Wednesday, January 7, 2009

R.I.P. Sandeé, freestyle legend

Sandra Tola Harvey (née Casañas, died December 15, 2008), professionally known as Sandeé, was an American freestyle music vocalist and an original member of the trio Exposé from 1984 to 1986, along with Alejandra "Alé" Lorenzo and Laurie Miller.

As a solo artist, Sandeé released the singles "You're the One" and "Notice Me" (produced by C + C Music Factory), and an album, Only Time Will Tell, featuring the single "Love Desire". "You're the One" peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Single Sales in 1987 and "Notice Me" peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in 1989. She performed at many freestyle events and dance clubs up until her death on December 15, 2008.

Despite rumors about her death, the cause of death has yet to be determined until the autopsy report has come in.

The Original Exposé

Sandeé - "Love Desire" - Her Debut Video from the "Only Time Will Tell" Lp

Born Sandra Mercedes Zeno on the lower east side of Manhattan, Sandra left New York at the age of 9 when her family moved to Florida where she later attended McArthur High School. Determined to make it on her own, she left home, got married, and had a son by the age of 17. She worked as a clerical assistant at a pediatrians office, which gave her "good medical care" for her son , she laugh's.

Then something happened that changed her life......

"I hadn't been thinking about the music business, you know?" said Sandra. "Then one night I was hanging out with some friends at a club called "Lime Light" in Hollywood Florida, and we were playing "Truth Or Dare". So of course me, I have to choose the Dare, then one of my friends dared me to go up and sing with the house band which was from Canada, I decided to take them up on it and I asked them If they knew "Last Dance" by Donna Summer? They said yes & I got up on the stage and the crowd went wild."

It must have been a part of God's plan, because a friend of producer (Lewis Martineé) was in the audience, he approached Sandra about a girl group that they were putting together and he wanted her to audition. Sandra decided to give it a shot and was chosen to be one of three girls that formed the famous group "X-posed", which was later changed to "Exposé" by Arista when they were picked up. "It was less risqué, They felt it was too provacative, and if we added the accent, It somehow became more Classy"

"We were on a promotional tour when we got this call from "Dave Jurman", "You've just landed a record deal with Arista, he said". I remember Alé, Laurie and I were screaming and jumping around in the lobby of this radio station in Los Angeles, California. "We finally got what we worked so hard for" said Tola. Exposé then opened up for "Miami Sound Machine" on the 1984-85 "Primative Love Tour". "I remember doing this gig in Venezuela, we were on the side of this cliff and the Oceanic View was our backdrop, It was amazing. We also performed "Conga" with the Miami Sound Machine, It was something I'll never forget! In fact there is footage of us doing that show".

Sandra got the opportunity to sing on two of Exposé's hit singles "Point of No Return" (which reached the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Dance Chart in 1985 and was later named "Dance Record of the Year") and also "Exposed to Love" (which also charted well). That led to headline engagements and an extensive tour though-out Canada and the United States. Touring with such great acts as Erotic Exotic (Exposé's live backup band for all you fan's), Stacey Q, The Flirts, and Trans X.

After recording her vocals for the Exposure Lp, and some turmoil within Management, Sandra had her heart set on a solo career. Contrary to belief, Sandra left Exposé to release her own music. "It was fun while it lasted, but to an extent. Everything was controlled.... makeup, costumes. It was more like Military School", said Tola. "It limited my talent, and I got scolded if I let myself go on stage. Exposé members were to only greet the audience and sing the songs, It was like the Supremes.... or the Pointer Sister's. Its different if you own your own name".

She owns her name today, that name being "Sandeé" (Pro-nounced SAN-DAY) "Being a Solo Artist, It's the same amount of work, but it's less stressful! (you can hear her background vocals all over the Exposure Lp)

Sandeé's first outing was with Producer "Avy Gonzales" whom penned the Hot Track "You're the One (My Heart Beats For)" with his own East/West Records and Co-Distrubuted by Atlantic Records in 1987. It hit No. 17 on the National Dance Music Charts. Tola appeared on TBS's "U.S.A Dance Party" (A Soul Train-style based television program) and performed the track with great response from the audience.

She then went on with that same formula and tossed us the "Awesome" drum-driven and synth-licked track entitled "Alway's Beside Me". "I had alot of fun doing this track, Avy was a dream and The Adlibs are too die for!!!. "Alway's Beside Me" went on to top the charts for more than 10 weeks and established her as one of the premiere solo artists on the dance-pop scene.

Her Third single "Notice Me", which was released on Fever Records was written and produced by C&C Music Factory's "Robert Clivilles & David Cole". It entered the charts at No.32 and sold over 100,000 copies in New York City alone. The house version of "Notice Me" also went on to explode in the club scene. Sandeé once again did a promo tour and stopped by TBS's "U.S.A Dance Party", this time "Tearing the Roof Off" performing the hit song "Notice Me".

Sandeé was on a successful tour with Menudo, Sweet Sensation, The Cover Girls, Denise Lopez, Stevie B. and Pajama Party in 1988-89. Not long after the release of "Notice Me", Sandeé signed a record deal with Columbia Records, and went to New York to record her first full-length Lp.

With recording complete, The fourth single from Sandeé and the Debut off her "Only Time Will Tell" Lp was titled "Love Desire". A Hot & Sultry track which went on to top the pop and R&B charts along with her Video. This then led to a national tour opening up for Jeffery Osboune and Surface, and later for Tony, Toni, Tone!

Unlike many artist's with dance hits, Sandeé used a live band and refuse's to lip-sync when in concert. She also does not like being labeled as a freestyle/dance artist. "Im also crossing over into pop, and I do R&B as well.....I also sing Spanish."

After much touring and a hectic lifestyle, Sandeé decided to take some time off to reflect on her life and focus on what was most important to her and that was her family....

Well, several years have gone by and Sandeé is now back, Stronger than ever and with a story to tell. "You never know what obstacles you may have to face in life," she says. "But as long as you overcome them and learn from them, they are well worth it." ** Affirmation: Tough times never last, tough people do.



  1. Wow, that sucks ass. Wonder how she passed?

  2. yeah,it is so sad!

  3. your taking the point of no return..... z- cavarchi's........

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