Time now for the final part of the career (so far) of Sandra.
After the release of her 2002 album The Wheel Of Time, Sandra's public appearances were few and far between. She was featured on three songs on the Enigma album Voyageur (including the title track and the albums first single). This would be the last Enigma album to feature her vocals.
In 2005 it was announced that the Swiss star DJ BoBo was planning a duet with her. Sandra had met him during the World Music Awards in Monte Carlo in 2002, when her husband Michael Cretu accepted the prize for best-selling German artist.
Their joint single "Secrets of Love" was released in March 2006. It reached #5 in Switzerland and #13 in Germany, becoming Sandra's strongest showing on the singles chart in more then a decade. The music video was shot at Disneyland Park in Paris, with Sandra and DJ Bobo being the only artists ever allowed to film inside the Cinderella castle.
Sandra started touring again and putting the finishing touches on her next album. Virgin Records suggested that vocal recordings of Sandra's biggest hits be sent to different teams of producers/remixers for a new remix album. Sandra hesitated at first - she had already put out a remix collection in 1999 and did not want to promote all of her former hits once again. She had already finished her eighth studio album and wished to move forward in a new musical direction. Nevertheless, the project went forward.
On September 29th 2006 the remix album Reflections was released. "Everlasting Love" was re-recorded (since the original vocal had been destroyed at the PWL studios back in the 80s). The song was redone as a powerful ballad and distributed to the radio stations in Germany as a promotional single.
The album charted in Germany at #44 with no commercial singles released and no promotion from Sandra. However, "Around My Heart 2006" became a huge hit in Poland, where the record company decided to promote it to the radio stations.
In 2007 Virgin Music France decided to release a special version of Reflections, containing three new remixes made by French DJs. "In the Heat of the Night" was released online as a digital single containing four new versions of the song.
The first single from the upcoming new studio album was released in January 2007. "The Way I Am" peaked at #50 in Germany with no video and no promotion. As it turned out it was the most upbeat song from the album, which turned out to be (in my opinion at least) Sandra's best work to date!
The highly anticipated studio album, The Art of Love, was released on February 23rd 2007. It entered the German album chart at #16.
For the first time, Michael Cretu did not work as a producer for the album, as he was reportedly busy producing his new Enigma album A Posteriori. Sandra's management first tried to find producers from the UK, but Sandra didn't like the idea of leaving her family for a long period of time. Finally, she contacted Michael Cretu's "right hand", Jens Gad, who produced the entire album. Sandra, for the first time during her career, now participated actively in composing and writing the album. Therefore, the lyrics of the songs are much more personal then in her previous work. She worked at Gad's studio at nights, returning home to prepare breakfast for her twins, and then sleeping until they came home from school.
The result is one of the most beautiful albums I have ever heard. When I received the CD in the mail I was of course very exited to hear it, but I did truly not expect such a fantastic record. The vocals are stunning, the production beautiful, the lyrics are deeply personal - it truly is a brilliant album. The songs deal with religion, infidelity, lost love, insecurities, death and yes, love. It was very obvious that there had been a lot of pain in her life and that her marriage was over (although it has not been announced at the time).
Sandra said in interviews that people had always perceived her as a happy pop star without a care in the world. And she kept that appearance up because she did not want to go into her personal life in interviews.
A lot of fans however were unhappy with the album. They seemed to want an upbeat, happy album from her and didn't care too much for the serious tone of her latest release. While I love her earlier work, I must say that these fans were truly missing out on a great record!
The second single, "What Is It About Me" was released in May. Once again there was no video and hardly any promotion, leading to the single not entering the charts.
EMI Music in Poland decided to release her cover version of The Hooters' "All You Zombies" as a radio single instead of "What Is It About Me", and it became a big hit in Poland. Fans were campaigning to get the song released as a commercial single, while Sandra revealed in an interview that "Put Your Arms Around Me" (written by Sinéad O'Connor) was planned as a single, with an unreleased duet with DJ BoBo as a B-side. However, in a subsequent interview Sandra said that there would be no more singles released from the album.
In November 2007 it was announced that Sandra and Michael were divorced, citing "personal and professional differences". Michael lives in Germany now, while Sandra continues to live in Ibiza.
During all of 2007 and early 2008 Sandra was busy touring around Eastern Europe and Germany. She then started to work on her next album.
The first single from her forthcoming ninth studio album was "In A Heartbeat" - a happy, uplifting song that showcased a shift in her personal life. The single was released in March. Once again there was little promotion and no music video, but the single managed to chart at #59 in Germany.
The album Back To Life followed on March 27th. Sandra had revealed earlier that it was going to be an up-tempo, pop album, with influences of Latin pop, dance and R&B. The album was recorded in New York with the help of Jens Gad, and his brother Toby Gad (famous for his work with Beyoncé Knowles and Fergie). The record was a big departure from her previous one - much more upbeat and it had an overall happy feel. Sandra was in love again - the album even featured the duet "I Want You", sung by Sandra and her husband-to-be, Olaf Menges.
The album was generally well received by fans, charting at #26 in Germany.
The second single, released in May 2009, was the upbeat salsa-pop number "The Night Is Still Young", a duet with Thomas Anders (former member of Modern Talking). Backed with a music video and some TV performances, the song reached #36 in Germany.
November 6th the same year saw the release of of a fabulous 3 CD set called The Platinum Collection. It features all her singles to date, along with several album tracks - all beautifully remastered. The third CD included several 12" remixes that had previously only been available on the original 12" singles.
In 2010 Sandra married Olaf Menges (who now acts as her manager).
April 2012 saw the release of a SoSo 80s compilation - Blank & Jones had collected several 12" mixes, dubs and instrumentals (many never before available on CD) for a double CD set of Sandra goodness. Somewhat unexpectedly, the set charted in Germany at #50.
Even more unexpected was the announcement of a brand new single! Produced by Blank & Jones, the single "Maybe Tonight" was released in May 2012. It was true return to the sound that made Sandra famous back in the 80s and a real treat for her fanbase that had been hoping for a return to to Italo sound. Sadly there was no music video and promo for the song was not done until late in the summer - the single charted at #77 in Germany, but served very well as a teaser for what was to come...
On August 29th 2012 Sandra announced a brand new album.
Stay In Touch will be released on October 26th in two editions: standard and a 2CD deluxe editions. A new single, "Infinite Kiss" will be delivered to radio stations in October, and there will be a music video made for the song. Read the full press release below:
It seems that Sandra has come full circle! I cant wait for what she has in store for fans when the new single and album come out next month (she's shooting the video for the new single in Poland later this month).
I hope you have enjoyed this retrospective look back at the career of a singer I never really thought I would be such a big fan of all these years later. There were a lot of artists I loved as a kid, but Sandra has managed to have a long and diverse career that has spawned an awful lot of great music, which has had me hooked for more then 25 years! I look forward to everything she has to offer in the future - and you can be sure to read all about it right here - just "stay in touch".
If you missed the previous parts of these posts, you can find them here.