Q&A with singer Sandi Thom

Wandsworth Guardian: Singer Sandi Thom first started out recording tracks in the basement of her Tooting flat Singer Sandi Thom first started out recording tracks in the basement of her Tooting flat

Singer Sandi Thom first started out recording tracks in the basement of her Tooting flat. She is returning to Tooting for a one-off special gig in Tooting Market. Alexandra Rucki caught up with her.

Alexandra Rucki: What can we expect to see during your gig at Tooting Market? 

Sandi Thom: A small Scottish woman singing her arse off. It’s a solo show, so just me, my voice, two acoustic 12 strings, a stomp box and blues harp. The songs span from the debut through the five albums I’ve released so far. My whole focus is on delivering the best performance I can. To sing, play and perform to the best of my ability. And, with this being such a unique environment I hope it will be an unforgettable experience.

AR: Why have you decided to perform in the market? Have you sang in any other unusual venues? 

ST: From the way I started out, to everything I’ve done since, albeit someone under the radar, nothing about my career has been normal. I love to do things that are different, including performing in unique spaces. I’ve performed everywhere from the Library of Congress in Washington DC, to the top of the BT Tower in London, to a mountain top in Switzerland in minus
temperatures, to the tribal leader of a village in Malawi, Africa. I don’t know whether I find it or it finds me, but generally there’s always something crazy going on.

AR: Tell us more about 21 Nights from Tooting and how did you get the idea? 

ST: I got the idea from a show I played at a venue in Edinburgh called The Left Bank. That night myself and several other up-and-coming artists played a show that was webcast through the venue’s website; leftbank live.com. I thought it was genius and I immediately went to my manager and said we have to do this.

AR: What are your memories of living in Tooting?

ST: Late nights, Tube rides, my cat Toots, the flat, the basement where I went on to record the majority of my second record (I never left Tooting after I was signed for another two years), my local pub, parties in the basement, non-stop journalists in the house, it was a crazy time but at that stage in my life it was home to me.

AR: How has your music developed since I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker?   

ST: Punk Rocker will always be one of those random songs that’s hard to define. I mean what is it? Country? Folk? Pop? Who knows. It just kind of wrote itself one day and true to form we decided not to dress it up with big production and it worked. I’d say that at the heart of what I love, great percussive rhythm, big harmonies, the voice centre stage, this theme remains present in all the albums, it’s what I love, I love infectious beats and big vocals.

I think the only thing that’s changed with time is that I’ve matured, grown up, begun to understand myself better and the sound that I’m striving for. I think it’s healthy to keep it fresh, I mean, who wants to listen to volumes one, two and three that all sound alike. I think it’s good to keep exploring musically. The stuff I’m writing for the sixth album at the moment I’m really excited about and think it’s going to be really cool.

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