Sandy Bell by Rachel BrenneckeSandy Bell was born in Parma, Ohio, a small suburb outside of Cleveland. The last of five children, she became a natural observer in a considerably chaotic but loving environment. Singing for anyone who would listen, she found her solace through music.

Throughout her childhood, her parents held various jobs over the years– her father was an ice delivery man and teacher at the local community college, while her mother worked at hotels, grocery stores, and the local horse track. Sandy left Cleveland in the mid 80s in search of a more creative environment to call home.

Landing in Los Angeles, she collaborated with various musicians, among them singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley. She found harmony with a few surfers and formed a band called skipngonaked. Locked away in an old furniture factory-turned-studio, they wrote hundreds of songs and performed to packed audiences across Southern California.

As the band gained momentum, a self-described soul sickness took Sandy into the nether. She disappeared from her own life and the music she loved. It wasn’t until her father’s death in 1997 that she emerged from the darkness–a memory recalled in the track ‘Wake Me’ on her new record. As if rousing from a nightmare, she realized the holiness of existing, and eventually found her way to Brooklyn, New York. Sandy became less interested in the business of music and more enthralled with the curative outcome of singing stories of the past. The cathartic process of melting grief into song became her primary focus, and of that, the record When I Leave Ohio was born.