Remember to Warm Up!

A little reminder to all of you out there trying to get into shape. Remember to Warm-Up! I forgot that very important detail Friday morning before working with my trainer. And it isn't because he hadn't reminded me, no! He is very explicit about how important it is to warm up 30 minutes before working out and at least 30 minutes after. I had been doing alright since I started with him a couple of weeks ago, but Friday morning I really messed up by not getting all of my warm-up done before we started. It was typical of me and my overloaded schedule. In my eagerness to get my body back in 'performance' mode I have been going to dance classes three times a week with Angelo Moio over at Backstage Dance Studio, to Pilates twice a week with Jill Davis over at The Pilates Studio and to work out with my trainer, Jeff Monroe.

My body has been quick to respond and I have noticed my muscles responding to the intensity of the classes. But along with all this work to get in top shape for my new upcoming shows I have also been in preparations for my new songs that I am recording with various producers and musicians around the country. It has been exciting but also it is intense, because each project is totally different. I am recording 5 songs with each producer which will include many of my originals and a few covers. Each producer works differently, so it has been interesting planning for each project. Plus most of the songs we are recording are my originals and a few of them are still works in progress.

Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed thinking about too many things at the same time, which is also very common among writers, performers and artists. We don't always do one thing at a time. We often have many 'balls in the air' juggling to get it all done. Also, it is part of that theory that it all is connected. And I believe that 'it' is. Everything that goes on in a day brings another element into my writing. My biggest challenge, though, is focusing on one thing at a time, which is very critical when working out.

Of course, whenever we learn something the 'hard way' we usually don't forget it. From now on I will be warming up my muscles before every work out, because I don't want to be slowed down again, and this is slowing me down. Then again, I am writing now, because I can't be up dancing or running down the street, can I? My writing tools are all in front of me and I am working on the words for my songs that need finishing. Slowing down is not all bad! And besides this is more material for my writing, whether it goes into a song, a book, an article or a musical....who knows where any of this will land?

So, remember, warm up those muscles before you go workout and you will help your body do what it needs to do to build those muscles and get in shape!

Sandy Kastel Says "Danke Schoen" To Wayne Newton

The Las Vegas Based Recording Artist, Whose Critically Acclaimed Debut Album ‘This Time Around’ Includes A New Arrangement Of Newton’s Trademark Hit, First Encountered Him As A Young Girl When Her Father Played In His Band

Las Vegas based recording artist Sandy Kastel (www.sandykastel.com) experienced a real blast from the past recently as she hung out backstage at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino with “Mr. Las Vegas” himself, Wayne Newton.

Growing up, Kastel—a former Miss Nevada—watched the legendary entertainer in rehearsals while accompanying her father, an acclaimed saxophonist who for years backed many of the city’s greatest performers, including Newton.

When Kastel told her father that her friend, writer and publicist Bobbie Katz, was taking her to see the singer’s show, he began telling stories of performing with Newton at The Frontier and The International (now the Las Vegas Hilton), as well as Harrah’s Reno and Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. Mr. Kastel also recorded on a Newton Christmas album.

With the release of her critically acclaimed debut album This Time Around, the Vegas born and raised Kastel has become a true cultural ambassador for the city, bringing the magic of classic Las Vegas to the rest of the world for the very first time. Putting her own unique spins on songs that continue to transfix our imaginations decades after we first heard them, the singer pays homage to, among others, Frank Sinatra (a medley of “All Of Me,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Just One Of Those Things,” plus “Luck Be A Lady”), Peggy Lee (“Fever,” “Come Back To Me”), Johnny Mathis (“Misty”), Dinah Washington/Celine Dion (“When I Fall In Love”) and Judy Garland (“Over The Rainbow”).

Of course, the collection also features Newton’s trademark hit “Danke Schoen,” and Kastel was eager to tell the legendary entertainer that she honored him. “When Bobbie took me backstage to meet him after the show, he was gracious when I told him my story about watching him in rehearsals as a little girl. He remembered my dad and when he bought the musicians the T.V. for the band room. When I told him about my tribute album and that he was one of the people I was honoring along with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Bobby Darin, he laughed and said, ‘I’m in good company.’ Wayne was as I remembered him from my childhood, friendly, funny, a gentleman and a true performer. It was wonderful meeting him again as an adult and watching him perform as only he can. He is truly Mr. Las Vegas!”

Watching him regale yet another appreciative audience, Kastel fully understands the secret to his many years of success: “After almost 2 hours of performing non-stop, singing his hit songs including ‘Danke Schoen’ and closing with a high energy medley, Wayne said goodnight to his audience, promising to join his fans afterwards for a meet and greet where he took photos with every one of them. This is what he does for his fans. He knows they are important and always treats them special, showing them his appreciation by spending time with them after each show. In my opinion this is one of his characteristics that led to a long and successful career.”

For a full rundown on Kastel’s memorable evening seeing “Mr. Las Vegas” in concert, please visit www.sandykastel.com.

Sandy Kastel Gets Back To The Heart Of Her Music

Sandy Kastel’s life is filled with many different hues – she is a singer, a songwriter, a former Miss Nevada in the Miss America Pageant, a sculptor, a wife, and is involved in charity.

These days, she’s “Over the Rainbow” where her music is concerned and it’s her original songs that are currently coloring her perspective. In fact, it could be said that they are where she’s hoping to find the gold.

“People all over the world – from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the U.S. and other places – have been buying my CD, This Time Around,” Kastel says excitedly about her critically acclaimed mid-2007 indie recording debut. “From it, my recording of ‘Over the Rainbow’ has been put on a compilation CD in Beijing, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. ‘Beyond the Sea’ went to number 14 on the FMQB’s AC40 chart and is the number three downloaded tune on CD Baby and iTunes.

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Congratulations To The New Miss America Katie Stam

Miss America Katie Stam

Did you watch the Miss America Pageant? Miss Indiana won. She was such a beauty and so warm and a wonderful personality! As a Miss Nevada myself it is great to see all that the girls put into the pageant and their 'platform', which is often not understood by the public. These girls get involved with a charity that they work with all though the year and usually for a lifetime because they believe in it. I admire them. And feel honored to be part of the history of the biggest scholarship program in the world, which helps these girls go to college to pursue their dreams. Just thought I would share that since most of you are sharing your music with me. I, too, shall have some new songs coming out soon. I will keep you posted and will check out all of your new music as well (and share it with all my friends)......

Sandy

MissAmerica.org


And our best to our own Miss Nevada, , who did a wonderful job. She is out there meeting people from around the state....

 Sandy Kastel and Miss Nevada Juliana Erdesz

Laura Taylor & the Nevada Pops at UNLV

I went to see my friend Laura Taylor with the Nevada Pops at UNLV. They played selections from the American Songbook and featured Laura. It was a great show.

Laura is a classic beauty as she walks out on stage dressed in a red strapless gown with her blonde hair up in a chignon twist.

The pure clear sound of her lyrical voice seems to float on air. And we are not talking about easy songs, either. One of them was a lively up-tempo song filled with long melodic phrases that could have easily tongue-tied a lesser talented vocalist.

Laura and I have often talked about how she studied the lines saxophonists played during their solos, earning her the respect from fellow musicians who are often extremely critical of vocalists.

Well respected by her peers, Laura is often asked to perform with the Jazz Society. Last year she performed with the Jazz Band at one of the high schools amazing the students as she created jazz licks on the spot.

What can I say? I am in awe of Laura Taylor and her flawless technique.

If you are curious at all check out her albums on CD Baby & Itunes. I believe you will really enjoy her eloquent delivery and velvety smooth tone.

http://www.laurataylor.com/

Sandy Kastel Rockin' Playlist

These are singers and songs that have inspired me to write.  Some of the songs represented life changes, others reflected my feelings at the time.  They take me back to a moment in time, a first love, a break-up, or a first date, frustration or joy, invigorating pumping energy, passion and defiance, all emotions that drive us to live, to love to fight for our beliefs.  That is what music is to me and these are just is my first playlist for you.  There will be more...
 
 

Singers like Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Pat Benatar and Tina Turner and Chaka Khan are strong, independent, passionate and in their songs they are out spoken about their feelings.  This is the kind of passion that inspires me to write about my own feelings.

Bonnie Raitt combines rock, r&b, country and soul in her songs. So do I.  Another singer who inspires me because of her raw emotional connection to her songs.  I wish I could play the guitar the way she does.

Wynonna Judd, Martina McBride, Shania Twain, Tanya Tucker again women with their own individualistic strengths, they speak to me through their songs.

Carrie Underwood is the new country, incorporating beauty, determination, attitude into her delivery.  There is an honest, down-home vibe about her that is refined and perfected.

BB King, Sting, the Beatles, the Cars, the Who each telling their stories through the music, I grew up listening to them talk to us, developing through the psyche of the generations they still speak to me.

- Sandy

Believe It And You Can Do It!

Oh, my gosh! It is so good to get in touch with people who have been part of my life. I just got a message from a friend from my high school days. How many of you have done that?

It was like a different lifetime for me. Was it for you, too?

I was in choir, actually, three different choirs in high school. One was the 'girls glee' with Miss Jan Morgan. Then there was the Madrigals. That was the group that did the classical choral music. Then there was Celebration. We did the fun stuff, like whatever was popular at the time. I was also in Chorale, which was a mixture of girls and boys. We sang all of the choral pieces that all the schools do. All of these were taught by Jan Morgan. I was in them from 10th - 12th grade.

But the last year I had some health issues and missed the 'photo session' for the yearbook. The surprising thing for me was that when I got my yearbook, Jan Morgan had neglected to add my name to all of the choirs I was part of. Yes, it was a big disappointment not to be included, even though I had been part of all those groups for my entire time in High School.

She got upset with me because I missed two weeks of school due to my illness. I guess she decided she would 'show me'. Well, she did show me that she was petty to not give me the credit for all of my hard work and dedication to her groups.

Was it fair? I don't think so, but what was I to do about it? There is really not much anyone can do about it when you are only a high school student and the 'teachers' 'disrespect' you by not including you in the organizations that you participated in.

Oh, yes, I was also very much a part of the theater program. But that was another area that they decided to 'forget about'. I was in 'Sweet Charity'. I was only one of the three girls backing up the lead, but the director included me in numbers not typical for my role, because I was the strongest voice of all the girls and they needed the strength. Then I was the lead in 'Funny Girl', the largest high school production of the year and they decided that it only warranted one group photo, even though I was the lead in the musical (the role played by Barbra Streisand in the movie). I guess they were trying to send a message to me not to miss classes because of illness!

But it didn't hold me back, no not me. Terry Richards was in the audience and he asked me to join his touring band that summer, which lasted for 2 years on the road.

It was a great experience and I learned a lot about touring, being in a band with 5 other musicians and how to deal with 'groupies'.

So, all in all, we may have experiences in high school or other situations that we don't understand at the time, but we can turn all of those situations into positive outcomes by 'plugging ahead' or believing in the long time 'showbiz' motto, 'THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

Keep your chin up when things don't go your way. Believe in yourself and your dreams. Follow your heart and listen to your inner voice. Keep the friends and family around you who support you and go out into the world and share your talents.

If you do this, you will be heard! Believe it and you can Do It! I do!

Sandy

Wayne Newton at the MGM in Vegas

Last night long-time writer and publicist Bobbie Katz invited me to see Wayne Newton at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. I remember seeing Wayne for the first time when I was just a little girl. My dad was playing for him at the historic Frontier Hotel. I would sit and watch the rehearsals and on special occasions Dad brought me to watch the show from the light booth.


I was amazed every time I watched him. He would sing song after song after song, play his instruments, come out into the audience and he always went well over 2 hours giving his audiences the best show possible. I learned what it was to be a true performer. He would dance between the booths, shaking hands. He was like the Every Ready Bunny who just kept going. His audiences always left satisfied that they had just seen the best show ever! They always gave him standing ovations at the end of his show.

One of the main reasons Bobbie invited me to see Wayne is because I recorded an album THIS TIME AROUND, which pays tribute to the performers who really made Las Vegas the Entertainment Capital of the World, like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin, Judy Garland, Peggy Lee and Wayne Newton. When I told Bobbie that Danke Schoen is my #1 Download on CDBaby and ITunes, she said, "Well, I have to take you to meet the man himself, Wayne Newton."

When I got the invitation I sent my dad an email and he told me a few stories about his experiences working with Wayne.

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My Time at The Grammys

I had a wonderful time at the 51st Grammy Awards. The day started out getting pampered at the Nikki Chavez Salon in Beverly Hills. Then Alex, my driver, whisked me away in his Silver Mercedes. We stopped at the Breadbar to pick up a salad to give me energy for the long day ahead.

When we arrived downtown we drove around for about a half hour following the barriers set by the traffic controllers to guide us into the front door of the Staples Center where there were lines of women dressed in designer dresses, jewelry, bags and shoes. The men were decked out, too.

I was wearing a classic Dolce & Gabbana fitted dress with an Angel Sanchez Feathered Jacket, Christian Louboutin Shoes, Prada handbag and Harry Winston Jewels.

The Grammy Awards show was great. It was like 20 concerts all in one with the Jonas Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Radiohead, Lil Wayne, NeNo, Robert Plant, Alison Kraus, Jennifer Hudson, Justin Timberlake, Cold Play, Smokey Robinson, John Mayer, Paul McCartney and the list goes on.

Congratulations to all the winners. There are so many categories that they can't cover them all during the televised show so they have a pre-show to hand them out.

The After Party was full of surprises with a PEACE bus, songs from the 70's musical Hair, mime style acrobats performing skits on several stages around the room. There was a band up on stage playing songs that made us all get up and dance.

I met Grammy Award Winners Trae Pierce for Christian Album, Ruben Ramos and the Mexican Revolution for Best Tejana Album, "Viva La Revolucion", their producer Randy Caballero, his sister, Rachel and the rest of the group, Grammy Winning Rock & Soul King, Solomon Burke, Dance Music Diva Pepper Mashay, Indy Film Producer, Cherisse Goedhart to name just a few.

The food was excellent and the staff made every effort to make sure that the party-goers had enough food and drink throughout the entire evening.

The party lasted all night and as I returned to the London Hotel I was surprised by the flashing lights of the Paparazzi. As I entered the hotel I turned and waved goodnight!

View My Grammy Photos!

Gallery Opening...What A Nightmare!

What an experience. I thought this was going to be a glorious celebration and it turned into a nightmare. Two of my most expensive pieces were stolen from the gallery during working hours and the wife of the owner did everything she could do to make me feel that it was not important for them to uncover the culprits, which leads me to believe that there is more to this story than meets the eye. And I am going to pursue it with the police to see if we can find out who took my sculptures during broad daylight!

Sandy