Alex
01/10//2010


     BIOGRAPHY


      Alex, or Alexandra Naumik Sandoy was born to Polish parents in Vilnius, Lithuania,

      Her first six years were spent in Siberia where her family had been deported by Stalin's Communist regime. After being freed the family returned to Poland and Alex started to settle into her new surroundings. There, she started taking part in singing competitions which in turn led her to compete in the National Competition which she promptly won. The win gained her a meeting with Wladyslaw Szpilman (“The Pianist” and the previous Head of Music at Polish Radio) and her first studio recordings which were released on the album ”Listy Spiewajace” (Singing Letters) Lyrics by Agnieszka Osiecka and music by Adam Slawinski.

      While still at school Alex continued to work with and record new material for Polish Radio in Warsaw. After graduating from Upper Secondary School in June 1967, Alex was invited to perform at the famous Opole Music Festival. Her debut was live on television with a full symphonic orchestra and the cream of Polish artists. An album of the concert was consequently released called “Song festival Pole- 1967”


      With the intention of training as an Art teacher Alex started her studies at the Pedagogy Institute of Lodz. Here she soon met her future husband, the film director Haakon Sandøy who was studying at the Film Academy in the same town.  While studying Alex continued perform and recorded with the band “Cykady” both live and on television. She also sang with the satirical student theatre group “Pstrang” while still entering and winning contests as “Best Vocalist”  as a representative for her student district. During the this time the renowned Juliusz Loranc was putting together his super-group “Quorum” and invited Alex to join and to record for a new television series. Her plans fell through however, as the impending birth of her daughter Naomi meant she had to leave Poland with her new husband for his hometown of Stavanger, Norway.

      Shortly after, the family moved to Oslo, due to her husband's script work on his debut film “Brannen” (The Fire) to which  Alex also contributed with work on both design and production material. During this time money was tight and with the (then) difficulty of obtaining a work permit, even as an educated person, Alex worked in a factory doing back-braking work consisting of mostly night shifts. At the same time the music scene around Club 7 was growing and Alex soon found herself a part of this scene, getting inspired again while working within many artistic genres.

      Her artistic name 'ALEX' was created by the writer  Jens Bjørneboe when, in his dedication in his book “Kruttårnet” (The Gunpowder Tower),  he wrote “to little Alex from old Jens”. Her band was put together from members of Aunt Mary, Moose Loose and the Georg Keller Band  and was based on Alex's concept of American funk and rock. The band was the first of its kind in Norway and members included; Bjorn Christiansen, Brynjulf Blix, Per Ivar Johansen and Svein Gundersen.

      In 1976 Alex signed a contract as a solo artist with Polygram Records, Norway and released her self-titled, English-language album in March 1977. That same year she signed an international contract as a newly made Norwegian citizen with Polygram International (now Universal) and in 1978 she signed with RCA Records  in America.
      Alex continually toured promoting her music with one of her first large concerts being the inaugural concert of the newly finished Oslo Concert Hall where she performed with renowned troubadour
      Cornelis Wreeswijk. It was to be a first of its kind, combining Folk and Rock music. However,  the concert become the backdrop to a political conspiracy when it later emerged (through investigative journalism) that the hecklers that night had been recruited by, and were members of the Norwegian Communist Party being led by the then communist Polish Embassy.

      Alex's international brake-through came when she was given her own TV-special on the famous German music show “
      Musikladen”, an honour previously bestowed on the likes of The Ramones, Roxy Music and Stevie Wonder. That year Alex was voted as one of the 10 best Live Bands by German Magazine 'Bravo', a first for a Scandinavian Artist. In Scandinavia, this resulted in performances on famous landmarks such as Skansen and Liseberg in Sweden and the Christian Radich and  Kalvoya festivals in Noway. Her performance at the latter was one the festivals highlights and a resounding success.

      Alex was the first female artist in Norway to take full control over all aspects of her music, including her image and her portrayal in the  media. This was particularly remarkable during a period when this was far from the norm. She quickly became a star in her own right and a trend-setter both in music and fashion with her hair-style and clothing style widely copied.



      Polygram demanded an immediate follow-up and within a year Alex had two albums on the market; “ALEX” and “Handle With Care”, both of which showcased her unique 4 _ octave voice. Both albums topped the charts and were widely acclaimed by critics and the public alike. So much so that the albums achieved Silver and Gold status and received the Norwegian equivalent of the Grammies, the Spillemansprisen for Best Pop/Rock Album.

      TV shows followed in Europe in 1978, amongst them  “POP-Rock” and “PlateKitchen” in Germany. That same year, famous author Randi Bratteli  included Alex's  story of her Siberian childhood in her book on famous and remarkable women from different backgrounds and nationalities. The   book was called “Veien De Gikk” (The Road They Traveled).

      In 1979 Alex traveled to London to commence recording on her 3rd album “Hello, I Love You” (the Jim Morrison classic) which subsequently also received crtitical acclaim, garnering 5 star (top) reviews.

      Alex continued to perform and tour and also recorded a television special made for Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) which was shown all over Scandinavia. While touring in the Middle East, Alex's father died  of cancer and her fourth album recorded in 1980 was named in his memory as “Daddy's Child”. The album was once again very well received and achieved Silver status.

      In the summer of 1980 Alex traveled to Asia, visiting South-Korea and the Philippines to represent Norway at the Seoul Music Festival where she also garnered a prize. The plan was to return during autumn to test the Japanese market.

      However, fate was of a different mind. On 19th September 1980 Alex's tour bus lost its brakes and careered down a steep and winding road killing drummer Per Ivar Johansen.

      A few weeks later still bruised and traumatized, Alex and her new band, including Marius Muller, Rolf Graf and Geir Langslett, performed at the venue Chateau Neuf for  the first national television drive in support of cancer research. Alex, as an initiator of the concert  together with the magazine “Se&Hor”,  handed over the cheque  together with Erik Bye to the National Cancer Organisation. The concert raised 84 million Norwegian kroner but more importantly it  raised the  awareness of cancer.

      Alex was voted “Female Artist of the Year” by the readers of popular weekly magazine “Det Nye” in 1980 and  in 1981 she won “Best Female Vocalist” at the European “NordRing” competition in Helsinki, Finland. The win was celebrated live on air during her performance at the Momarket show in the late summer.  At the end of the year Alex was deeply involved in the Polish Solidarity movement and she spent time organising concerts and protests all over Norway in support of the movement. Everybody joined in; from the grand old man of Norwegian theatre in Oslo, Per Aabel, to the renowned fiddler Arve Tellefsen in Trondheim.

      As the Norwegian spokeswoman for Helen Curtis shampoo's , BASF and Norges  Brannkasse (a National Insurance company) Alex's name, face and later trademark, was plastered on billboards up and down the country. This new aspect of artist development,  which now is the norm, attracted a fair bit of criticism in its day but is further evidence of how influential and innovative she was.

      In 1982 Sentralfilm in co-production with BBC and Scandinavian TV Union  produced a TV series  called “Songwriters to the Stars”. This series presented, amongst others, David Foster (later the CEO of Warner Bros), a Grammy and Oscar winning writer and producer who has worked with such artists as Earth, Wind and Fire, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. Foster singlehandedly picked Alex as his choice of singer to work with, together with Swedish Bjorn Skifs. The programme with David Foster was widely recognised as the best of the series and came to be released as a record in Scandinavia, the Benelux countries and as far away as Japan.

      Alex parted with her husband in 1982 and continued to perform and tour both at home and abroad. She started work on her next album “Always” in co-operation with Polish-Swedish Wlodek Gulgowski and Eirik "The Norwegian" Wangberg. The album was released in 1983 on CBS Records (now Sony Music) and was nominated for 2 Norwegian Grammies (Spellemanspris) and received one for Best Production. The single “I Love Warszawa” became a big hit, and during the winter the BBC made a feature on Alex, filmed in Oslo's Vigelands Park. Alex performed the album for the first time at the National Concert Hall and soon thereafter she left to tour with her new band consisting of Nils Petter Molvær, Bendik, Ole Edvard Antonsen, Wlodek Gulgowski and Atle Bakken. Soon after Alex signed an exclusive advertising contract with Ford Motor Co.

      Alex also enjoyed taking part in 'Grand Prix', the national version of “A Song for Norway”as her 4 entries between 1980 and 1986 bear witness to. Further collaborations with Gulgowski and ABBA engineer
      Michael B. Tretow led to the singles “Stop All the Trains” and “Don't Break Down My Heart”, which were only released in Central and Eastern Europe.  This material was first performed at a  Ski World Championship television show in Seefeld, Austria in 1985.

      That same year saw Alex starting work on an album called “Overload” with former Sex Pistols member, the bassist Glen Matlock. This work resulted in more than 10 new recordings. The completion and release of this album (in co-operation with CBS/Sony) was put on hold due to Matlock's personal problems. <>

      While continually performing during the 1980's Alex became more and more involved in the production side of music on other artist's productions as well as her own. Having always been quick to spot new musical trends and new production ideas  Alex was soon became interested in the DJ culture, rap and hip-hop and a whole new way of creating music. In 1990 she performed at the
      DMC World  Championship. This at a time when most people within the Norwegian music business felt this type pf music was a fleeting trend with no future in Norway.

      After several requests from the public for a new album Alex was hesitated, opting instead to move to America,  closer to her musical roots where she soon started working on material with The Police guitarist
      Andy Summers. This in turn resulted in her release of her self-produced record “Almost” (Ventura Records 1991), a collaboration in California, and the album "Living In Color"  (MTG 1993) which was a collaboration with gospel legend Andrae Crouch who also contributed vocally. The material from the album was presented live on Norwegian cable, TV Norge.

      Alex name and trademark came  to the media's attention as the misuse of her logo  commenced in of 1992. The situation came to a head when employees of NRK,  the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, crossed the line  in 1996.  The NRK was consequently found guilty and sentenced by the Broadcasting Supervisory Board to pay compensation and to print an apology.

      After having had the privilege of working with so many talented and successful artists Alex created the company “Alex Music” to continue the work of creating and  exploring a medium which she has found so rewarding and which she  has excelled in.


      Alex produced and composed several projects for the Asian market (Japan). One of these projects , produced by Alex in collaboration with EMI/Toshiba was included on  the album “Dancemania” which sold over 1 million copies. Also artistically involved in the project was Alex's daughter Naomi, who contributed both lyrically and musically.

      When in 2004 NRK Brodacasting  started making the series “The History of Norwegian Rock”, Alex was surprisingly excluded. After a public comment on the website "Ballade", one of the largest Norwegian rock music debates was started on the net and in the media. Several other artists, journalists and other media-personalities joined in.

      Alex however, has not been forgotten by the rest of Europe and the UK, where Dj's such as Sidewinder, MC Alex Ferguson (UK) and DJ Masashi Osaku (Japan) are  re-discovering her work.

      In October 2008 Alex started the release of all her recordings, after record labels had waited up to 30 years in taking action. This happened on i.e. Itunes but also through the artist's own website. The occasion also launched brand new recordings and remixes, including the classic song "Home Is Where The Hatred Is." This recording also brought Alex and her old guitarplayer Bjørn "Krisa" Christiansen back in the studio where they recorded their hits and Grammy-winning songs more than 30 years earlier. The recordings also feature Atle Bakken , Colin McGeoch , David Fjelde og Petter Wettre.

      After more than 20 recordings under her own name and several soundtracks and compilations, featuring musical styles ranging from funk and pop to dance and techno a whole new generation is about to discover and experience the talent, and music of Alex.

      In addition, ALEX is also working on the project of her life, the documentary called "Siberiaks". Together with Polish historians, about a long and detailed historic background research for the movie.

    Entrepenørship og varemerket ALEX®

    Selve artistnavnet ALEX ble skapt av Jens Bjørneboe , og dedikert på hans bok "Kruttårnet" -"Til lille ALEX fra gamle Jens". ALEX ble den første kvinnelige artist i Norge som tok full kontroll over sin musikk, image, media bilde inkludert kopibeskyttelse av eget artistnavn, i en tidsperiode hvor styring fra kvinnesiden ikke var vanlig. Som en legitim stjerne og trendsetter innen musikk og mote, ble ALEX sitt hår ("Alex-hår" på folkemunne) og klesstil snart imitert vidstrakt.Og dannet grunnlaget for flere foretningsidéer, f.eks. frisørkjeden ALEX Creative Team. Som første norske talskvinne for bl.a. Helen Curtis Shampos, Norges Brannkasse forsikring og BASF media produkter, ble ALEXs navn, ansikt og senere varemerke klistret opp på Billboard plakater overalt. Denne nye innfallsvinkelen og senere trend som ALEX først eksemplifiserte, vakte også kritikk fra en artist bransje i sin kommersielle barndomstid.