Regina music veteran given award at Canadian Music Week

Sandy Pandya is being honoured during Canadian Music Week in Toronto for her work as an artist manager.

Sandy Pandya got her start in the music business booking acts in Regina

Sandy Pandya is being honoured during Canadian Music Week in Toronto for her work as an artist manager. (Pandyamonium Management/Submitted)

Sandy Pandya's talent for finding great musicians goes all the way back to the 1980s when she was booking bands like Love and Rockets at Café A Gogo in Regina.

Pandya remembers the band were all vegetarians so they had vegetarian food catered.

"But at one point I started talking to them and they're like, 'We love Indian food,' and I was like, 'Do you want to go to my mom and dad's house?'" Pandya told Shauna Powers on CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend.

"It was the craziest thing. Imagine a band like Love and Rockets, they're sitting at my mom and dad's (place). My mom and dad are whipping up all this Indian food. That was pretty special."

Pandya has come a long way from those days at the cafe where she worked with her sister Gogo.

Pandya, who had been studying psychology at the University of Regina, would eventually make her way to Toronto working her way up in the music business.

Today she runs a boutique style artist management company called Pandyamonium Management, with big names on her roster like Serena Ryder and Dear Rouge.

Serena Ryder is this year's headliner for the Kingsville Folk Festival. (Submitted by Sedona Communications)

On Tuesday Pandya her work is being honoured with an award during Canadian Music Week in Toronto. She's been named this year's recipient of the Honor Roll award.

Pandya recalls another time when Natalie Merchant was in Regina when her tour was canceled. So they had her play at the cafe for seven straight nights.

"Every show was sold out, so that was beautiful.".

Pandya said Regina was a great place to learn the ropes.

"Every artist that came in there, it was incredible to see a lineup. Every show was sold out, no matter if you'd heard of them or not," she said. "I really give a thumbs up to the people there that had great taste in Regina and came out to really support us."

Her first band to personally manage was Saskatchewan's The Waltons.

She had come home to Regina for Christmas and caught the band's act.

"I just couldn't believe what I was witnessing," she said. 'First (they were) really great guys and such cutie pies up there. And then to hear this voice out of this guy was like, this is incredible.

"I'd never really managed a band, so they were my very first love."

Some of the lessons she learned in Regina still influence her decisions today, she said.

One is to always treat the audience with respect.

For example, when people were lined up outside for a show in Regina, she would go out and hand out samosas or water.

The Waltons were the first band Sandy Pandya managed.

"That's just something we had learned (from our parents) growing up," she said.

"That's one of the biggest things that I still carry with me.

"In shows that we do for our artists, I always make sure the security is being respectful to the audience whether it's Serena's audience, whether it's the Waltons, whoever."

Besides managing musicians, Pandya and Ryder have recently set up another media company called The ArtHaus.

She said the focus is on helping young artists in all types of artistic endeavours.

"We want to be able to help young artists whether it's through songwriting or whether it's because they need a studio or whether they want some management advice," Pandya said. "Our goal is to really help usher and nurture the future of these artists.

"We really want to just help nurture and foster some of the really young up and coming talent in not just music but photography (and) video."

Pandya said Tuesday's award is something she will always cherish.

"I'm just so so honoured and full of gratitude, deep gratitude.

"It means a lot because it's coming from my own community."