I recently got the chance to interview Sandra Phillips, an independent artist from St. Louis, Missouri. What I love about Sandra is how refreshing her attitude and opinion regarding the indie versus mainstream war. With a new album hot off of the press and her music being used by some of the world’s most loved TV channels, I thought it was time that you guys, and I, got to know Sandy a little bit better.
Hey there Sandy! I’m really excited to be talking with you today, why don’t you introduce yourself to our readers?
I’m an independent song writer and recording Artist. I am also founder of the online music e-zine Indie Byte.
What first inspired you to get into music?
Music has definitely always played an important role in my life. I started playing piano when I was 8, and years later picked up the guitar. Creating and composing has given me a passion that I can indulge and a gateway to expression.
Has the independent route been a hard route to take?
It can be, but it can also be very rewarding. I enjoy feeling like my successes and my failures are my own. Staying independent gives you freedom to create music as you feel. However, I believe there needs to be a connection made with fans; allowing them to realize that the independent artists need their support, but I also believe that the artist needs to deserve that support as well. Being an independent artist allows you to chart a course that’s unique to you as the artist. The challenge is figuring out how to monetize on your work, without losing taking the time to have fun creating it.
If a record company was to offer you a deal tomorrow, would you take it? Or do you plan on always being an independent artist?
No, I enjoy both the challenges and rewards of being an independent artist. Being an independent artist also allows you to be free to experiment with ideas, free to collaborate, and free to step out of the ordinary.
What would you say have been the largest contributing factors that have got you to where you are today?
God, my fans and determination.
Have you ever come across a time that has made you question your decisions?
No, I am very happy being able to do what I love best! Music is an integral part of my life, and being able to have the opportunity to work with what I love most is very surmounting.
Did you always know that this is what you wanted to do with your life, or did you have different aspirations growing up?
I always knew I wanted to create music.
What’s your opinion on the mainstream music industry today?
Music is a very powerful emotive tool. Some non-mainstream music of today has leapt from the lesser known to become mainstream due to association with products, commercials, and other outlets. Almost every music genre, has the possibility to become mainstream or become popular. I think there is a lot of creative music out there today, and I love good music, mainstream or non-mainstream!
Would you change anything about the struggle that comes along with being an independent artist, or do you think that they help you grow as an artist?
I definitely believe any struggles that incur, can only help you grow as an artist.
I hear you have a new album coming out shortly, why don’t you tell us a little about that?
Yes, I do. The album is called Chasing Fireflies. It is an amalgamation of pop, jazz, and acoustic influences. I have a few more vocals on this album, than of albums in the past, but have still included instrumentals as well.
Is there a song of yours that you would choose as a personal favourite?
Where can we get our hands on your music?
I understand your music is also used in film and television, why don’t you tell us a little about that?
I have had several tracks picked up for use on TLC, History Channel, MTV, CBS, and many other places. I truly enjoy creating music for this purpose… I can still create from personal influences and for a means of expression, yet be able to have my music used in viable outlets.
Which world would you say has been hardest to break into?
I would say the initial push into the industry is the most difficult. When you are just starting out as an independent artist, helpful information on where to begin can prove to be elusive. It is a slow process; but if you take the time to work towards your goals, very rewarding and remunerating.
Where do you see yourself in five years, like, what’s ‘the dream’?
I see myself continuing to go further into the film and TV side of music creating. I love what I do, and want to continue moving ahead in this area.
Before we wind up: What advice would you give to anyone planning on taking the independent route?
Everything begins with music first and a single-mindedness of purpose… stay determined and focus on what you are wanting to achieve. Most importantly though is to believe in yourself and your dreams.
Thank you for chatting with me today, Sandy! It’s been an absolute pleasure. Is there anything you would like to add?
To think positive, and not be afraid to have determination to succeed. Thank you so much for this opportunity!
You’re most welcome! Myself and everyone else at Previous which you all the success in the future!