SANDI THOM FINDS WIDE WORLD OF SUCCESS ON WEB.
Buying a webcam rather than fixing her beat-up old car was probably the best decision of Sandi Thom's early music career.
Though the soulful Scottish singer-songwriter already had built a sizable fan base through regular gigging, she says it was nowhere near the 70,000 hits she got at her Web site earlier this year while streaming a live concert from the cramped basement of her South London flat.
``But that's what the Internet is like, isn't it? It just spreads the word,'' says Thom, 25, who is appearing in concert tonight at the Hotel Cafe in support of the album ``Smile -- It Confuses People,'' featuring the singles ``I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair)'' and ``Lonely Girl.''
Two weeks after her 21-show virtual tour came to an end in March, Thom reappeared on her Web site alongside an executive from RCA for what the label calls ``the first webcast signing in major record label history.''
RCA released the album ``Smile -- It Confuses People'' a few months later, although Thom says it was actually recorded a year ago October before inking the contract.
Thom says she wrote all the songs from the point of view of an observer, which is how the once-shy schoolgirl from the small fishing town of Banff thinks of herself.
``I've always been the sort of person who'd rather observe people, and so I'm more than likely to not talk but to listen and watch what it is people do; really just the strange little things,'' she says. ``And so most of the songs are focused on the funny little things that go on in relationships rather than the big things. But it's always subconsciously about yourself, isn't it?''
Before becoming a recording artist, Thom was just another graduate of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts trying to make it in music.
She worked as a session singer, scored a publishing deal and signed with the independent label Viking Legacy. She later opened for bands like the Proclaimers and headlined a few of her own shows.
It was between gigs, in fact, when her car broke down and the idea of installing a webcam in her basement popped into her head.
And the rest is history still in the making.
Sandra Barrera (818) 713-3728
Where: The Hotel Cafe, 1623 1/2 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles.
When: 8 tonight.
Tickets: $10 at the door.
``I've always been the sort of person who'd rather observe people ... and so most of the songs are focused on the funny little things that go on in relationships,'' says Sandi Thom.