Sources: CCM – By Andy Argyrakis| All Things Michael
Special extended BONUS material from the CCM Magazine exclusive interview with Sandra Crouch, by Andy Argyrakis. CLICK HERE to read the main portion of the interview, featured in the April 1, 2015 edition of CCM Magazine.
CCM: How did it work logistically when you were collaborating and touring so frequently with Andraé but also releasing solo records?
Sandra: It was so funny. My records did well. He would say “Sandra, okay, you can do a couple of dates, but you have to come back and be with me.” He always won. He would look so pitiful, like one of those little Doberman Pinchers, and I’d say, “Okay, Andraé.” I won a GRAMMY and he ran up there before I did and exclaimed, “My sister!” While I was trying to say something over the microphone on stage he would interrupt and answer for me! But we were twins and we were just really inseparable. We did everything together. He did some touring without me, but I was mainly with him from the start until the end.
CCM: Didn’t you also have some involvement as a session player with Motown?
Sandra: A friend of mine named Frank Wilson was the producer at Motown and he used to come to the church. We were great friends and he’d say, “Sandra, I want you to play on one of my productions that I’m doing.” So I said “okay,” played on one and then Barry Gordy heard me. He liked using the same people, so I don’t know how many projects I played on, but some of them included Diana Ross & The Supremes, Diana’s solo projects, The Temptations, and I played on Michael Jackson’s demo when Diana Ross presented him. I did the Motown thing for at least five or six years straight, and then from Motown, I did some pop and rock stuff. It was a whole genre of music that the Lord blessed me just to be a part of. I’ve also played percussion—even on some things for films and really enjoyed it because I got a chance to meet a lot of people. And then from that, I introduced Andraé to Michael Jackson and Diana Ross and then the rest became history. I enjoyed that. I loved doing sessions.
CCM: So were you on all those classic records alongside Andraé, like Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror?”
Sandra: I directed the choir. Andraé would say, “Sandra, I want to do…” and just start mumbling. That is the way he arranged things. And I’d go, “Oh, okay,” because I could understand what his mumbling meant. When you’re with somebody that long, you can understand what the mumbling means word for word. He would go into the booth and I would direct the choir, then he’d come out and say, “I’ve got another idea.” He’d go back in the booth with Michael and I would complete it. If he was directing, I would sit down. If I was directing, he would sit down. We would just trade off. We did that all our lives. He’d say, “I’ve got an idea and my sister will finish it up” and I’d say, “Okay” and he’d go sit down.
Let me tell you more about that song. [One day during the “Man In The Mirror sessions] we were in the parking lot and Andraé said, “Sandra, I’ve got an idea. Tell all the singers not to leave.” I said, “They’re getting in their cars, Andraé!” He said, “Tell them ‘don’t leave!’” We ran back in the studio and said “Michael, Andraé’s got another idea. He wants to put another little thing on it. Michael said, [in his high-pitched voice] “Do whatever you want to.” So everybody went back into the studio and they did [the song’s signature choral chat] “Yeah, yeah-make that change.” That’s the part that wasn’t there in the beginning, but added that at the end after Andraé’s last-minute suggestion. He just would keep singing little things and that’s how that happened. Michael was a dear friend. He was a really dear guy and we loved him a lot.
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