When other infants were reaching for a rattle, Crystal Marie Sands was reaching for a microphone. By the age of three she was already a pro at singing karaoke with her family. As a youngster, despite urgings from her friends and family to go out and play, she preferred to stay in her room where she would sing along with all the classic country albums that her parents owned. By the age of ten she took to keeping the karaoke machine in her room where she says, “I would sing my heart out to an imaginary audience of thousands of people”. At the age of thirteen she started writing her own songs and another thing she says she wrote were “a lot of letters to God," asking for His help in making her dreams come true.
In June of 2006 she graduated from high school. She was the only graduate (male or female) of her Maryland school to have their graduation photo taken in a cowboy hat and when the rest of her classmates headed off to nearby beaches for summer vacation, she headed straight to Nashville. According to her parents, "All she talked about was wanting to go to Nashville so, for a graduation present, we surprised her with tickets to the CMA Fest.” While there, a chance meeting with TG Sheppard led to an introduction to singer/songwriter Kelly Lang. After listening to Sands CD of cover tunes, Lang invited her back to Nashville to record a three song demo, produced by Lang with the legendary Sheppard as overseer. Two of Langs' songs ended up on Sands' debut album.
She continued to sing with The Esquires, a local Baltimore band, almost every weekend at the VFW's and American Legions until 2008 when the AhHa Music Group invited her to be the flagship artist for their new label. At their invitation, she packed up her trailblazer and moved to Texas. Under the career guidance of the label owner, Corene Schwab, she performed at several legendary honky tonks with the New West Band backing her, was featured on The Texas County Line television show several times, did countless radio interviews, and made her first music video. She also met several of her musical heroes; country legends Ray Price, Gene Watson, Johnny Rodriguez, Eddy Raven, and Leona Williams. She says she definitely considered it an honor to be able to open for each of them and the experience, “was the answer to many of those letters to God”.
In April of 2009 all of their hard work paid off. She was nominated by the Texas Music Awards for the “2009 Rising Star” AND “Female Vocalist of the Year”. Sands won the title for “Female Vocalist of the Year” and before the celebrating ceased, work began on her sophomore album. The Hard Times was recorded at Rosewood Studio, the studio made famous by LeAnn Rimes, and contains ten songs, all written by Sands. The award, and the accolades that followed, only further spurred her desire to return to Nashville so the moment the album was finished, she was off to Music City. Living there had been a life-long dream and she felt the timing was finally right for the big move. She says, "Singing for tips down on broadway, writing with other songwriters, and networking in Nashville, has been a stop on the road to success for all of the country legends that have inspired me."
Over the past two years she has been traveling back and forth between Nashville and Baltimore, following each opportunity as it has presented itself to her. Sands is thankful she had the opportunity of playing every Friday night from August to October, at the Maryland Live Casino, the third largest casino in the country.
Earlier this year she won the local round of the Texaco Country Showdown, the nations largest and longest running country music talent search. She advanced to the state level of competition where she claimed first place again. Sands is currently working on her next album and preparing for a big year in 2013.