Singer Sandi’s fo­cus on the world

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

BE­ING an in­ter­na­tion­ally tour­ing pop star, it seems, is one of two things – bor­ing or hec­tic.

Due to both, Scot­tish singer-song­writer Sandi Thom started tak­ing pho­to­graphs with a Christ­mas present from her mother four years ago.

The re­sult is an im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of im­ages – so im­pres­sive that they are now on show at Nun­ning­ton Hall in North York­shire.

“I have quite a bad me­mory and tak­ing pho­to­graphs was a way for me to cat­a­logue cer­tain events.

“Some­times when you live in a such a manic way, tour­ing and trav­el­ling around the world, you for­get what you’ve done. It all just be­comes a blur,” says Thom.

“I just thought to my­self that if I didn’t do some­thing to cat­a­logue it, I would re­gret it. Now, when I’m older I can gather the grand­chil­dren around and bore them with sto­ries and pic­tures of my life.”

Thom’s sto­ries are un­likely to be bor­ing.

The singer, fa­mous for her break­out sin­gle I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker and her 2006 al­bum Smile...It Con­fuses Peo­ple, be­came an in­ter­net phe­nom­e­non with a live broad­cast be­ing seen by mil­lions be­fore she had even re­leased a sin­gle.

When Sony saw the fig­ures, they snapped her up – a me­dia back­lash fol­lowed against Thom and af­ter the sec­ond al­bum, The Pink and the Lily, bombed, Sony was quick to drop her.

Not that that stopped Thom. She went ahead and set up her own record com­pany, in­de­pen­dently pro­duc­ing and re­leas­ing her third al­bum, Mer­chants and Thieves, last month.

While all of this was go­ing on, in the mid­dle of the mael­strom Thom took pic­tures.

“I never thought about ex­hibit­ing them or any­thing like that,” she says.

“I was just tak­ing them for my­self. It was only when other peo­ple took a look and said they were re­ally good – and I was like ‘re­ally?’.

“I wasn’t do­ing it to cre­ate art. I sup­pose I was just tak­ing pic­tures.”

Thom has been play­ing the pi­ano since she was four and is clearly a cre­ative sort; which is why the pic­tures she was tak­ing, os­ten­si­bly as sou­venir snaps, have been snapped up at Nun­ning­ton Hall.

The North York­shire Na­tional Trust build­ing has staged a se­ries of im­pres­sive ex­hi­bi­tions over the last few years, with Ron­nie Wood, Bryan Adams, Po­lice gui­tarist Andy Sum­mers and Sir Paul McCart­ney’s daugh­ter Mary all show­ing their work at the venue.

Sandi Thom, who played a con­cert at the hall last night to launch the ex­hi­bi­tion, is fol­low­ing in their im­pres­sive foot­steps.

“In my case it was just that they asked me,” says Thom.

“Simon (Lee, man­ager of Nun­ning­ton Hall) is a pho­tog­ra­pher and so he is good to talk to.

“I think per­haps with a lot de­cided to take a pic­ture,” says Thom.

The re­sult – as is the case with all the im­ages, even though Thom says “tech­ni­cally speak­ing I couldn’t have an in­tel­li­gent con­ver­sa­tion about pho­tog­ra­phy” are im­pres­sive.

“It just comes as it comes. I don’t look for it. I just see some­thing and think ‘that could make a good pic­ture’,” says Thom.

“I’ve got lots of great pho­tos of the band on tour and peo­ple on the tour bus and re­ally funny things that no-one else will ever see. But it’s great to show peo­ple this dif­fer­ent face to my work.”

CRE­ATIVE ARTIST: Singer-song­writer Sandi Thom, who is also a pho­tog­ra­pher, with her work which is on show at Nun­ning­ton Hall in North Yorksh

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