Sandi Thom

Infobox musical artist 2
Name = Sandi Thom

Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Alexandria Thom
Born = birth date and age|df=yes|1981|08|11
Origin = Macduff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Genre = Pop Folk
Years_active = 2005- present
Label = RCA Records

Alexandria "Sandi" Thom [cite web|url=|title=Sandi Thom's myspace profile|accessdate=2006-06-07] (born 11 August 1981) is a Scottish singer-songwriter from Macduff in Aberdeenshire. Thom has sold over a million albums and a million singles worldwide. Thom first became famous after being promoted as an unknown webcasting gigs from her basement flat in Tooting.


While being educated at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, Sandi was in a covers band called "The Residents" between the ages of 14 and 17, where she sang and played keyboards. Thom says she owes much of her musical knowledge to the years she spent with The Residents as this is where she formed a love for bands such as Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, The Beatles and artists such as Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Janis Joplin. Thom and the band travelled across Scotland, playing in pubs and clubs.

At the age of 17, Sandi attended the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts otherwise known as LIPA. While at the Liverpool Institute, she sang in a gospel choir called "Love and Joy". It was with this choir that Thom sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" to 40,000 football fans at Liverpool's Anfield stadium. During her time at LIPA, Thom formed her own 7 piece band. The band entered a BBC Talent urban music competition, which was produced in association with BBC Radio 1, and made it to the semi-finals. They also recorded an EP, "Time To Breathe", at Parr Street Studios. Two of the founding members of the band, Craig Connet and Marcus Bonfanti, remain in Thom’s band to this day. The band also included Jake Field on keyboards; he went on to co-produce her first two albums.


In 2003, Sandi Thom graduated from LIPA with a BA (Hons) in Performing Arts, before moving to London to pursue her songwriting career, choosing to write both her albums with the same three co-writers; namely Jake Field, Duncan Thompson and Tom Gilbert. Thom signed to Windswept Pacific Music in 2005, an independent music publishing company with artists on its roster such as Alice Cooper, The Futureheads and Nick Cave. She also signed with UK arm, P&P Songs, who publish songs for the likes of Craig David and John McLaughlin. She signed a record contract with a small record label called Victory Legacy, who released her debut single, "I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)" in late 2005; however, the song failed to garner major airplay and the album release was delayed, whilst her team decided how best to proceed with the project.

Re-Release of "I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker" & Success

Following her online webcast concerts from her basement in Tooting, "I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker" was re-released on 22 May 2006, on RCA Records UK. The song had been gaining in airplay exposure, and on download sales it achieved #15 in the general charts (and #7 in the official downloads chart). The physical release had three formats: two CD versions (one featuring the radio mix and "A Light As Bright As Ours", another featuring the radio mix, the album version, a further remix, "May You Never" and the video), and also as a 7" vinyl record backed with "No More Heroes". In the week of 22 May, the song reached #2 in both charts.


She performed on Top of the Pops on 28 May, making her major terrestrial television debut, and on 4 June, the song replaced the deleted Gnarls Barkley single at #1 in the singles chart. Her debut album, "Smile... It Confuses People" was released in the United Kingdom on Monday 5 June 2006, and debuted at number one in the chart dated 11 June, selling over 700,000 copies worldwide. The song was later nominated at the Brit Awards for Best British Single. In the Republic of Ireland, "I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker" entered the singles chart at #10 (week ending 25 May 2006), and rising to #2 in the following week (ending 1 June), and then to #1 the week after, but was then knocked off the top spot by Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie". The single also enjoyed success overseas, where it reached number 1 on the Australia "ARIA Charts" for ten consecutive weeks making it Australia's highest selling single of 2006.

What if I'm Right

The follow-up single "What If I'm Right" reached the lower reaches of the charts, but "Lonely Girl", the third single from the album, was released as download only. Thom politically aligned herself to the Scottish National Party, which advocates the ending of the British union and wants total independence for Scotland in 2006, having a growing friendship with the first minister Alex Salmond.


Thom has been the subject of criticism by many artists within the recording world, most notably from Lily AllenFact|date=September 2008, The FratellisFact|date=September 2008 and The Automatic. James Frost and Robin Hawkins from The Automatic stated "If she was a punk rocker with flowers in her hair she'd get the shit kicked out of her by other punk rockers, for having flowers in her hair. I haven't found anyone who's told me they like that song and bought it." [ [ TOTP] BBC TOTP Interview with The Automatic slating Thom - "Retrieved" 5 December 2007]

21 Nights From Tooting & Surrounding Controversy

"21 Nights from Tooting" was a "tour" consisting of 21 performances from the basement of her Tooting flat, from 24 February to 16 March. These were recorded and then webcast by professional hosting company Streaming Tank. [ [ Channel 4 News. Sandi Thom Interview.] 4 April 2006] Tickets were sold, but the venue had a capacity of "six people" ("10 including the band"). The MySpace post announcing the gigs was posted in the early hours of 22 February. Thom's website states that "the idea [...] popped into her head" after her car broke down travelling from a gig in York (on the 22nd) to one in Wales (on the 23rd). [cite web|url=|title=Sandi Thom||accessdate = 2006-06-07] Streaming Tank must therefore have arranged the first Tooting webcast within 48 hours of Sandi's idea.


Thom's first ever video webcast was at the Edinburgh Left Bank venue, webcast in October by an independent production crew, Showstreams Productions as part of a fortnightly live video webcast night called [] . This crew was not run by Paul Boyd, her then PR manager. He worked with the Left Bank Live team to include Sandi Thom in their live webcast show, which was running from the venue previously. The same team then went on to launch the night Nexuslive ( [] ). [cite news|url= |title=Laughing all the way to the bank|publisher=The Daily Record|date=2 June 2006]


Prompted by a contact from Thom's manager, news services noted Thom's promotion efforts. In a story first published 5 March 2006, the Sunday Times ran a piece, [cite news|url=,,2087-2070179.html|title=Sandi, singer in the basement, plays the World.|publisher=Sunday Times|date=5 March 2006] This was quickly reported on by other news sources. [cite news|url=|title=Singer tours world from basement|publisher=BBC News|date=8 March 2006] . The audience for the first day was around 60 or 70 and at its peak rose to a claimed 70,000. [ [ Scottish singer's Webcam concerts attracting crowds.] Reuters/ZDNet News. 7 March 2006] (no independent verification is available). The 7 March Reuters story mentioned that "I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker" was being rereleased the following week, with the album following in April. However, the publicity surrounding the tour led to major label interest, with music label representatives attending the gigs in question, and the release of the records was put back until a deal was signed. [cite news|url=|title=On the record|name=The Scotsman|date=2 June 2006]

Signing with Sony (RCA)

Thom subsequently accepted an offer by Sony. This led to the single re-release being delayed until May, when it was released on Sony's RCA label. The news of this broke on 3 April 2006, the official signing itself being webcast. The single was placed on Music Week Daily's playlist that day. [Music Week Daily e-mail. 3 April 2006] [cite news|url=|title='World tour' webcaster is signed|publisher=BBC News|date=3 April 2006] [cite news|url= |title=Webcast woman scores deal|publisher=BBC 6Music News|date=4 April 2006] She was the first artist signed the RCA label since its reorganisation.cite news|lastname=Logan|firstname=Craig|title=Viewpoint: Correcting the myths which surround RCA's Sandi Thom|publisher=Music Week|date=10 June 2006|page=15]

Doubts about the webcast

Paul Kelly of The Independent and other journalists have questioned how she was able to sustain production of the webcasts; critics suggest that she "could not have supported such a large audience on her webcast if she really was a starving artist". Others question the veracity of claims made about viewership. There are also questions as to the level of involvement of PR agency Quite Great. [cite news|url=|title=Was Sandi Thom's effortless rise just too good to be true?|publisher=The Independent|date=30 May 2006 ] Her manager, Ian Brown, in an interview with the Guardian, said the idea came from her, whilst her management and publicist claim to have conducted a large publicity campaign, including a million "virtual flyers" [unsolicited emails] [cite news|url=,,1786403,00.html|title=An internet superstar - or just another rock'n'roll swindle?|publisher=The Guardian|date=31 May 2006] [cite news|url=,,20409-2204358,00.html|title=Singer denies rise to fame was result of internet scam.|publisher=The Times|date=31 May 2006]

Sandi's response

In an interview with The Sun, Thom stated that Streaming Tank were "friends of my managers", agreeing that she could not have afforded commercial rates for this. [cite news|url=,,4-2006250702,00.html|title=Sandi in flat 'con' denial|publisher=The Sun|date=5 June 2006] Some critics accused Sony of orchestrating the campaign. Craig Logan, the managing director of RCA, denied these accusations, claiming that the label was "drawn to" Thom after hearing of the webcasting., as has Sandi Thom herself [ Setting the record straight]

The Devil's Beat, Saturday Night and "The Pink & The Lily"

On 26 May 2008, Sandi Thom released her second album entitled "The Pink & The Lily," preceded by the first single, "The Devil's Beat," available on CD from 19 May 2008. The album and single received extensive airplay on BBC Radio 2.Despite some promotional appearances, the releases were much less successful than her debut. In the UK, the single reached a high of 58 and dropped out of the Top 75 after two weeks; the album entered the chart at 25, dropping to 65 the next week, and then dropped out of the Top 75. The following single "Saturday Night" failed to chart on its release, despite a large number of promotional appearances by Sandi on television and in the press. Two weeks later, it was announced that the next single would be the title track from the album.





2005-6 (Pre-21 Nights from Tooting)

Prior to the 21 Nights from Tooting, Thom had been actively touring in the UK in 2005. Thom made an appearance at the Northsound Radio to 40,000 Free at the Dee festival in Aberdeen on 4 September 2005 [cite news|url=|title=Simply Dee-Lightful|publisher=Daily Record|date=5 September 2005] ; a charity gig in Edinburgh later in September 2005, and was described as "hotly-tipped" by the "Daily Record". [cite news|url=|title=Right Note For Charity|publisher=Daily Record|date=20 September 2005] However, in addition, Sandi "has been labeled a fraud" according to the "Daily Record". [cite news|url=|title=Anarchy OK But It's Family First For This Punk Rocker|publisher=Daily Record|date=8 July 2006]

Thom supported The Proclaimers on their UK tour in December 2005 and toured with Nizlopi. She and her band continued to tour, playing the Pocklington Arts Centre near York on 22 February 2006, supported by Edwina Hayes, and the Queen's Hall in Narberth in Wales on 23 February 2006.


Thom has played live in several unconventional venues. She had previously performed at the opening of the World Skiing Championships in Sweden, where the stage was set up at the top of a mountain range; she performed at the top of the BT tower in London on behalf of the DMA's (Digital Music Awards), performed for a Children in Need auction winner who paid the charity £17,000 for Thom to play her living room.

She played the Main Stage at T in the Park 2006, having been booked for the lowest billed stage. She headlined the acoustic tent at the 2006 V festival with Kasabian. In early 2007, Thom spent 6 weeks in France performing in every city across the country alongside a French artist at a free concert called the Ricard Live Tour. The concert attracted an average of 25,000 a night. She performed at English festivals such as Glastonbury, Guilfest and Redbourne; and in Scotland, the Wizard festival and the Belladrum Heart festival. Other festivals further afield included the Oxegen music festival and the World Fleadh in Ireland, and the Fuji Rock Festival.

2008: Pink and the Lily UK and European Tour and Promtional Appearences

Concert dates scheduled for Ireland following the album's release in June were cancelled at the last minute. No reason was given.

Seven out of the Eight Concert dates scheduled for Germany were also cancelled

In June, Sandi performed a free 50-minute acoustic gig in front of a 200 people crowd at the broadcast center of WDR radio station in Cologne, Germany; the gig was broadcast twice during the course of the month.

The tour's mainland UK dates ran from 16 June to 1 July, followed by Germany 10-19 July. Only the Munich Festival performance on the 19th went ahead, the remaining German dates were cancelled and an Announcement on Thoms German website stated this was due to 'studio commitments'. [ [ ### Sandi Thom ### ] ] A full concert performance planned for Edinburgh as part of the Fringe Festival in August was also replaced by a mixed bill in which Thom featured.A number of one off performances and promotional appearences including Blackpool illuminations were also played.Sandi also confirmed she would be taking part in "Busk Cancer week" in interviews and articles given to the press as part of the promotional work done for the album and single.This did not go ahead as following promotional appearences for her single "Saturday Night" which did not enter the charts Thom said on her official website that she felt she needed to rest as she was "Exhausted" by her heavy schedule.This was followed by another entry on her offical site later in the month stating she was feeling better and had been "busy" visiting the catwalk shows for London fashion week and was "Gearing up" for her next single release which would be the title track of the album. A performance at Butlins Minehead holiday camp was also added


External links

* [ Official web site]
* [ Official MySpace]
* [ Official YouTube channel]
* [ Official Bebo]
* [ Official facebook]
* [,19636,7401061231-1569169,00.html Interview with Sandi on"]
* [,,1793785,00.html Charlie Brooker (The Guardian) article on Sandi Thom "Supposing...Sandi Thom is the musical antichrist"]
* [ Sandi Thom Exclusive Interview]

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