Location: Nashville, TN
Marital Status: Single
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, North Texas State University
Don’t ever tell Sandy Knox that she can’t do something. After enjoying a successful career as a songwriter, writing hits for award-winning artists like Reba McEntire and Dionne Warwick, she released her solo album which she titled, “Pushing 40, Never Married, No Kids.” When her CD attorney told her she couldn’t put her age on her album, Sandy decided she would release it under her very own record label.
“The attorney had given me so much grief about the age reference that I named the label Wrinkled Records,” says Sandy. “The record came out, and it was critically acclaimed.”
Currently, Wrinkled Records has four signed artists, including five-time Grammy award winner, BJ Thomas, who is known for hits like “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.” His latest album will be released under the Wrinkled Records label in Spring of 2013. “We’re doing a laid back acoustic version of all of his greatest hits, with guest artists. It’s going to be like I had a party and all of these wonderful musicians like Vince Gill and Richard Marx and Keb Mo happened to be there and we all just decided, let’s perform some of BJ’s hits,” Sandy says.
When did you first become interested in songwriting?
I started writing songs when I was very young. I was drawn to music from when I was five years old. I joined choir when I was eleven. My parents were both music lovers and we had a lot of music in the house. [It was] really an eclectic music collection my parents had.
What did your parents do?
My mother was a housewife, prior to that she was a runway model. My father was a chemical engineer.
What was your childhood like?
Because of my dad’s job, we traveled a lot. We lived in St. Louis, New Jersey, Atlanta, Madrid and Paris. We settled in Houston when I was eight years old.
Do you have any siblings?
Two older brothers.
What was your big break?
There were many little breaks along the way that were affirmations that I was on the right path. One of my first big breaks was getting a deal with a publisher in 1991. I had a written a single for Dionne Warwick and that same year called “Where My Lips Have Been,” and I had a song, “He Wants To Get Married” on the Reba Mcentire album “It’s Your Call.” She did it live in her act for quite a while, and it put the spotlight on me, so the next time Reba was pitched one of my songs it was a song called “Does He Love You,” and it went on to win her a Grammy. It was number one on the Billboard Country chart.
Did you ever spend time performing your songs? Or were you strictly a songwriter?
I did sing. I had twelve years of voice lessons and in 1990-1996 I had a ten piece band that I performed with for about six years called Sandy Knox and the Yummy Butt Cabana Boys featuring the Love Bitches. We had a lot of fun. We performed a lot here in Nashville and it was always packed, standing room only. I’m a songwriter who can sing but I haven’t chosen to really pursue it because it’s a very hectic lifestyle. I’m a homebody, don’t like to travel that much, so I opted out of going down that road.
Sandy performing with Glennie Scott in 1982
What happened after you started Wrinkled Records?
I left Nashville for eight years and went back to Texas because I was feeling the need to be closer to my parents in their golden years. I chose to live in Austin because it had a music scene, and it was only a three hour drive to where they lived. I taught a class at the University of Texas in Songwriting for about 8 years, and the label went dormant. When I moved back to Nashville in 2006, I ran into my friend Katie Gillon, who had been the senior vice president of MCA records for 29 years, and I jokingly said to her, ‘I’ve got this label that went dormant, we should start a label!’ and it grew from there.
How did you get the label back up and running?
We started the whole process in the spring of 2010. We had to get all the paperwork up to date. A year later we signed our first four acts. The reason it took so long was that we had that big flood here in Nashville, which pushed everything back a couple of months.
How many acts to you currently have signed to Wrinkled Records?
We still have four: Etta Britt, whose record came out a couple months ago in April. She will be on The Today Show this Saturday. We have Jimbeau Hinson, who is a fabulous singer and hit songwriter. He’s a wonderful performer and writer. His whole album deals with his survivorship of HIV. We’re getting ready to release his CD at the end of October. In November we’ll be releasing Buffy Lawson’s record. She’s a 41-year-old, wonderful singer and songwriter. She’s already had a major record deal. Next spring, we’ll be releasing BJ Thomas’s greatest hits. We’re doing a laid back, acoustic version of all of his greatest hits with guest artists like Steve Tyrell, Vince Gill, Richard Marx, Keb Mo, and Sara Niemietz.
Sounds like you have a lot going on! What do you do to unwind?
I get massages, manicures, pedicures, and facials. One of my favorite things is to just power down, turn all the devices off, put on classical music or zen, new age music and just sit there and read. I believe if you’re going to be a writer, you have to read. I also love to cook.
Who has been your favorite artist to work with?
I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with so many wonderful people. Reba McEntire is truly one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. You’re never going to hear a bad thing about Vince Gill, he’s a great guy. I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Liza Minnelli, and she is also a lovely person, she’s fun and has lots of stories. Working with BJ Thomas this last year and a half has been an incredible pleasure. He is such a lovely family man and a really fun guy to know.
Billy Stritch, Liza Minnelli, Reba McEntire, Marty Stuart and Sandy at the 1993 CMA Awards.
Do you think that being over fifty in your industry gives you an edge, or a disadvantage?
I think it gives me an edge in some ways. The record industry is very youth oriented, but, we’re targeting the baby boomers and their love affair with music. One song from my album is called “Pass the Torch.” I wrote that about a woman getting older, about when you realize that beauty isn’t working for you as much as your mind and experiences are. I’m happy to embrace every line and wrinkle on my face because they’re kind of like badges of honor.
Is that your favorite song that you’ve written?
I have many favorites but pass the torch is one of my favorite things that I’ve written about being a woman and aging.
Tell us about a difficult time in your life that you’ve overcome.
I had a heart attack in April of 2008. When I went to the hospital they could tell something else was wrong. They ran some tests and found out that I had colon cancer. They caught it early. I had to have ten inches of my colon removed. But it’s all good now, everything’s back to normal. I have check ups regularly. There are not too many people that can say this, but the heart attack was a blessing in disguise–because of that, the doctors could tell something else was wrong.
What advice would you give to women over fifty?
I have a different attitude than a lot of people because I’ve survived a heart attack and colon cancer, so I am one of those people that feels like everyday I’m here is a gift. I really mean that, because it could have been a lot different.