30 Under 30: Sandra-Mae Luykx
High school: R.A. McMath
Sandra-Mae Luykx says she started singing the same time she started talking.
Music has always been a big part of her life. She took up piano at age 6 and added saxophone while still in elementary school. Nowadays, she plays alto, tenor and baritone sax, still sings and also plays guitar.
She sings and plays baritone sax in a nine-piece funk/soul/Motown dance band called The Phonix, which is the house band for two clubs: The Backstage Lounge (on Granville Island) and at The Two Lions in North Vancouver.
She has performed at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival, where she met and/or performed with the likes of Joe Lovano, Roy Hargrove, Herbie Hancock, Joshua Redman, Medeski, Martin & Wood, and Christian McBride. She even opened for Dave Brubeck. She also performs Brazilian music.
She graduated from Capilano University 2011 with a bachelors degree in Music in Jazz Studies with a minor in Education and keeps active as a performer, arranger and composer.
Check out her website at sandra-mae.com.
How many compositions have you written? “I have written and arranged many instrumental jazz compositions. Recently I’ve been focusing more towards pop/R&B . I have many unfinished little gems that are waiting to be fully fleshed out into thoughtful compositions that will be on my album slated to be released by the end of this year.”
Inspiration? “One of my biggest inspirations is someone who inspires me both as a person and as a musician. Jeremy Hepner was my high school music teacher at McMath, and it was because of him that I actually pursued my love of music. He is also one of the best jazz and blues guitar players I know. His passion for music is shared with all of his students! Jeremy’s inspiration and his dedication to his students’ education were crucial to me pursuing jazz/music as a career.
“Some other significant musical influences of mine are: Paul Desmond, Dexter Gordon, Hank Mobley, Ella Fitzgerald, Luis Armstrong, Etta James, Amy Winehouse, The Roots, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Sharon Jones, Tom Jobim and Stan Getz, just to name a few!”
Most proud of? “One of my greatest accomplishments was obtaining my degree from CapU. Now that I have persevered through that arduous process I feel empowered to commit to being a full time musician. It may be a tough haul in some people’s view, but there is something to be said about following your passion.”
Advice? “Like studying anything, music is not easy and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. The music industry is tough; you need to be fully dedicated and good at what you do, you need to be resourceful and you need to be street-smart. That being said, music is one of the few things that universally connects all of his here in this fast paced world we live in. It brings me so much joy to inspire people through my live performances as well as recorded works. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you have improved someone’s mood with your art.”