Miami Private, Santalla received a scholarship to Palm Beach Community College in Lake Worth, Florida. Obtaining injuries in his knees, ankles, and shoulders, Santalla decided to pursue his love for music. After attending one year, he realized that there was no audio engineering program promised by the Palm Beach Community head coach and left back home to Miami.
From 1999 to 2002 Santalla “Drop” was working as security and deejaying in all the major nightclubs in Miami such as Chili Peppers, Level, The Mix, Club Deep, Oxygen, Krave, Crème, and Prive. Within that time, Drop, started his first record label, Upside Down Records, and recording studio in his parent’s house. He had several local artists come to the house and record. In 2002, he was in search of internships at local studios. He landed two internships: IconzMusic Group and Musica Aplicada. After months of interning, he enrolled at SAE Institute, locate in North Miami, where he received his certification in audio engineering. Within these 2 interning companies, he learned how to engineer and produce music for commercials of all types of agencies. His clients included GMC, McDonalds, Budweiser, and Ford Motors.
While doing a McDonald’s commercial in 2004, Musica Aplicada rented studio time from one of the top prestigious recording studios in Miami, Circle House Studios. Musica Aplicada also hired Salaam Remi. Remi is an American hip-hop producer who worked with a wide array of artists from Amy Winehouse to Nas to Fugees. Along Remi, Drop befriended his mixing engineer, Gary Noble, which then became Drop’s mentor, because Noble was knowledgeable and had many more years of experience then Drop had. Noble was patient and easy to talk to. They remain friends till this day.
In little time, Drop started interning then working at Circle House Studios where he had his breakthrough in the music industry. Here, Drop started working with major artists such as Juvenile, Juvie the Great, reggae artist Red Rat, G Unit’s 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, The Game, Young Buck and DJ Whoo Kid, among several others.
In 2004, Drop departed Circle House and went to work for DJ Khaled at his private studio, Jerusalem Studio. Here, he engineered two albums for Fat Joe: True Story (2004 Full Album) and All or Nothing(2005 Full Album including Hold You Down featuring JLo.) Drop also worked on Melting Pot(Pitbull’s M.I.A.M.I and Dj Khaled’s Listen debut albums.) Khaled and Drop collaborated on 16 mixtapes. Major labels hired Dj Khaled to host the mixtapes for their artists.) Through this journey, Drop worked with numerous artists: Terror Squad, Remy Ma, Armageddon, Prospect, and Tony Sunshine. His list of credits quickly expanded to include Young Jeezy, Kanye West, Bun B, Trick Daddy, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Birdman, Juelz Santana, Slim Thug, Krayzie Bone, Chamillionaire, Trina, Twista, Freeway, T.I., John Legend, Akon, Jadakiss, Beanie Sigel, Styles P, Paul Wall, and Pitbull.
By 2005, Drop was collaborating with industry greats such as P. Diddy, working on his comeback album, Press Play, a worldwide
multi- platinum selling album. Along with Diddy’s album and various Bad Boy projects, he worked with signed artists such as Stevie J, Black Rob, and most of the cast of Making of the Band (Season 1). He also contributed to the 2005 VMA tribute to Biggie. Meanwhile, Drop continued working with DJ Khaled and Pitbull, while adding new clients such as Shaquille O’Neal aka Dj Diesel (recording, mixing, and arranging) and DJ Irie (mixtape series titled Kings of Miami, Season Opener and Candy Paint.)
At the end of 2005, Drop ventured off and opened up his own studio in downtown Miami where he continued to work with major recording artists and local artists. Here, he worked on three albums for Fat Joe which included: recording, mixing, vocal production, and arranging (Me, Myself and I (hit single 2006 Make it Rain featuring Lil’ Wayne)); The Elephant in the Room (2008 My Conscience featuring KRS-One; Jealous Ones Still Envy.) Simultaneously, he produced and engineered four albums for Pitbull:El Mariel (2006 Que Tu Sabes D’Eso, Be Quiet, and Ya Se Acabo,)
The Boatlift (2007 Go Girl, Midnight, The Anthem, The Truth, My Life, Secret Admirer, Tell Me), Rebelution (2009 Triumph featuring Avery Storm, produced) and Armando (2010 Preguntame.)
In 2007, according to the Miami New Times, Drop was mentioned “Best Sound Engineer.” In the midst of working on Pitbull’s and Black Violin’s (duo that plays classical music over hip-hop beats) albums, Drop teamed up with legendary producer Emilio Estefan at Crescent Moon Studios to collaborate on Gloria Estefan’s album, 90 Miles; which won“Tropical Album of the Year.” He produced the song Morenita, and two remixes – No Llores featuring Pitbull and Me Odio featuring Fat Joe.
2008 was big year for Drop as a music producer. He engineered various number of songs for Cee Lo and Jack Splash from the group The Heart Attack. Also that year, Drop produced 2 songs Aventurero and Solo se Vive unaVez on Lunada for Thalia, Tommy Mottola’s wife. Drop had the privilege to work for producer Jim Jonsin for two years. In his expanded role, he worked with artists such as Rick Ross, Baby Bash, Lil Jon, Flo Rida, Rico Love, Fabulous, Twista, and Kelly Rowland.
In 2011, he reunited with Pitbull and worked on Pause (Planet Pit.) He also reconnected with the Estefans and produced Medicine (Miss Little Havana. Pharell produced half
Since then, he has collaborated with a multitude of respected producers ranging from Diddy to Emilio Estefan to Scott Storch. In 2009, Santalla partnered up with Studio Center (Recording engineer for various artists, developing artists, production, and mixing.) Here, he has worked with artists such as Aaron Carter, French Montana, Ky-mani Marley,Cedric Gervais, Spanish artist/producer Maffio, Slim from 112, and Sean Kingston. Additionally, he had the privilege to work with co-founder of both MTV and VH1 Les Garland.
Today, he continues to lead Queue Production, a new company that has Grammy nominated engineers, producers and deejays. These producers have produced and remixed records for major labels, such as Atlantic Records, Hollywood Records, TOLboothRecords, and Universal Records. Zumba is one of Queue Production’s clients. Here’s one of the Company’s Producers/Deejay
– Best of Miami winner 2007 “Best Sound Engineer” Miami New Times
– South Florida Business Journal
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