Born Sandi Patty on July 12, 1956, in Oklahoma City, OK; daughter of Ron Patty (a minister of music); married John Helvering (a recording agent); divorced; married Don Peslis; children: Anna, Jennifer, John, Erin; stepmother to Peslis's four children. Education: Attended San Diego State University; Anderson College, B.A., 1979. Addresses: Record company--Word Records, 25 Music Sq., W. Nashville, TN 37203; website: http://www.wordrecords.com. Agent--William Morris Agency, 2100 West End, Ste. 1000, Nashville, TN 37203.

Sandi Patty has been called "The Voice" of contemporary Christian music. Gifted with a tremendous vocal talent that lends itself to a wide range of expression, Patty has enjoyed a diverse musical career. From ballads to pop to distinctive renditions of traditional gospel music, Patty bridges the gap between the secular and Christian worlds and ministers to her wide audience in a unique way. She has won five Grammy Awards and 39 Dove Awards.

Born on July 12, 1956, Patty made her singing debut at the tender age of two while singing "Jesus Loves Me" in church. Her vocal gift, apparent even then, increased dramatically over the years, and she soon performed regularly at small gospel churches around the country with her two younger brothers in the family singing group, the Ron Patty Family. As a young adult, she studied voice at San Diego State University before transferring to Anderson College in Indiana to major in music. While at Anderson, Patty earned money as a backup singer doing jingles for Juicy Fruit gum and met her future husband, John Helvering. It was Helvering who proved instrumental in encouraging Patty to perform and made arrangements for her to record a custom album entitled For My Friends. Her name was misspelled "Patti" on the album, and she used that version of her name professionally for many years. After hearing the album, a recording executive offered her a contract in 1979. There was no stopping "The Voice" then. Sandi's Song, Patty's first contractual release, appeared in 1979 and was followed by a number of personal appearances which spread the word of her music ministry nationwide. In 1980, Patty and her husband put together a small tour, quickly realizing that music was becoming far more than a part-time occupation. When she was asked to sing backup for the Bill Gaither Trio, Patty became convinced that her future lay in the music field. Her 1982 album Lift Up the Lord, a tightly produced and distinctly contemporary-sounding Christian album, won two Dove awards and featured such outstanding songs as the lively title track and "How Majestic Is Your Name," balanced against such balladic powerhouses as "They Could Not." Her 1983 album Sandi Patty Live: More Than Wonderful, certified gold in 1985, garnered additional Dove awards and a Grammy for best gospel performance. Subsequent albums have been nominated for musical awards each year, and Patty was named Billboard 's Inspirational Artist of the Year for four years in a row.

Patty's first major solo tour occurred in 1984 with concerts in the one hundred largest cities in the United States. The tour corresponded with the release of the Songs From the Heart album and drew more than half a million fans, confirming once again her position as the leading figure in popular Christian music. Her 1986 album Morning Like This earned her another Grammy, as did her duet with Deniece Williams on the song "They Say." As a whole, Morning Like This offers a striking musical balance: the title track embraces the mystery and joyful declaration of Easter morning, while the single "Love in Any Language" reaches well beyond the varying sects in Christendom; hand-clapping, foot-stomping favorites such as "Hosanna" and "Let There Be Praise" complement the inspirational moments of songs like "In the Name of the Lord."

Striving to keep pace with changes in musical tastes while not disappointing fans who had begun to equate her with operatic high C's and ringing, emotional crescendos, Patty blazed new trails with her 1988 album, Make His Praise Glorious. Still present here are hallmark ballads such as "In Heaven's Eyes" and powerhouse hits like "No Other Name," but the popular "Love Will Be Our Home" contains rocklike guitar licks--something fans might not have expected. Other departures are evident in the catchy "Come Let Us Worship," which found favor with fans of electronic percussion, and "Someone Up There Loves Me," featuring heavy brass aimed at jazz buffs.

Patty's broad appeal as a performer is not hard to understand. Her tremendous vocal talent bridges the gap between her Christian audience and the secular world. ABC-TV included her inspirational recording of "The Star Spangled Banner" during its Liberty Weekend Celebration, and NBC-TV invited her to participate in the network's Christmas in Washington special with former U.S. president Ronald Reagan. She has also performed on numerous daily television programs, including The Tonight Show, The Today Show, and Good Morning America, on specials such as the Grammy Awards show and the CBS special We the People, at the 1988 Republican National Convention, and at the opening ceremonies of the 1988 presidential inauguration. In addition, after four years of planning, Patty released Sandi Patty and the Friendship Company in 1989, a children's album that is destined to become a classic.

Patty continued to sing, tour, and record, but in 1992, personal difficulties sidelined her career. During a separation from her husband, John Helvering, she had an extramarital affair with Don Peslis, whom she later married after divorcing Helvering. Although this would not affect the careers of most musicians, in the world of Christian music, the scandal cost her listeners. For the next several years, she went through counseling and reconciliation with her church, as well as with the Christian press and her fans. Although some continued to boycott her music, many fans eventually returned to support her. In 1997, Patty told Susan Hogan-Albach in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, "I've been dealing with it as truthfully and honestly and openly as I can." She added, "I think my experiences can be a source of encouragement for others. Life is not perfect, and we're all going to make mistakes, but God will still love us. That's my message." Iin 2000, Patty told Tim Harlow in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, "Living on the other side of a difficult time in life, God is giving me another chance." Realistically, she told Julia Duin in the Washington Times, "I am sure there are fans who will never buy my music again. That is a loss."

In February of 2004, Patty was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Also in 2004, Patty considered taking her career in another direction when she decided to run for a position on the school board in her home town of Anderson, Indiana. She told Robyn-Denise Yourse in the Washington Times, "My passion is the schools and I want to be part of something that will be good for the community." However, a month later, she dropped out of the race, realizing that her career in music would not give her enough time to devote to the position if she won.

Despite her national exposure as a performer, Patty remains refreshingly sincere and unchanged. Her dedication remains with the Lord and to her husband and four children. The music, in all its excitement, remains a ministry. As she noted in People: "I don't tell people 'You have to believe this,' but rather, 'Hey, the things that Jesus taught and continues to teach flat out work, and this is where I've been and learned and maybe it fits where you're at right now.' Music is a powerful tool. We should use it to help shape positive values." Perhaps what makes Sandi Patty's work so accessible and successful is her sincerity. Most critics agree that Patty's ability to cross musical boundaries and spread the Christian word to a wide and varied audience will insure her longevity in the field.

by Meg Mac Donald and Kelly Winters

Sandi Patty's Career

Christian music singer and recording artist, 1979--. Has toured throughout the United States.

Sandi Patty's Awards

Thirty-nine Dove awards for gospel artist, female vocalist, and inspirational album of the year, all from the Gospel Music Association, 1982-90; Grammy awards for best gospel performance of a duo or group, 1984, 1986, and 1987. best gospel performance, female, 1987, and best pop gospel album, 1991; named inspirational artist of the year by Billboard magazine, 1986-89; inducted into Gospel Music Hall of Fame, 2004.

Famous Works

Further Reading

Sources

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Visitor Comments Add a comment…

almost 2 years ago

Loved your concert in Anderson tonight.what a wonderful lady!so happy to now have your autograph and I had my picture taken. With you.we are truly blessed with our adopted children.my daughter is now 38.enjoyed your beautiful talent.you are beautiful.thank you for a wonderful evening.

almost 2 years ago

hey sandi id love to be able to sing lik,e you you rock litterally

almost 2 years ago

My sister Colleen and I have sang all your music since your accompaniment tapes came out. We have sang in evangelistic crusades and all forms of ministry. Your music has changed my life ever since I first heard it. Then with your testimony and your sharing your failed marriage and all that went with it I really felt a connection again as my marriage failed that same year. There are certain things in our lives as christians that minister, strengthen and cause us to "hold On" in the most difficult circumstances even when the "church" as we know it turns their faces and we only have Christ to walk by our side and others who are brave and honest enought to share the most intimate details of their lives to help others. You were one of those individuals in my life, particularily because of my love and ministry for music. Your story really identified with so much of my life. I watched and saw an amazing transformation in your songs that even went deeeper and more intimate after your struggle. After my battle God re-shaped me in a way that my ministry took a turn to reach the hurting more than an entertainment for the church. I praise Him today for His love and mercy. He never fails and thank-you Sandi for your ministry in my life and in so many others lives as well.If we don't share the truth how can we lift others up. I would go through it all again to have the ministry God has given me today. Different but REAL. God Bless you and all your future endevours. Love You!

about 2 years ago

Even though I had been a Christian 25 yrs I had never heard of Sandi. I saw her sing on an old rerun of TBN. She sang "How Great Thou Art". I was absolutely floored.

over 2 years ago

Hello Sandi, I just came from your Mt. Paran concert in Atlanta. (I would tweet but I can't figure it out) I hadn't seen you in years and you look great. The concert was very enjoyable and I am so glad we went. You gave so much time to Larnell, Wayne and Heather in their sets. I think you enjoyed them as much as we did. I saw you in Atlanta early in your career...girl you've come a long way baby...still going strong (you and Earth, Wind and Fire). Would love to go on the cruise but unemployed now for awhile. Have fun!

almost 3 years ago

hi sandi, i am a fan of urs since somebody told me about how high u sing, i'm a filipino and until now i am discovering about u and u truly inspires me of course we can't deny the fact that u ar a counterpart to the great singers in the secular well God's love is beyond comprehension, only the blood of Jesus can clean us. i love ur voice, the melody combined with the profound lyrics i love ur song falling forward. Just remember salvation is not coming from us but only from God

almost 3 years ago

Hi Sandi, I have a good collection of your songs in tapes and CD's since the 1980'.I love you and admire the talent and inspiration you've shared the world. Praise God that He truly loves all of us and I admire your strength and honesty in sharing your story to the world. God bless you as you continue to sing to the world. You're still one of my favorite singer! Best wishes, Doreen and family

about 3 years ago

Sandi you are still my "idol". I heard you years ago in Orange County and more recently at Women of Faith. I think that I have all your CD's. I loved your bio book and through it all know that God has been by your side. You are a testament to the rest of us struggling Christians and proof that God will never fail you. Thanks for your ministry!!! Cindy

over 3 years ago

Hi mom (sorry i call you mom) i want you know that i love your voice (specially the spirit inside you). i heard it when i was around 12 (my brother bought it) this is the FIRST FOREIGN song i heard in full version with full heart. unfortunately the cassette was lost some years after. but you not. i finally found you-could hear you again this year after searching all your cassettes or cds for years. it makes me glad. mom i wanna thank you because through you HIS WORD BE REAL (I Chor 15:58) i love you. JBU

over 3 years ago

Hi Sandi, I am doing my school report about you! I have learned a lot so far! I love your voice! Hope one day I can meet you! I live in Indiana too!

over 3 years ago

Hi Sandi, I really like your voice, your songs. I am really really blessed everytime i hear your songs. Since I was a child I love to listen and sing your songs for the Lord. My sister sings in church too. My father is a Pastor. Our family love your music...

over 3 years ago

When a very close crazy Christian Music Minister friend of mine first introduced me to Sandi's work. Knowing I was an Italian and lover of the arts, he said in his typical English jovial prow, check her out she can easily compare to any of the great Opera singer's in the world. In taking that tape for the first time, I remember thinking to myself..oh yeah, right! A Christian singer from the midwest?? Ohh?? Please..joke..snicker..snicker! But did he ever thankfully prove me wrong! Sandi's voice was not just great but incomparable to the greats that I grew up listening to in an Italian household. In many ways she surpassed All of the greats in so many ways. Her rendition of How Great Tho Art when she carries that amazing "high C" at the end is just breathtaking! In addition, she is infectious, everyone that hears her voice once is hooked! Her multiple renditions with Larnelle Harris " I've Just Seen Jesus" is both wonderful and believable. My personal favorite Via Della Rosa, (sp?) takes us on his heartfelt journey of Christs last days on Calvary. As all music has an internal spirit, when hearing this song for the first time, if tears don't flow, it would make this author really wonder why. Cudos to David Clydesdale for his materful double climatic symphonic treasures..He has been given a talent beyond life itself. One just doesn't do well without the other...with Clydesdale's double climax and Sandi's wind, they together bring what Rolls Royce brought to scraps of wool, some leather and a piece of metal. In Him...

almost 4 years ago

Hi Sandi, I first heard your voice in the early 80's and recognized it as a quality voice. I just finished listening to the Cathedral's Farewell Celebration on DVD with a copyright of 2005, of which you were a guest performer. Your voice is timeless! And I can tell that the words come from your heart. Give glory to God!

almost 4 years ago

Hi Sandi, i just wanted to share with you what a blessing you are to me. I have your cd another time another place. Right now my pastor is preaching on the second coming of Jesus and then today i just put that cd in my stero and just cryed and cryed because it was such a blessing, i can't wait for that time. I just recently lost my dad and i miss him like crazy and i just can't wait till our heavenly father comes and takes us all home. God bless you sandi

about 4 years ago

Hello Sandi Patty, I have enjoyed your music through your career. I heard many years ago that you married Donald Peslis from Huntington WV. I am trying to find him to let him know that we are having a Whirling Wheels Reunion. We are earnestly trying to find all the old skaters and would love to hear from him. Please pass this message on and have him get in contact with me. He may not be interested, but we want him to know about it. Barbara

about 4 years ago

Recently saw Sandi in Nashville at Gaylord. It was a great series of concerts with her and her family. If she comes to your city, don't miss it.

about 4 years ago

I've recently discovered Sandi Patty's music, and I absolutley love it! It is so inspiring and Jessica and I think your music is 'da bomb.' It rocks our flipping socks off. (:

over 4 years ago

This is for sandy your music has been such a blessing to me. A friend introduced me to your music in 2003 and I've been so trmendiously blest by it. I love your music very much.

over 4 years ago

I love Sandy Patty and hope to meet her someday. I want to attend Women of Faith. I too committed that same sin, and forgiveness is hard to come by in a Baptist church.I committed it 27 years ago, and hid it for 7 years. I nearly destroyed my family, and God hasn't been easy on me. I'm still separated from my daughter and my son is in the world. I still haven't been set free spiritually. How long does it take? Love your voice and testimony, Patty!

almost 5 years ago

Dearest Sandy, The most powerful song that you have sang was "Via DoloRosa". It is where the true, 'agaphe' love of GOD is being told. For every stripes and pain that our Lord and personal Savior JESUS CHRIST endured is where our Healing and Deliverance comes. Everytime I want to go deeper with my praise and worship during my prayer time, I just have to listen to that music and the presence of the HOLY SPIRIT is so powerful that I would start speaking HIS tounges and was able to know the wisdom HIS imparting on that day.

about 5 years ago

I have listened to you literally most of my life. My parents took me to a Bill Gaither concert in about 1978 or so. It was at the Fox Theater in St. Louis. You were there and I believe Carmen and Steve Green were there also (Although that may of been another of the Gaither concerts my parents took us to.) You did your rendition of "Jesus Loves Me" I thought it was great. I did also see you do it again later. I did like the Opera hat. LOL I recently read your book "Layers" and really enjoyed it. I too have been through a divorce in 2001. God has not brought anyone else into my life yet. I know He will in His time. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for being you and being real. God is so good and I along with you are learning to leave Him in control. May God richly Bless you. I would love you meet you if you are going to be with the Women of Faith tour in your hometown OKC. May God bless you as you work to further His Kingdom. In His Love, Susan

about 5 years ago

I've Just Seen Jesus sung by Sandi and Larnelle Harris is the greatest song I've ever heard in my entire life!!!!!!!!

about 5 years ago

I SAW SANDY IN PHIL,PA IN NOV. READ HER BOOK LAYERS and i will never be the same. our life story is almost identical. this book gives you permission to forgive and forget and understand yourself. i am a baptist preachers dtr from the south, not to much forgiving and forgeting going on, if you know what i mean. i truely hope somehow you can give this message to sandi, i feel she is my best friend, many thxs, viki

over 5 years ago

Dear Sandi, Your music has touched my soul for many, many years. I used to play "More than Wonderful" as loud as I could. I was so inspired and usually brought to tears. I just want to share with you that my son, David was killed 10 years ago and I had the honor of selecting the music for his memorial service. The first song I picked was "Another time,Another Place". It was so comforting. Thank you for being there on one of the saddest days of my life. May God continue to use you. Blessings, Jackie

over 5 years ago

All is possible with the love of God

over 5 years ago

I am inspired of the singers history and success. I understand the ups and down of life path way. I am proud of you that you never give up. We all make mistakes Life must go on. I heard the song sang by a 15 years old kid in the church Christmas program for prison ministry; last Saturday Dec; 13, 08; It was international presentation. I searched the net of the lyrics and I found this lovely song which is sang beautifully. I am revived again into singing. Now I have to listen to the song daily. I have passion to sing but I felt I am too old. But when I see you singing with power I am inspired again. Keep up the good work. You really have a golden voice. You blessed many including me. God bless!

over 5 years ago

I enjoyed your recordings back in the late '70's. You were an inspiration to me ( and my father, a Minister of Music like your dad. I was at your performance last night in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and must say, you started my Christmas season with a fabulous concert - what a gift.

over 5 years ago

Dear Sandi, Well, I met you at the concert on November 28th at First Baptist Church of First Baptist. You were wonderful and so very inspirational. It was a blessing to hear you sing and then meet you. Thank you for taking time to sign my CD and then meet my husband and two grandchildren. My granddaughter was so touched. She had tears in her eyes after we talked and met. She knew that this was a dream of mine and that dream came true. My God continue to bless you. P.S. I love your song, "Falling Forward."

over 5 years ago

I was 12 or 13 when I first heard of Sandi Patty. It was through a song my Auntie played ALL of the time. It was called "I've Just Seen Jesus" this was the first and last time I heard anything from her... until now about 23 years later. I have been playing catch up via youtube.com and google.com. Your voice is timeless as in every way. Now I play "I've Just Seen Jesus", I have been listening to this very song since 0500 hrs today. Your testimony has blessed me so and the way you deliver Gods words even more. I would that you and Barbra Streisand get together. God contiuous blessings on you and yours Sandi and you readers have a blessed day.

over 5 years ago

I've been listening to your music for years and just love every song you sing. My life has been very much like yours, and I wish I could have had someone like you to talk to me during the hard times I went through. I will be seeing you on Nov. 28 at the First Baptist Church of Ft. Lauderdale. I was just talking to my granddaughter about you and how I had been listening to your music and reading your books when they announced in church that you would be performing on the first night of the Christmas Program. I'm looking forward to meeting you. Some people say that I even look like you. I'm older, but that was a great compliment to me. Look forward to meeting you.

over 5 years ago

I am from a little town in south GA and I remember times in life listening to your music and feeling Like Jesus was in that very room with me I know we are always told god never leaves you but at times when I walked away I always found my way back thru your music because it is full of God's word for me.Thank you for giving me a way back!!!!

over 5 years ago

it is God i hear everytime i listen sandy patty sings.

over 5 years ago

Sandi, I just love your music. My mother has been one of your biggest fans for longer than I have been alive so I have grown up hearing your music. I love every song you sing because every time I hear you sing I picture an angel singing. I have gone to Women of Faith for 2 years now and you are truly one of my favorites there! God Bless You

over 5 years ago

I have loved your music for so long. God continues to bless you and you continue to bless us. Thank You Sandi, You are one of my hero's

over 5 years ago

i just can say that GOD is amazing and can give talents , but with you he may special deliver thanks GOD for your beutifull voice . and tahnk you to let him used you. GOD BLESS YOU

almost 6 years ago

When I get to heaven, I want to sing like you!!! I have loved your music for years. I have a question for you. There is Christian lyrics to the score "Come Back to Sorrento," but I don't know the title. Have you recorded this? I hope so. Thank you, Jill Carroll

about 6 years ago

God has richly blessed you with talent and ability that reaches to heaven (and you can take that statement any way you wish.) God Bless you as you continue in His Service!!

over 6 years ago

This message is for Sandy Patti, I have always enjoyed your gift in song and I pray God's continued blessing over your life. Please let me know about your next event, I would like to come.