Sandi Thom – Flesh & Blood
When her debut single I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair) caused an Internet sensation it didn’t take the detractors and critics too long to get their knives out for Sandi Thom.
Accused of being everything from a manufactured artist to a publicity stunt, it wasn’t easy for the girl from Aberdeenshire after the dust has settled on the phenomenal success of her arrival.
“The success of my single and album had negative and positive effects for me,” she declares when we meet at the London studio where she is rehearsing.
“Getting such a reaction at the start of your career is never going to hurt you because it gives you a huge amount of visibility. The problem is really all about sustainability – being able to stay at the top when you get there. It’s a hell of a drop down if you get it wrong!
“However saying that, the music industry has changed and measuring success isn’t just about the charts any more.”
Was there a need to shake herself free of that first wave of success?
“Honestly, no. I grew from the experience and have continued to grow and change throughout the years, which has shaped this album. I believe it’s the product of six years of searching.”
So with her fourth album – Flesh and Blood – how does she believe her approach to music has changed?
“Making this album was a breath of fresh air. I left the cosy confines of my previous set up and stepped into the wilderness with a bunch of musicians that were so talented. I threw caution to the wind and dived in head first because I wanted to make a record that would challenge me both vocally and as a musician.”
Six years is a long time in an industry that can shape and shatter a career in as many months so how does she feel the industry has changed in her time being involved with it?
“It has changed dramatically and continues to do so. That’s one of the wonderful things about this environment and to a degree it helps keep you on your toes. Staying fresh is the key to keeping ahead of the curve and that is something I intend to do in the coming months.”
Sandi claims that Flesh and Blood has a very simple theme.
“It’s all about true love and how it prevails and that we must find both peace and order in what we do if we want to achieve it.
“I got the opportunity to work with some great artists on this album – Rich Robinson was my producer and I worked with the Black Crowes band, which was so amazing. Perhaps the greatest thrill of my life was working with Buffy Sainte Marie on her song “Big Ones Get Away.”
Citing her influences as everyone from Fleetwood Mac to Bruce Springstein and Stevie Wonder, Sandi claims she has never let go of those past musicians.
“I grew up listening to those guys and to be honest – although I think there is so much good new music – I always find myself coming back to the same great artists that helped shape me as a singer/songwriter.
And what about the future…? Does she still believe the web to be as important to her now as it was in launching her career?
“The internet will always help. My philosophy is always to embrace any new wave of technology because I don’t believe in closing the door on any opportunity.”
Is there still someone she would like to perform with in the future?
“I love Stevie Nicks. Being a fan of Fleetwood Mac she would be one person I’d really like to be up on stage with.”
With music taking up so much of her time, what does she do to relax?
“I enjoy horse riding and I hang out on the beach where I live. I also like watching other bands play live and I'm a complete sucker for The Lord of The Rings. You can sign me up as a pure fanatic!”
Sandi Thom’s new album “Flesh And Blood”, produced by Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes, is released by Guardian Angels Records on September 17th. Sandi’s UK tour starts November 1st at the London Islington O2 Academy 2. Further info: www.sandithom.com.
George R Vaughan