Of Puerto Rican heritage and New York upbringing Sandy was exposed to a vibrant and colourful hybrid of sounds, sights and characters - all of which the young Mr Rivera soaked up and used to form his tapestry of musical preferences. He began playing records at just 13 years old and infused his Latino influence with tougher New York hip hop beats. Ever the entrepreneur, a 17 year old Sandy held parties in his house, DJ'ed himself all night and charged people for the pleasure to get in! Soon he found the desire to produce music. He felt he could do it on his own rather than go through a record label. So, armed with all the right intentions and not a lot else off he went and made some hip hop tracks. He produced for Big Pun as part of Full Eclipse - this ended up in the hands of chart legend Fat Joe. Soon after that Sandy decided to concentrate his efforts on house music.
On his first musical forays Sandy comments "Chic, Patrick Adams, jazz-funk, rock, electro and hip-hop, it was all intertwined, you could play Run DMC the Cover Girls and Information Society in one take, that was the music in the ghetto – and it was everything'" he remembers. "I just fell into it. I was a street kid and the whole DJ thing started with the old cheap belt drive turntables. So I started Djing, I was always the kid up late at night, headphones on with the tape deck, recording radio shows and editing them".
And so in 1994 he launched Blackwiz Records funded partly through a publishing deal with, bizarrely, Burt Bacharach and set up another imprint called Deep Vision. This helped confirm his burgeoning reputation as a sonic innovator. He spent time training as a pianist, so he could understand and control his music; today plays most of his own keys on his tracks.
In 1997 he released his first long player 'The Calling' which featured Sandy's vocals. Something of a learning curve, Sandy used 'The Calling' as a playing field, honing his craft and learning his art. A second album followed 'It's in the Lifestyle' under the Kings of Tomorrow moniker. It features some of his most commercially successful tracks to date including the cross-over club stormer 'Finally' and 'Young Hearts', amongst others.
After doing the rounds on the dance floor for a couple of years 'Finally' became an anthem of the early noughties. A gold-plated house music anthem which picked up a clutch of gongs, including a Pacha Award for Best Ibiza Tune and a Muzik magazine award for Tune of the Year. While 'Young hearts' featured on UK TV commercials.
His third artist album 'Trouble' came out in early 2005 and saw a deeper side to Sandy and by this point he had moved to London. This was a 100% original, sample free album and featured a mixture of styles including the r&B and soul infused 'Changes' all the way though to the dark, techy moodiness of 'London Fog' (inspired by a particularly memorable session at DC10.) The fusion of styles is not surprising when you consider the album was recorded in London, New York, California and Malaysia and Sandy himself admits to being a product of his environment.
Of 'Trouble' Sandy says "I'm trying to be a house producer who makes people stop and listen, as well as dance."
With three artist albums under his belt Sandy put his vast collection of music to good use on various compilations including: Ministry of Sound Sessions / Kings of Tomorrow, Defected ITH # 2 / Sandy Rivera, plus the new Renaissance compilation – Master Series 8, released September 2006. On the remixing front artists to get the Sandy attention include Craig David with 'All the Way', Wahoo 'Shake It', UFO feat. Dee Dee Bridgewater 'Flying Saucer', Moby 'In My Heart' and Fedde La Grand 'Take No Shh' amongst others.
Record after record has followed, many firing a bullet right to the heart of the club charts. These cuts include The Committee's, 'Scream and Shout', Soulvision's 'Don't Stop, Terry Callier's 'I Don't Wanna See' and the all club stomper - 'I Can't Stop'. One of the most notable is workings under the Soul Vision guise - 'Come Into My Room' was a vocal production featuring the singer LT Brown and its music quickly found its way on to a bootleg mash-up overlaying the track with the vocal from Everything But The Girl's 'Wrong'; the resulting 'Tracey In My Room' grew into the dance floor phenomenon of 2001.
His presence on the stage impressed as much as his presence in the studio and Sandy saw his DJ schedule rocket, now referring himself a 'citizen of the world' Sandy is regularly in a handful of countries each and every week. Part of his success is due to his diversity when playing. Ask Sandy to describe his style and he'll say '@#%%$$^', literally.
Sandy's ability to play tough, techy and minimal on any given day and soulful funk the next has made him a captivating and diverse force to be reckoned with.
New for 2007 and Sandy has been singing on various tracks including 'I Wanna' with Red Eleven and the massive chart hit 'Lollipop' with Matt Schwartz.
On the album front, he has produced an album for the talented singer Haze (who featured on the Trouble album) which will be out around June. And Sandy's follow up artist album aptly named 'The Night' will be released late 2007 which features his vocal talents on various tracks as well as showcasing new singers.
New for 2007 and Sandy has been singing on various tracks including 'I Wanna' with Red Eleven and the massive chart hit 'Lollipop' with Matt Schwartz (Dada). His latest releases include the massive club track 'FREAK' with Haze (Blackwiz / Defected) and 'Get It Back' featuring Rae. His latest remix was for Skwerl 'All Woman' out on Defected in August.
On the album front, he has produced an album for the talented singer Haze (who featured on the Trouble album) which will be out later this year. And Sandy's follow up artist album aptly named 'The Night' will be released early 2008 which features his vocal talents on various tracks as well as showcasing new singers.
There is also an all new website www.sandyrivera.dj