A highly unpredictable singer/songwriter who lives along the New Jersey shore, Ric Sandler is not the sort of person who is easy to pigeonhole. Sandler is primarily a pop/rock artist, which sounds simple enough. But for Sandler, pop/rock can be combined with a lot of different styles of music. One minute, the music industry veteran is being influenced by soul, funk, or disco -- the next minute, however, he might combine pop/rock with anything from Irish-Celtic music to Louisiana zydeco. Sandler has provided songs that would work for an Irish singer like Luka Bloom ("Rubies"), and has written songs that are funky enough for the Dave Matthews Band or the Red Hot Chili Peppers ("Rhythmunderground," "Back2tharhythm"). He brings a wide variety of influences to the table. His vocals have a somewhat David Bowie-ish quality, but lyrically, Sandler is more accessible and straight-forward -- he doesn't get into the sort of abstract, cerebral lyrics that Bowie often does. And Bowie certainly isn't Sandler's only influence; the New Jersey resident also shows an awareness of Elton John, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, the Beatles, and early-‘70s John Lennon. Plus, he obviously has a healthy appreciation of Sly & the Family Stone, George Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic, Tower of Power, and other funksters who were big in the ‘70s -- not to mention a fondness for blue-eyed soulsters such as the Rascals, Rare Earth, and the Spencer Davis Group. Growing up on the East Coast, Sandler learned to play different types of music at an early age. As a child, he studied classical music, but by the time Sandler reached his early teens, he was focusing on rock, pop and R&B. The singer/songwriter wasn't old enough to vote when he formed his own band, which opened for Lloyd Price and the Rascals when those artists were in New Jersey. Sandler's band also opened for the Soul Survivors, an East Coast blue-eyed soul band that is best known for its ‘60s hit "Expressway to Your Heart" and continues to be by a small cult following (mostly around Philadelphia and southern New Jersey). After graduating from high school, Sandler accepted a publishing deal and moved to Los Angeles (where he worked with Warner Chappell Music and Sony's publishing department in the ‘70s). During his years in L.A., Sandler kept busy as a behind-the-scenes person. Songs that he wrote or co-wrote were recorded by major artists like Jermaine Jackson, Dionne Warwick, and Anne Murray, and Sandler (who plays acoustic piano, electric keyboards, organ, and percussion) also did his share of session work. In 1999, veteran gospel group the Dixie Hummingbirds recorded a song that Sandler co-wrote ("Slow Moving Train") for their album Music in the Air: The 70th Anniversary All-Star Tribute. Sandler also had his share of on-stage work; he ended up hitting the road with country-pop star Tanya Tucker when she hired him to be a sideman in her band. One thing that Sandler didn't do during his years in southern California was build a catalog as a solo artist. So after moving back to New Jersey, Sandler decided to show what he could do on his own. In 2002, Sandler's eclectic, unpredictable solo album Rhythmunderground was released on his own label, Rich Id Records. In addition to producing and arranging the CD, Sandler wrote or co-wrote all of the material and plays several instruments (including piano, keyboards, organ, percussion, and tambourine).
Share this page