Sandra Faye "Sandi" Patty, who received Grammy awards for "More Than Wonderful" and "I've Just Seen Jesus," gained her professional nickname "The Voice" as an acclaimed gospel vocalist. However, her voice can also be heard as a fervent proclaimer of faith as she embarks on a 14-city series of concerts dubbed "The Farewell Tour."
"I just love singing songs that have lyrics that are life-changing, that can encourage, that are hopeful," said Patty in a phone interview with the Deseret News.
Patty was born in Oklahoma City into a naturally musical family, according to her website at sandipatty.com. Her father was a minister of music for their church, her mother was the Sunday pianist and both encouraged Patty to perform from a very young age.
"Music was just a part of who I was growing up," she said.
Singing continued to play a substantial role in Patty's life. She has won five Grammy Awards, four Billboard Music Awards and many GMA Dove Awards since her first album release in 1979, according to her online bio at sandipatty.com.
When asked about her multiple Grammys, Patty simply expresses gratitude for the support from her colleagues at the Recording Academy.
"I've always looked at (those awards) as more of an encouragement kind of thing," she said. "For people who are in the same business as you to be able to say 'We love you, we believe in you, thanks for working hard this year.' It's more of an encouragement. And that means a great deal to me, for sure."
Patty is also appreciative just for the chance to perform.
"I am grateful for the many opportunities that God has given in my life and for how he has allowed me to spread my wings," she writes on her website. "Singing is my way to tell my story of hope, life and love."
Though she has had the opportunity to dabble in other genres of music, Patty said she finds a particular comfort in that God-given gospel history.
"I think I found a lot more comfort in gospel music because those are my roots," Patty said in an interview.
As she reminisced on her years of inspiring performances, Patty expressed her awe at how deeply her songs have influenced people. She loves to look back on the songs she has written and think of the stories she has heard about what the messages of her music mean to her fans.
"It is my prayer that my songs remind listeners to be mindful that God is always in the midst of our lives and that his faithfulness and goodness are still present even when life is hard," she said. "It's good to be in a community where you can celebrate those things."
After performing for more 30 years, Patty is on a final tour of her most recent album, "Forever Grateful," to show her fans that she is forever grateful for their love, she said. The tour is a combination of new songs and her classics with additional performances by the five-man contemporary classical group Veritas and from Patty's children.
"The people who come to the concerts and buy the albums, they are who I work for," said Patty. "This is my opportunity to tell them thank you."
She said this tour does not mean she wants to say goodbye, but it unavoidably marks the waning of her performing career. Though Patty will still be mentoring other artists in the recording studio, she is eager to use her influence for good back home in Oklahoma.
"I really see my the new season of my life as being very much a grandma," she said. "We have three grandkids now. They are the sweetest and they are precious. It has been great to have some my kids on the road with me, but my husband and I are looking forward to being more a part of our family's life in that way, to mentor and teach as grandparents."
See sandipatty.com/pages/tour for tour information and ticket availability.