Musician

Sandy Knights – Singing and Chasing Dreams

Sandy Knights

Today’s podcast is with singer Sandy Knights. Sandy started singing in her home state of California. She decided to make a career of it and moved to Las Vegas several years ago. Sandy started singing and touring with a local Vegas band, Whiskey Maiden. She traveled to several western states this past year and got to experience life on the road as the only woman in a five piece band. I was excited to speak with a female lead singer that traveled with a band. Part of our discussion was about the hardships of traveling while she was missing out on her hobbies, friends and family.

“I’ve recently come across some free time and I kind of sat back with some solitude and thought to myself, when is the last time I rode a horse? When’s the last time I shot a gun? When’s the last time I went fishing? These are all things I did on a weekly basis back home.”

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I am truly thankful for the time Sandy shared with me. Our conversation was one of several I’ve had with different friends as we are all trying to figure out where we fit in the world and what are we contributing to it. I hope you enjoy the conversation with Sandy Knights.

Sandy’s BIO

They say some people are born to do what they do and Sandy is living proof of that. Since before she could talk and barely walk Sandy’s grandmother would catch her pulling herself from the ground up her high chair and use the handle as microphone to sing in. This came as somewhat of surprise since no one in Sandy’s family had any kind of career in music.

At the young age of 3 Sandy began dance classes and started performing on stage in recitals and in church plays. At age 12 Sandy fell in love with musical theater where she was able to not only dance but also use her vocal talent and began performing in various musicals through Junior High and High School. During her junior year in high school Sandy began thinking about her future. As much as she loved performing she could not ignore her family’s expressed concern for a more stable career path.

Sandy then became a Volunteer Fire Fighter (Fire Explorer) for the city of Fremont and was ranked 2nd in the Academy. After high school Sandy went on to college for Fire Science Technology and was looking to have a career in the Fire Service. Call it fate, call it what you will, or you could just say life took a few different turns and Sandy ended up in Sacramento at age 19. Finally out of her hometown she began searching for her own identity. She worked a couple of fun, but dead end jobs in her first year on her own while continuing various college classes. One night she went out with a few guy friends to dinner at Hooters and was offered a job on the spot. Flattered and ready for new adventure; she accepted. Sandy went on to be crowned Miss Hooters of Sacramento 2007 and competed in Miss Hooters International Pageant in Las Vegas. While in Vegas she appeared on an episode of ESPN’s Best Damn Sports show with Pamela Anderson and Randy Couture. Upon Sandy’s arrival back from Vegas she received a message from the WWE that she had been scouted to audition to become a WWE Diva. During her audition Sandy was asked if she could sing…being out of singing for so long she replied “yes???”. Sandy was then asked to sing for the first time in 3 years and had an overwhelming feeling of stage fright. Sandy made it to the top 25 and was cut in the last round. After the audition Sandy could not stop thinking about singing and wondered how or if she would ever overcome being afraid to sing on her own. Just before turning 21 Sandy was introduced to a friend of a friend who was going to be opening a new country bar in Sacramento and was offered a bartending position.

Sandy, up for another new adventure, accepted. Soon after the bar opening, they began to have karaoke every night and Sandy began singing again. Shyly singing karaoke turned into her becoming “THE Singing Bartender”, which then turned into live bands asking her on stage during shows, which then created a buzz and people began asking Sandy why she doesn’t sing in a band. After 4 years of encouragement and persistence from customers and friends, Sandy joined her first band in 2011. She has since developed as a performer and singer and had no intention on stopping.

Kevin Krohn – Music and Eating Vegan

Kevin Krohn

On my Travel Wins podcast is pianist/keyboard player Kevin Krohn. Kevin has been a professional musician for 30+ years. He spent time touring as the keyboardist for the 80’s band Missing Persons and more recently toured with the Pink Floyd Experience. He is continuing his playing as part of a dueling piano ensemble in Las Vegas playing to thousands of people each week.

“The work and being away from home it’s sort of a necessity, I grit my teeth and bear it”

I was really happy getting the chance to speak with Kevin because of his eating choices and being a vegan for the past 27 years while being a touring musician. I know many of us business travelers struggle eating healthy while on the road. Not that we have to eat a vegan diet but more of the idea of making smarter, healthier choices while traveling. I know it’s just as easy to grab a candy bar, soda and some chips versus a protein bar, banana and water. Personally I am trying to be more aware of the positive aspects of eating healthier, maybe it’s just my advancing age?

Again I would like to thank Kevin for his time and sharing his experiences.

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Cowboy Troy Coleman – Hick Hop and Business

Cowboy Troy

A great talk with country music star Cowboy Troy Coleman about his life on the road, balancing work/life commitments, family life and diversification in the music/entertainment business.

“It’s kind of that gypsy lifestyle”

A six-foot five-inch, hick-hop artist is going to get a response, and Cowboy Troy is okay with the strong reactions and endless questions. “I have crazy intentions,” he says with a grin. But anyone who thinks that the Cowboy Troy experience ends there, doubts his country credentials, or is inclined to dismiss him as a novelty, is in for quite a surprise. “People have different paths,” Troy says. “I’m not going to apologize for my music, because this is who I am. I didn’t just wake up one morning, put on a cowboy hat, and get a gig rapping on a country album. You don’t do something for 15 years on a lark.”

Cowboy Troy rapped his way into the country mainstream on the first cut of Big & Rich’s 2004 debut Horse Of A Different Color. And while his admonition to “let go of all your preconceived notions” certainly wasn’t the first time elements of rap had been incorporated into country, it was the boldest statement yet. Explaining the journey that placed Troy Coleman at this unlikely intersection is as complicated as explaining the evolution of American culture. At the same time it’s as simple as the story of a kid from Texas who did what all kids do–he soaked up the world around him.

Troy spent his childhood in Ft. Worth, where his dad took him to rodeos and stock shows. “We’d listen to Willie Nelson, Jerry Reed, Charlie Daniels, Kenny Rogers, and other artists who were getting airplay on the adult contemporary stations at that time,” Troy says. “I didn’t realize it was country music, I just knew it was what my parents listened to before they went to work in the morning.” Troy spent his high school years in Dallas and collegiate years in Austin, Texas at the University of Texas.

In addition to solo releases [Loco Motive (2005), Black in the Saddle (2007), and Demolition Mission (2009)], Troy has spent time on TV. He’s been a part of the ESPN College Gameday video intro along with Big & Rich since the 2006 football season. He also served as co-host for USA Network’s Nashville Star in 2006 and 2007. Most recently Troy performed on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars on the final episode of 2012 Spring season. His appearance in Big & Rich’s Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy video, as well as his own I Play Chicken With the Train and Hick Chick videos remind viewers of his “party starter” nature.

Troy knows he’s challenging conventional thinking about what country music is, but expects that his music will find its place. “I’ve never been like everybody else and it wouldn’t do me any good to try,” he says. “Some people are going to love it and some are going to hate it, which is probably how it should be because it means they’re talking.” The way Troy sees it, “innovation is a tradition, not a trend or secondary option…authenticity comes in the commitment.” Troy calls Warner Music Nashville his recording home. His latest installment of music, “King of Clubs” was released March 11, 2014.

He released his 7th studio album this year called “Laugh With Me”.

 Troy speaks extensively about his calculated plan to diversify, as the industry constantly changes. Troy also talks about the work/life balances of traveling while being a husband and father of triplets.

Troy is one of the good guys and I know he appreciates your follows, comments and likes on his various social media pages.

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Laugh With Me - Cowboy Troy