MAVERICK **** Perfect In Every Way
MOJO **** The oomph of Joan Osborne
SUNDAY MAIL **** One of the most surprising albums of the year
NEWS OF THE WORLD **** The miracle reinvention from pop diva to gritty blues rocker
The real Sandi Thom has stepped forward, and surely no one has ever been quite so happy to get the blues…
It was during the cold, short days of 2006 that Sandi Thom had her Eureka! moment. Instead of driving to gigs up and down the country in her clapped-out car, as she had done for years, the singer from Scotland resolved to try a different approach. She bought a webcam, announced a run of 21 shows to be performed on consecutive nights in the basement of her flat in South London. The audience capacity in the flat was just six people. But the half-hour shows were to be broadcast, free of charge, via her website at www.sandithom.com. The first night, 70 people tuned in, the next night it was up to 670. And by the middle of the second week she was performing to a peak audience of 70,000. By then, the suits from every major record label had visited the flat to see the show for themselves. What they heard was a singer with a sensational voice – strong and expressive enough to fill the largest theatres, but also warm and soulful enough to win over hearts and minds in the most intimate of settings.
Even before her debut album, *Smile… It Confuses People* was released on June 5, preceded by a single, *I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker* on May 22, 2006 Sandi Thom was a phenomenon. The record company called her “the first webcast signing in major record label history” and she became the overnight internet star who won a global audience and a megabucks handshake thanks to her investment in a £60 webcam. Needless to say, the story goes a little deeper than that.
Sandi Thom has spent half a lifetime writing songs and performing gigs. She actually began learning piano at the age of three. Sandi was born in a small fishing village called Banff on the North East coast of Scotland. Both her mother and father came from musical backgrounds. Her father, a fisherman who became a helicopter pilot, used to sing and play guitar to Sandi every day.
“The first thing I remember was listening to my Dad’s records when I was little, on vinyl,” Sandi says. “I grew up on Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac and many more. I’ve always been influenced by the Blues and Rock along with singer-songwriters, like Dylan, Carole King and Buffy Saint Marie. It was a funny mixture that certainly influenced the way I sing and play.”
When she was 14, Sandi joined a local covers band called the Residents who played pubs, social clubs, weddings, you name it. The rest of the band were all middle-aged semi-professionals, but she fitted in fine, playing keys and singing – often in four-part harmonies – learning a repertoire of classic pop and rock songs by artists such as Creedence Clearwater revival, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and many more.
After several years with the Residents Sandi applied for a place at the Liverpool Institute of the Performing Arts, and was successful.
When she arrived, she found, once again, that she was the youngest person there. “I was 17 and at that time there were a lot of older and mature students. I remember crying for hours, I was so homesick. But then I got into it. I loved Liverpool. The people were lovely. I did a lot of songwriting and I learned to play guitar. I also joined a gospel choir which got me more into singing harmony.” The choir, Love And Joy, once performed at Anfield singing *You’ll Never Walk Alone* to a crowd of 40,000 people.
While at LIPA Sandi also assembled the group of musicians with whom she continues to perform to this day. “That was when I started writing for the band,” she says, “And that’s an entirely different thing from me just sitting in a room with a guitar singing tales of woe. Some members have come and gone to pursue their own careers, namely Marcus Bonfanti and Paddy Milner, both noted London musicians but I’ve worked with my drummer and backing singer now for 10 years and we have a tremendous rapport. They are more than my band. They are my family.”
After graduating, the hard graft continued. A period of hustling for work in the music business landed her several jobs as a session singer and a publishing deal with Windswept Pacific Music. She began recording the songs that comprised her debut album and toured as support with Nizlopi and the Proclaimers among others, while playing numerous gigs of her own.
Since then Sandi has went on to make her mark on the International music scene, playing live to sell out crowds across the world, including, being No.1 in the Australian charts for an impressive 12 weeks, the current world record for any artist in that country. She accumulated 7 no.1 positions throughout the world and sold in excess of 2 million records with her first album Smile…it confuses people and second album Pink and the Lily.
After a 3 year stint of entertaining fans at festivals and gigs across the globe, Sandi returned to set up her own label; Guardian Angels Records, which debuted last year with it’s first worldwide release.
Guardian Angels released the Critically acclaimed ‘Merchants And Thieves’ on May 5th 2010, which remained at No1 on the I tunes Blues/Rock charts for 4 weeks, and after 9 months, still remains in the top twenty.
This record marked Thom’s brave departure from the pop market, to Blues/Rock.
Sandi has had much praise for this venture into Blues/rock, hailed it as “The greatest musical re-invention this year”.
Mojo magazine gave it a 4 star review describing her sound as having the “oomph of Joan Osbourne”, Maverick magazine wrote home with a 5 star rating and Classic rock magazine stamped their approval on the record by displaying Sandi on their front Cover.
There is no doubt that the new sexy, sassy, raw and rootsy Thom won the respect of the media and music critics alike, with this new record, however she also caught the attention of her peers.
Having now appeared on the same stage as the King of the Blues himself, BB.King, and being invited to tour Europe with the biggest thing in Blues today, Guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa. Joe liked Sandi’s style so much, he guest appeared on her album.
In August 2012 Sandi recorded and released her 4th studio album with The Black Crowes band produced by Rich Robinson in Nashville. With performances by Rich himself, Buffy Saint Marie and the late Bobby Keys. Followed swiftly by the critically acclaimed Covers Collection featuring a cover of Guns n Roses November Rain, the video of which is about to exceed over 1,000,000 you tube views.
Sandi’s life took a wonderful turn when she fell pregnant with her first child in 2014 and since then Sandi has dedicated her life to raising her son Logan, moving to Bahrain in 2017.
Logan now 2 and a half and growing every day Sandi is set to once again reappear on stages worldwide first taking up a weekly residence at the Domain Hotel in Bahrain performing songs from her own vast back catalogue along with a whole host of Blues, Soul and Jazz classics. Sandi says “I am so excited to once again perform on a weekly basis and what better way to relaunch myself than to be performing on a local stage playing the songs that I grew up with and such a huge influence on me. It is a perfect fit for myself and my son at this time in our lives and I am so looking forward to introducing myself and my sound to the Bahraini audience”