In the vast and ever-evolving world of music, there are artists who possess a rare combination of talent, authenticity, and soulful expression that captivates audiences worldwide. One such remarkable musician is Sandra Mae Lux, an indie singer-songwriter whose melodic prowess and multi-instrumental skills have been leaving a lasting impact on listeners everywhere. With a voice that touches hearts and lyrics that delve into profound emotions, Sandra’s music transcends genres, creating a unique and mesmerizing sound.
In this exclusive interview, we had the privilege of sitting down with Sandra to gain insight into her musical journey, her creative process, and the inspirations that fuel her artistry. From her early beginnings as a passionate young musician to the challenges she’s faced as an independent artist, Sandra shares candidly about the highs and lows that have shaped her into the artist she is today.
Known for her melodic and classically structured songwriting, Sandra Mae Lux opens up about the themes and messages she aims to convey through her music. With a focus on “grown-up” songs that explore the complexities of relationships and a desire to address crucial social issues, Sandra’s lyrics are a testament to her profound understanding of the human experience.
Throughout the interview, we uncover Sandra’s unique creative process, which involves collaborating with her writing partner to breathe life into raw emotions and ideas. She lets us in on the magic behind her music, allowing songs to guide their own paths and take shape into unforgettable compositions that resonate deeply with audiences.
As an indie musician, Sandra Mae Lux candidly shares the challenges she’s encountered on her journey, juggling multiple day jobs while pursuing her passion for music. Despite the hurdles, she remains determined to make a lasting impact through her art, connecting with her fanbase and seeking opportunities to have her music featured in films, TV shows, and commercials.
This exclusive interview offers a glimpse into the heart and soul of Sandra Mae Lux, the artist, and the person. Through her music and personal insights, she inspires aspiring musicians and fans alike to embrace authenticity, perseverance, and the power of music to bring about positive change.
Join us in this unforgettable conversation with Sandra Mae Lux as we uncover the essence of her artistry, her dreams for the future, and the boundless passion that drives her to create music that touches the soul.
Can you tell us about your journey as an indie musician? What inspired you to pursue a career in music?
Music was called to me from a very early age. My mom told me that I sang before I spoke haha. Some of my earliest memories are of standing on tables and singing at family gatherings! I started playing piano at age 6, took up saxophone at the age of 11, and guitar at 13. As a very bullied teenager in high school, music, and the arts literally saved my life. Music for me, especially in high school, was sort of an escape from all that bullying. It was my safe place, my haven, a place where I could express my authentic self, knowing that I wouldn’t be judged or made fun of.
Were it not for the encouragement from my extraordinary high school music teacher Jeremy Hepner, I might not be here. He opened my eyes to what a career in music could actually be, that it was even possible. And frankly, if Jeremy hadn’t caught me at that time, I probably would have gone into some other career altogether, and been a very very unhappy person. In my last year of high school he said to me “You don’t pursue music, music pursues you.” He went on to say that you can either do it now while you’re young or find out that you have to do it later on when it’s a lot harder! I started gigging properly during and after University, and after gigging in function bands and doing my own shows for a few years, I came to a point in my career when I looked at my life in Vancouver and said “Wow, I’ve done every gig this town has to offer.”
At that moment, I knew that I needed to go to a bigger city to continue my growth as an artist. Alan (my writing partner) was at a similar stage in his life and had an opportunity to do a one-month run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017. When he invited me to join him and relocate to London, I said yes; it felt like the perfect opportunity had landed in my lap! Within a month, I sold my car, quit my day- job, gave up my apartment, put my stuff in storage, and bought my very first one-way plane ticket.
How would you describe your unique style and sound as an artist? What sets you apart from other musicians?
My music is very melodic, very clear, hooky, and classically structured (in terms of songwriting), and I love sneaking in jazz harmonies where I can. I seem to surprise audiences whenever I pick up my sax in a show! I’m constantly told that I could just sing, or just play sax and it seems to blow the audience's minds that I do both at a pro level. I also play guitar and piano at a reasonably high level (even making it to the final mix sometimes)!
Could you share some of the biggest challenges you have faced as an indie musician and how you overcame them?
The music industry has never been more rigged against independent musicians than it is now. It takes me three “day jobs” in order for me to pursue music, which makes it almost impossible to find the time to do what I’m meant to do – which is to write, record and perform great music. Without art (cinema, music, visual art, acting, writing, etc) the world would not be worth living in. To be honest, those challenges are quite overwhelming and I have yet to overcome them.
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What is your creative process like? How do you approach songwriting and composing music?
My writing partner Alan and I have been writing for years together, and he’s mostly on the lyric side, while I’m more on the music side (think Bernie Taupin / Elton John or Greenfield / Sedaka). However, we both influence each other’s work. Generally, I’ll come to Alan with an “emotion dump,” or an idea for a song, and he’ll write it down (kind of like a therapist haha) and then he’ll make sense of it and create lyrics.
Alan does a lot of automatic writing, and sometimes a poem will fall out.
Both of us feel that a poem in its original form doesn’t necessarily make good song lyrics. So we’ll edit the poem and transform them into lyrics. Other times a great stray line will just fall out randomly, either from him or myself, and that becomes the basis of a new song. We have tons of stray lines written on Post-it notes scattered all over our flat – we’ve got a lot more songs to write!
After we’ve finished finalizing the shape of the lyrics, I’ll then sit at the piano (or guitar) and let the lyrics guide where the melody/harmonies/arrangement/groove wants to go. The song will tell you what it wants to do; all you have to do is get out of its way!
Are there any particular themes or messages that you aim to convey through your music? What inspires your lyrics?
Yes! We tend to write “grown-up” songs. The themes I/we seem to explore a lot are the assumptions that are made about traditional relationships. Does marriage really mean “‘till death do us part?” Should one always struggle stoically in a relationship that isn’t working, or do some relationships have a natural “sell-by date” that should be observed to save both people a lot of pain?
We also tend to explore themes about hope, joy, and following the path you’re meant to be on. Recently we’ve explored the topic of bullying, and the depression and anxiety it so often leads to. Lyrically, I’m inspired mostly by things that happen around me. Positive or negative feelings bubble up sometimes in the weirdest places, so inspiration can strike anytime, anywhere!
What are your long-term goals as an indie musician? Where do you see yourself and your music in the next few years?
I’d love to be able to fully support myself as an independent musician, to keep making more music to put out into the world, hoping it will speak to people. I’d love to be able to record more because I absolutely love everything about that process. There’s something so satisfying about the perfectibility of making a recording; building an arrangement, discovering what makes a song work, and the magic and excitement when it finally all clicks together! In the next few years, I see myself just putting out more music, getting it heard by more audiences, and definitely getting some sync.