Sandi Patty

Last updated
Sandi Patty
Sandi Patty cropped.jpg
Patty in 2006
Background information
Birth nameSandra Faye Patty
Also known asSandi Patti, Sandi Patti Helvering, Sandi Patty Peslis
Born (1956-07-12) July 12, 1956 (age 63)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
Genres Contemporary Christian, inspirational
Occupation(s)Singer, author, pianist
InstrumentsVoice, piano
Years active1978–present
Labels Milk & Honey, Impact, Word, INO, Stylos
Associated acts Bill Gaither, Larnelle Harris

Sandra Faye "Sandi" Patty (born July 12, 1956) is an American Christian music singer, known for her wide soprano vocal range [1] and expressive flexibility, which has led music critics to dub her "The Voice". [2]



Early life

Patty was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, into a family of musicians; her father was a minister of music, and her mother served as the church pianist. She first performed at the age of two when she sang "Jesus Loves Me" for her church, Phoenix First Church of God (Anderson, Indiana). First growing up in Phoenix, then San Diego, she and her brothers joined their parents in a performing group known as "The Ron Patty Family", and sang at churches nationwide during summer holidays. After graduating from Crawford High School in San Diego, she attended San Diego State University and Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, where she studied voice with soprano Greta Dominic, but graduated with an emphasis in conducting. While studying at Anderson University, she worked as a studio musician for area recording studios, singing background vocals and recording commercial jingles, including one for Juicy Fruit gum. [3] Her reputation as a performer and studio singer grew during the late 1970s, and it was during this time that she initiated contact with legendary Christian musician Bill Gaither.[ citation needed ]

Singing career

Patty recorded her first album, For My Friends, an independent effort, that landed in the hands of executives at Singspiration! records. In 1979, she was signed to Singspiration! and released her first professional record, Sandi's Song. According to the FAQ section on her website, the name on her birth certificate is Sandra Patty. [4] A printer's error on the labeling listed her name as Sandi Patti, and she used this moniker as her stage name for the next fifteen years before correcting it to Sandi Patty.

Patty's career expanded after she won her first two GMA Dove Awards in 1982 and began singing backup for Bill Gaither and the Bill Gaither Trio. She headlined her first national tour in 1984 and reached national acclaim after her rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" was included during the ABC Statue of Liberty re-dedication broadcast on July 6, 1986. This exposure led to multiple mainstream television appearances including The Tonight Show , Christmas in Washington, Walt Disney's Fourth of July Extravaganza, and the 1998 Pepsi 400; the clip was frequently used on television sign-offs for the remainder of their existence. She was invited to sing the national anthem at the Indianapolis 500 in 1987–88, 1990–92, and once again in 2013.

In 1990, Patty's inspirational single release, "I'll Give You Peace", [5] written by Constant Change aka Dawn Thomas and Thomas Yarbrough, was released on one of her most popular records, entitled, "Another Time, Another Place", which peaked at #2 on the Christian billboard charts. At the peak of her career, Patty's concerts were so heavily attended that she performed in often sold-out mainstream arenas and concert halls across the United States. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she averaged over 200 concerts a year and supported a staff of over 30 that managed her career. During this period of time Patty was noted, often critically, as the highest-paid singer in the Christian music industry averaging over $100,000 per appearance, largely due to massive touring and high-profile public appearances. [6]


In 1992, the news of Patty's divorce from manager John Helvering shocked the gospel music industry. The reason for the split was later revealed to be infidelity which subsequently stalled her career in the mid 1990s. It was later reported that during her marriage she had an extramarital affair with her backup singer, Don Peslis, who was also married at the time. Patty divorced Helvering in 1993 and married Peslis in August 1995. [7] Confronted with rumors of the affair just two weeks into her marriage with Peslis, Patty made a full confession to her church congregation. [8] During this time, Patty received support from national figure, Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip. He referenced her in a comic strip, and Patty is quoted in a recent spiritual biography of Schulz as having been touched by the gesture. [9]


Patty slowly rebuilt her career by expanding her musical appeal which included pop concert performances with symphony orchestras including the New York Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops, and the Dallas Symphony as well as headlining and hosting the Yuletide Celebration with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2015 under the direction of Maestro Jack Everly. Patty again hosted the extravaganza in December 2017.

In both interviews and in her autobiography, Broken on the Back Row, Patty expressed remorse and took full responsibility for her past actions, revealing the steps she took in seeking the forgiveness from those that her actions most affected. [10] [11]

In 2000, Patty had a guest singing appearance at the end of a 7th Heaven episode (season 4, episode 20). She appeared in the 2006 annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. A televised performance of Sandi Patty's Yuletide Special was filmed for syndication in 2006, with other performers—including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the U.S. Air Force Reserve Band.

In 2004, Patty was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and in 2007 was awarded the GMA Music in the Rockies Summit Award.

In May 2008, Patty released her 30th studio recording, Songs for the Journey, in which she covers classic hymns of the church and other modern gospel classics. 2008 also saw the release of five separate compilation recordings of past songs taken from previous albums. In 2009, Patty received two GMA Dove Award nominations: Female Vocalist of the Year, and Inspirational Album of the Year (Songs for the Journey).

Simply Sandi, an acoustic album, is the first solo project to be released on her own record label, Stylos Records (a label with three artists—Sandi, Ben Utecht, and Heather Payne). It was released on May 5, 2009. This album includes new renditions of some of Sandi's most beloved songs including "In Heaven's Eyes", "Via Dolorosa" and "The Stage is Bare". WEA Distribution is the distributor for Stylos Records, although this album is not being released commercially.

In Fall 2009, Patty released her first live Christmas album entitled Christmas: LIVE. The album includes live performances of her past Christmas favorites including "O Holy Night", "Someday", and a duet with her husband Don Peslis in "The Prayer".


In Fall 2010, Patty released The Edge of the Divine. The album featured eight new songs, including a duet with Heather Payne. A book of the same name was also released with the sub-title "Where Possibility Meets God's Faithfulness."

In October 2011, Patty released Broadway Stories which capitalized on Patty's pops concerts popularity. From iTunes Review: "Before Sandi Patty was a Christian music star, she developed her craft by performing stage standards and pop tunes from the Great American Songbook. Broadway Stories reaffirms her mastery of such material against gorgeous backdrops provided by the 64-piece Prague Symphony Orchestra. From the first track to the last, Patty shows an easy command of the Broadway idiom, applying her formidable pipes to material worthy of her talents."[ citation needed ]

In January, 2012, Patty starred as Dolly Levi in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's world premiere concert stage version of the Broadway musical, "Hello, Dolly!" to rave reviews.

In 2012 and 2013, Patty was a judge and mentor for the Songbook Academy, a summer intensive for high school students operated by the Great American Songbook Foundation and founded by Michael Feinstein. [12]

In 2015, Patty announced her retirement from touring, citing age and a desire to spend time with grandchildren. In 2016, Patty released Forever Grateful, an album of new and re-recorded material, and embarked on a farewell tour of the same title between February 2016 through March 2017. She is currently the Artist in Residence at Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City, OK.

In 2020, Patty announced she had tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). She released a video urging her fans to take the disease seriously and practice social distancing, handwashing, etc., adding, "This is NOT fake news!" [13]

Style and voice

Patty is known for her wide vocal range, flexibility, and emotional expression. In her early recordings, she created a trademark for herself by exploiting her range to its fullest advantage, through the "power ballad" vehicle, sweeping orchestral gestures, and a series of key modulations building to a crescendo and signature high vocal ending.

This style, often defined as "Inspirational" within the genre of Christian music, flourished throughout the 1980s, and influenced a range of additional CCM artists including Steve Green, Larnelle Harris, and Karla Worley. In later years, Patty's versatility has allowed her to expand into other styles, such as black gospel, southern gospel, classic and modern pop, and American musical theater. On her official website, she discusses her range saying "To be honest, my range has changed a bit over the years but my mom says it’s about four octaves (F below middle C to high F above double high C; F3 - F6). Really, singing high is just like screaming on pitch."

Personal life

In 2009, Patty and her family relocated from Anderson, Indiana, to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She is married to Don Peslis. As a blended family, they have eight children and three grandchildren. [14]

Patty has supported charities such as Charity Music Inc. [15] [16]



  • 1985: Inspirational Favorites
  • 1989: The Finest Moments (contains one new song)
  • 1992: Hallmark Christmas: Celebrate Christmas!
  • 1994: Quiet Reflections
  • 1996: Hallmark Christmas: It's Christmas! Sandi Patty & Peabo Bryson
  • 2005: Duets
  • 2006: The Voice of Christmas
  • 2007: The Definitive Collection
  • 2008: Gospel Greats
  • 2008: Via Dolorosa: Songs of Redemption
  • 2008: A Mother's Prayer: Songs that Inspire a Mother's Heart
  • 2008: Quiet Hearts: Songs of Restful Peace for Women
  • 2008: Let There Be Praise
  • 2009: Duets 2
  • 2011: The Best of Sandi Patty from the Gaither Homecoming Series
  • 2012: The Voice of Christmas, Volume 2
  • 2012: Rarities
  • 2014: Ultimate Collection, Volume 1
  • 2014: Ultimate Collection, Volume 2


Awards and nominations

Grammy Awards

YearCategoryNominated workResult
1984 Best Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group "More Than Wonderful" (with Larnelle Harris)Won
Best Gospel Performance, Female The Gift Goes On (album)Nominated
1985Songs from the HeartNominated
1986Best Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group"I've Just Seen Jesus" (with Larnelle Harris)Won
Best Gospel Performance, FemaleHymns Just For You (album)Nominated
1987Best Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group"They Say" (with Deniece Williams)Won
Best Gospel Performance, FemaleMorning Like This (album)Won
1989"Almighty God"Nominated
1990"Forever Friends"Nominated
1991 Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album Another Time... Another PlaceWon
1994Le VoyageNominated
1996Find It On the WingsNominated

GMA Dove Awards

YearCategoryNominated workResult
1983 Inspirational Album Lift Up the LordWon
1984Inspirational AlbumMore Than WonderfulWon
1985 Inspirational Album Songs from the HeartWon
1987Inspirational AlbumMorning Like ThisWon
1988Song of the Year"In the Name of the Lord"Won
1989 Inspirational Album Make His Praise GloriousWon
1989Inspirational Song"In Heaven’s Eyes"Won
1989Children's AlbumThe Friendship CompanyWon
1989Instrumental AlbumA Symphony of PraiseWon
1989Choral CollectionSandi Patty Choral PraiseWon
1991Inspirational AlbumAnother Time, Another PlaceWon
1991Pop/Contemporary Song"Another Time, Another Place"Won
1992Short-Form Music Video"Another Time, Another Place"Won
1992Children's AlbumOpen for Business (The Friendship Company)Won
1992Inspirational Song"For All the World"Won
1994 Short-Form Music Video "Hand on My Shoulder"Won
1995Female VocalistFemale Vocalist of the YearNominated
1995Inspirational AlbumFind It on the WingsWon
1996Special Event AlbumMy Utmost for His Highest (various artists)Won
1998Special Event AlbumGod with Us – A Celebration of Christmas Carols & Classics (various artists)Won
1998 Inspirational Album Artist of My SoulWon
1999 Long-Form Music Video My Utmost for His Highest (various artists)Won
1999 Spanish Language Album Libertad de Mas (tie)Won
2002Long-Form Music VideoAll The Best...Live!Nominated
2004 Inspirational Album Take Hold of Christ Nominated
2005Inspirational AlbumHymns of Faith...Songs of InspirationNominated
2008Female VocalistFemale Vocalist of the YearNominated
2008 Inspirational Album Falling ForwardNominated
2009 Inspirational Album Songs for the JourneyNominated
2011 Inspirational Album The Edge of the DivineWon
2014Inspirational AlbumEverlastingNominated
2016Children's AlbumSweet DreamsNominated

Related Research Articles

Amy Grant American musician

Amy Lee Grant is an American singer, songwriter, musician, author and media personality. She is known for performing contemporary Christian music (CCM) and for a successful crossover to pop music in the 1980s and 1990s. She has been referred to as "The Queen of Christian Pop".

Steven Curtis Chapman American Christian music singer-songwriter, record producer, actor, author, and social activist

Steven Curtis Chapman is an American contemporary Christian music singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, author, and social activist.

Kristin Chenoweth American actress, singer and author

Kristin Dawn Chenoweth is an American actress and singer, with credits in musical theatre, film and television. In 1999, she won a Tony Award for her performance as Sally Brown in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown on Broadway. In 2003, Chenoweth received wide notice for originating the role of Glinda in the musical Wicked, including a nomination for another Tony. Her television roles have included Annabeth Schott in NBC's The West Wing and Olive Snook on the ABC comedy-drama Pushing Daisies, for which she won a 2009 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She also starred in the ABC TV series GCB in 2012.

Southern gospel music is a genre of Christian music. Its name comes from its origins in the Southeastern United States whose lyrics are written to express either personal or a communal faith regarding biblical teachings and Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music. Sometimes known as "quartet music" for its traditional "four men and a piano" set up, southern gospel has evolved over the years into a popular form of music across the United States and overseas, especially among baby boomers and those living in the Southern United States. Like other forms of music the creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of southern gospel varies according to culture and social context. It is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, or as an entertainment product for the marketplace.

Bill Gaither (gospel singer) American musician

William James Gaither is an American singer and songwriter of Southern gospel and contemporary Christian music. He has written numerous popular Christian songs with his wife Gloria; he is also known for performing as part of the Bill Gaither Trio and the Gaither Vocal Band (GVB). In the 1990s, his career gained a resurgence, as popularity grew for the Gaither Homecoming series.

Sylvia McNair is an American opera singer and classical recitalist who has also achieved notable success in the Broadway and cabaret genres. McNair, a soprano, has made several critically acclaimed recordings and has won two Grammy Awards.

Larnelle Harris American musician

Larnelle Steward Harris is an American gospel singer and songwriter. During his 40-plus years of ministry, Harris has recorded 18 albums, won five Grammy Awards and 11 Dove Awards, and has had several number one songs on the inspirational music charts.

Steve Green (singer) contemporary Christian and gospel musician

Steve Green is an American Christian music singer, notable for his tenor vocal range and flexible solo style. Over his 35-year career, Green has been honored as a four-time Grammy Award nominee, seven-time Dove Award winner and was inducted in to the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2017. He has had 13 No. 1 songs, and has sold over three million albums.

Russ Taff American musician

Russell Taff is an American gospel singer and songwriter. He has sung a variety of musical styles throughout his career including: pop rock, traditional southern gospel, contemporary country music, and rhythm and blues. He first gained recognition as lead vocalist for the Imperials (1976–81). One of his best-known performances is the song "Praise the Lord". He has also been a member of the Gaither Vocal Band, and occasionally tours with Bill Gaither in the Gaither Homecoming concerts. As a solo artist and songwriter, Taff is known for the 1980s anthem "We Will Stand".

Gloria Gaither American gospel songwriter, author & scholar

Gloria Gaither is a Christian songwriter, author, speaker, editor, and academic. She is the wife of Bill Gaither and together they have written more than 700 songs. She performed, traveled and recorded with the Bill Gaither Trio from 1965 through 1991. Since 1991, she has served as a performer, recording artist, songwriter, scriptwriter and narrator for the Gaither Homecoming series of television broadcasts, video and DVD releases, and audio recordings.

The Cathedral Quartet, also known as the Cathedrals, was an American southern gospel quartet who performed from 1964 to December 1999. The group's final lineup consisted of Glen Payne (lead), George Younce (bass), Ernie Haase (tenor), Scott Fowler, and Roger Bennett.

Dottie Rambo Gospel music singer-songwriter

Dottie Rambo was an American gospel singer and songwriter. She was a Grammy and multiple Dove Award-winning artist. Along with husband Buck and daughter Reba, she formed the award-winning southern Gospel group, The Rambos. She wrote more than 2,500 songs, including her most notable, "He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need", "We Shall Behold Him", and "I Go To the Rock".

Christiane Noll American singer and actress

Christiane Noll is an American singer and actress known for her work in musicals and on the concert stage. She is perhaps best known for originating the role of Emma Carew in Frank Wildhorn's Jekyll & Hyde, as well as her roles in Urinetown and Ragtime.

Jason Crabb American musician

Jason Douglas Crabb is a Christian music singer and musician. He has been the lead vocalist for the group The Crabb Family.

David Phelps (musician) American musician

David Norris Phelps is an American Christian music vocalist, songwriter and vocal arranger, who is best known for singing tenor in the Gaither Vocal Band. He has also released several solo albums, including four Christmas collections. On January 13, 2008, Phelps appeared on Extreme Makeover Home Edition for the Woodhouse family.

Jack Everly is an American conductor who serves as Principal Pops Conductor with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and National Arts Centre Orchestra as well as Music Director for the Symphonic Pops Consortium.

39th GMA Dove Awards

The 39th Annual GMA Dove Awards presentation was held on April 23, 2008 recognizing accomplishments of musicians for the year 2007. The show was held at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee.

Reba Rambo is an American Christian singer and songwriter. She is a Grammy and Dove Award winner.

Alyson Cambridge is an American operatic soprano. In addition to opera, she sings classical song, jazz, and American songbook and popular song. She is also known for her work as a model, actress, and host.

42nd GMA Dove Awards

The 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards presentation was held on April 20, 2011, at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. The show was broadcast on GMC on April 24, 2011, hosted by Sherri Shepherd from The Newlywed Game.


  1. Jones, Kenneth. “Sandi Patty will sing Hello Dolly!...”. Playbill. 19 October 2011.
  2. "Review of Yuletide Joy". Archived from the original on October 28, 2006.
  3. MrClassicAds1970s (2011-04-14), Juicy Fruit Chewing Gum commercial 1979 , retrieved 2017-08-04
  4. "Sandi Patty - Frequently Asked Questions". Archived from the original on May 13, 2007.
  5. "Discogs Login". Retrieved 2019-07-04.
  6. Don., Cusic (1988). Sandi Patti : the voice of gospel (1st ed.). New York: Doubleday. ISBN   9780385243537. OCLC   16900959.
  7. Morgan, Timothy C. "Sandi Patty Stages Comeback". Christianity Today. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  8. Long, James. "The Art of Forgiveness". Todays Christian Music. Archived from the original on 4 May 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  9. Lind, Stephen J. "A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz" Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2015
  10. Eric Reed. "The Long Road Home". Christianity Today.
  11. Dan Wooding. "Second Chances".
  12. Retrieved 21 July 2015
  14. Hunsberger, Maryann B. "The Road Home". Christianity Today International. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  17. "Sandi Patty - Written Works". Archived from the original on February 23, 2007.
  18. "Sandi Patty To Release Companion Book And CD Projects 'The Edge Of The Divine'". Archived from the original on June 28, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2013.