Biography: February 2009

SANDRA "Back To Life"
Release date: 27.03.2009
Virgin/EMI Music

Sandra has returned to make hearts beat faster again, with a song that has its finger on the pulse of our times. It's impossible to escape the rhythm of her 'Heartbeat' - in fact you'll find yourself not even wanting to. The title of the single debut from Sandra's ninth studio album, 'Back to life', says it all: positive and dynamic, living her life full of love, fun and soul. Timeless yet contemporary, Sandra's unmistakable timbre focuses emotional power supported by soulful gospel choirs on this potential hit composition - one of a total of 14 pop gems on 'Back to life'.


"I don't want to look back any more. To me, what's happening now is much more important." Yet Sandra would have reason enough to look back with pride and aplomb at her biography to date: it took a mere 239 seconds to turn a hopeful newcomer into an international star in summer 1985. The immortal hit anthem 'Maria Magdalena' catapulted the young woman with the irresistible dimple and haunting voice past the Whitneys, Michaels and Madonnas of that time to the very peak of the Mount Olympus of disco music. A dancefloor smash hit which lasted longer than one summer. It took the top of the charts by storm in 21 countries, sold more copies in Sweden than any Abba or Beatles release and became an icon of a new pop era. The 'Sandra sound' had been born. One hit followed the other in the subsequent years, like a long row of musical gems: 'In the heat of the night', 'Hi! hi! hi!', 'Everlasting love', 'Secret land, 'Hiroshima', 'Don't be aggressive', to name but a few, which all went straight to seventh chart heaven. Sandra was the face that smiled from posters in millions of teenage bedrooms, and her five gold 'Bravo-Otto' awards remain unrivalled to this day. Sold-out arenas from Moscow to Tokyo, touring nine months a year without interruption - a lifestyle that's bound to take its toll, especially since Sandra is a woman who wanted to live her dream of not only being a star, but also a mother.


"I wanted to have a baby since I was twenty." But it took her 13 years to fulfil her ambition. Her twin sons, Sebastian and Nikita, were born in 1995. "And I realised that I would have to take an extended break from making music to take care of my boys." Though actively involved in the success of her then husband and producer Michael Cretu's sensational project, ENIGMA, she didn't make her own comeback before 2002. The album, 'Wheel of time', immediately made it into the top ten, which had Sandra realize that her pan-European fan community's loyalty had been more than a flash in the pan, her sound had a timeless yet contemporary quality and her style away from short-lived trends continued to be in demand. Carefully she rebuilt her career on new foundations, finding and enlisting a young yet experienced producer and musician who has helped her to take that Sandra sound to the new millennium. Their first joint album project, 'The art of love' (2007), was an emancipatory experiment which effortlessly entered the charts at no. 16 without featuring any real hit material. "It was an important experience and right for me at the time, but looking back it sounds a little sad to me." Perhaps because it was recorded during the separation from her husband and mentor, Michael Cretu. But all this happened two years ago! Now Sandra has come 'Back to life'. "This could also be the title of my autobiography, because these three words say everything I feel at the moment." Her words are convincing, her laughter is infectious, her songs are enchanting - Sandra's back, in her life and on stage. Independent but by no means alone. "Inner peace and happiness in a partnership, that's all I need in life!".


At the age of 46, Sandra has happily outgrown the girlband generation. Being allowed to grow up is not a punishment but a privilege in the music industry. Not without reason, the magazine 'Bunte' once crowned Sandra 'German Madonna'. Thirty years on stage and in the studio, never releasing an album which didn't make the top twenty - it's that element of constancy which makes an artist a star.
'Back to life' has seen her work with different production teams for the first time in her long career. "I'm not one of those people who think they do everything best by themselves. For me, it's all about the quality of a song." So she took the opportunity and put together from a wide range of suggestions and ideas a song package which captivates its listeners from the first 'Heartbeat' to the last bar.
Producer and composer Toby Gad, who lives in New York and recently garnered a Grammy nomination for Fergie's hit, 'Big girls don't cry', produced ten of the 14 songs - among them the first single release - together with his brother, Jens Gad. Sandra's voice meets that international quality, modernity with a sure sense of style and a European feel, lending each track an element of magic to make it stand out among the everyday fare of the contemporary pop music scene. One of the absolute highlights on this album is a duet which will surprise not only fans, but is also bound to cause a stir beyond the music industry. For her dynamic, swinging and lascivious Latin pop number, 'The night is still young', Sandra entered into a liaison which reverberates for more than this potential 2009 summer hit's three minutes and twenty seconds playing time. Thomas Anders, formerly Modern Talking's better half, and Sandra - the two greatest and most successful German voices from the best pop music decade - namely the 1980s - have teamed up. What started as a crazy idea has turned into a stroke of genius which makes for a bubbly mood. "I knew straight away that the chemistry between our voices would work. It was like a flash of genius. I saw Thomas in a beach bar in Ibiza sitting a few tables away, we raised our glasses to each other, and soon afterwards he turned up at my studio. Amazing!". The result of this musical flirtation keeps the listener firmly in its grip - a perfect example of what critics call a 'catchy tune'.
The other producer teams' tracks also excel. Echo award winner Axel Breitung, who has been globally successful with Rednex, Vanessa Amorosi and DJ Bobo, among others, has contributed a complex tune called 'Never before', combining Sandra's multi-faceted voice with ethnic elements in another potential chart topper.
Zippy Davids, mastermind behind Lou Bega's megaseller, 'Mambo No. 5', has added a surprise to the album's spectacular sonic range with 'Put some 80ies in it', but Sandra herself is responsible for the most enchanting contribution: the bilingual track 'Tete-a-tete' is not only a reference to her French roots but also proves that songwriting has become more than a dream for her, proving to be a previously dormant talent. Francophile guitar pop which lends a new note to her voice with its charming, intelligent and reduced style.

The role of women in the music industry has changed. Madonna celebrated her 50th birthday with a no. 1 chart position, Cher has headlined the biggest Las Vegas show at 60+, and Tina Turner will mark her 70th birthday with a sold-out world tour. "The careers of these women have been an inspiration to me. Absolutely! In fact I had been wondering whether I may not be 'too old' for the job of my dreams. But it's first and foremost my own voice and my attitude to life which give me the absolute confidence to carry on. I can still sing 'Maria Magdalena' at the studio the way I did 25 years ago. It seems like I still have all the time in the world." Her spacious terrace overlooks the horizon of Sandra's adopted home of Ibiza. Her smile is relaxed when she talks about her future: "To continue to be able to do what I do today: just like I did on 'Back to life'! And I'd like to keep this dream alive: to be free - in every direction!"

Sandra is back - Back to life!

Tracklisting of "Back to life":
1. R U Feeling me
2. Once in a lifetime
3. In a heartbeat
4. The night is still young
5. Just like breathing
6. Never before
7. Always on my mind
8. Behind those words
9. What if
10. Say love
11. Put some 80ies in it
12. These moments
13. I want you
14. Tete a Tete
15. Who I am

February 2009