Sandhy Sondoro: Appetite for music
Posted May 8, 2013on:
He may have come quite far already in his musical career but for singer Sandhy Sondoro that’s no reason to stop exploring the musical world.
Sandhy still feels the need to learn more despite achievements that many musicians would die for.
“I don’t think I can call myself as an established musician yet. There’s still so much more that I want to know about music,” the 39-year-old said, but since getting married and becoming a dad, he might considered himself an established man, he added.
“In terms of musical knowledge, I still have a great distance to go. I still need to learn a lot of things, everything there is to know about music,” said the vocalist, who hit the headlines when he won at the New Wave, an international contest for young pop singers in 2009.
Sandhy wants to visit countries where Indonesian tourists rarely tread and stay there for a while.
“Indonesians usually want to go to the States or Britain. The world of music is very expansive yet we know so little because the popular music we hear only comes from those two countries,” he said.
“I want to go to Argentina, Brazil and Thailand among others. We know very little about Latin America music or the sounds of Madagascar. They have great musicians there, but we never see them in the popular media; we are not exposed to them. We don’t know what kind of bands Ghana or Senegal have, for example”.
“I want to live in those countries and get to know the locals, get to know their way of life, their traditions. I don’t want to go there just to chitchat and to have fun.”
Sandhy has an unquenchable thirst for other cultures which he picked up during his 20 years in Germany.
He went to Germany to study architecture after he graduated from high school in Jakarta. In his first years, as young man living alone he needed to support himself and he was always on the lookout for jobs.
One day, he joined a busker singing on the street and after three weeks felt confident enough to busk by himself. The money he made from street singing was enough to pay his rent and support his studies.
He started to write more songs and played in some gigs in Berlin with a band. His soulful voice — greatly influenced by Ray Charles and BB King — made his performances memorable and distinctive.
Some African-American musicians in Berlin encouraged Sandhy to take the next step and that was his breakthrough. He took part in a talent show German TV in 2008. He did not win the competition but impressed a lot of people, including major local musicians. And that’s how his music career began — unexpectedly and unplanned, in Germany.
His debut album Why Don’t We? was released in April 2008. The first single off the album, “Shine”, made it into the charts in major European cities like Berlin, Madrid and Paris.
In 2009, he competed in New Wave international music competition for young singers in Jurmala, Latvia. The annual contest is an important event in the international music scene, unique for its live TV concerts that attract millions of viewer and the attention of journalists and the media.
Asked whether he had found his place in music, Sandhy said that he was comfortable with his current music and band.
“I’m just going where my heart takes me. I’m enjoying my music. I’m happy with the man I am,” he said. “I won’t turn down any chance to collaborate with musicians from other genres. We’ll make music together as long as we have the chemistry and my heart approves,” he said.
Sandhy has been chosen to represent Indonesia in Hard Rock Rising global battle of the bands competition.
With over 12,000 entries, 390,000 fan votes and 941 competing bands, Sandhy had won battle rounds against some of Indonesia’s top talents and he — along with 95 winning bands from around the world who took top spot in their respective cities — is waiting out for the results of the final online fan vote. On May 6, the top 25 bands, as determined by total votes, will move on to the final round.
The grand prize winner will play a World Tour in six renowned cities, make an album and music video as part of Hard Rock Records; and receive new music equipment and gear valued at US$10,000. Two runner-up bands will each receive new music equipment and gear valued at $10,000.
A big fan of blues and soul, Sandhy describes himself as an all-round musician thanks to his years jamming in jazz bars in Berlin and other European cities.
“In my teenage years, I was a very metal kid. I adored Iron Maiden,” he said naming a legendary heavy metal band from London.
“I listen to all types of music, but I’m more into rock, blues and soul. Blues is special because it is the root of rock,” he said.
Having experience tough times early in his career, Sandhy said he was in a better situation now. He hopes to stay in the music business forever.
“I just want to keep producing great music but nothing complicated — simple but great, high class songs.”