From Soul to Blues, Sandbloom Can Sing It All

Kevin Sandbloom, one of the many musicians who performs at the open mic Crimson Spot in Los Angeles, exhibits a passionate voice, soulful lyrics, and plays the guitar beautifully. Sandbloom describes his music as "soul and blues with some jazz... pretty eclectic." In addition to touring throughout various poetry spots across the nation "for the last three years," he released four full length records and has been featured in Laurence Fishbourne's self-directed "Once In The Life." "I had a couple of songs in there," he says. It's a really gritty, gang-infested movie of his, he comments. His work also includes the soundtrack to the independent film "I Used to Love Her," by 1555 Film Works.

He has a steady following in certain parts of the country already, and has raving reviews from radio stations and magazines which may be viewed at

He gains much of his sound from the music he listens to, which he describes as "anything that's good, but more jazz flavored music." "I'm a huge fan of D'Angelo," he says, and he also listens to James Taylor, Roots, Martin Sexton, and Anthony David, a musician from Atlanta. "There's a ton," he says. Upon being asked if there is a common theme to his songs, he says, "they're all over, but they can fall into two categories: love interest and social or spiritual commentary."

He also adds that "I'm pretty influenced by my parents. I got a lot of life experience from my mom." When he was younger, his mom and he would have "Breakfast with the Beatles" where "we would sit on her bed and we'd play Beatles...she was really supportive." "I've been inspired by an older school of music," he adds, "A lot of music now is linear... it doesn't go anywhere. I tend to make things more ornate. My lyrics run to the obtuse. I'm not trying to spell it out too obviously." He also describes himself as "impressionistic [and a] cubist." "I started writing as a form of communication," Sandbloom explains, "I was kind of introverted as a kid." Though he admits he doesn't feel nearly as nervous now, however, he did describe a performance where he suddenly realized how many people were watching him and re-experienced some shyness. He added that he really couldn't even communicate without the music as he was growing up, and needed it to express himself.

And perhaps this musical inclination is genetically related. "My family's pretty musical," he explains, "my mom used to sing...[she was] on the radio a couple of times." His brother is also a classically trained singer, and his brother-in-law is a music teacher.

Sandbloom writes all of his own material but also does some covers, such as Sade's "Smooth Assassination." He plays this song frequently, and some of the songs of his own which he plays most frequently are "Viva Los Angeles," and "Is It a Crime?" which you can also check out on his Myspace page. His site also lists music videos and upcoming shows, and he's constantly touring.

His main goal right now, he says, is "getting [his] music to grow at a faster pace. I'm making a living playing music, which is wonderful, but there's a lot of work involved." His tour includes mainly poetry shows and open mics, but he also has music shows as well. "That's how I travel... most of my gigs are poetry gigs."

He's also been playing for three years at the Crimson Spot open mic at the Baha'i Center, located on 5755 Rodeo Rd., Los Angeles. "My poetry shows are like two to four songs, and on music sets I play more," he says. "I'll have at least 22 songs on the new record... I've been working at least a year writing one song, and another set of songs I've been working on five to six years."

He also says, "In order to make an impact you really do need some help." Reportedly, the biggest challenge facing him is "keeping it all together as an independent artist... I don't want to compromise. People want to take you in a different direction." In addition to these challenges, he says "I often don't know what's going to happen two months down the road."

Another area of work Sandbloom has been delving into is writing for film. Ideally, he would be working for independent films, but he says he's open to "all kinds of films."

While advising other musical artists, he says, "try to develop your craft - play everyday, practice everyday. Make it so much a part of your life it's like an undeniable force. I spent a lot of time half-heartedly doing it. Gradually I became more serious as I got older." He was in his twenties when he became more serious about music, after having tried to pursue other paths he was less interested in. Even though he says he would play no matter how much money he would make, he says he's constantly considering: "How can I turn this into a functioning business?" "It's a great challenge," he adds.

His next show will be on Nov. 25 at Dakota Lounge, formerly known as Temple Bar was, at 1026 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica.