Just over six years ago, a song took hold of radio audiences around the world. Australian listeners couldn’t get enough of it – I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair) by Sandi Thom.
The success of that song was one of those occasional music business “happy accidents”. The song was everywhere in far north Queensland. No sooner would it finish playing than someone would ring and ask when it could next be heard. It was partly just a case of right song right time, but some very clever use of the Internet pushed the song along, prompting some snooty music critics to dismiss Sandi as the latest in a long line of online sensations whose fame would soon subside.
They were wrong. Sandi Thom’s musical career continues – and like so many performers who have early success with one big song, she’s had to work at taking audiences with her, to move past Punk Rocker and sample the work she’s done since. And it’s a diverse, deep, sometimes challenging but ultimately rewarding body of work. She has four original albums and a best-of out there, and has a new CD due for release before the end of the year. There are elements of many musical styles in her work, so she’s not easily labelled. That can confound music industry types, but only serves to make her more interesting to music lovers inclined to go with the flow.
Sandi performs on Friday night at Yungaburra on the Atherton Tablelands, in the 33rd Tablelands Folk Festival.
You can listen to my interview with Sandi and hear her perform a song from her forthcoming album here