Updated: May 2
Listening to the effortless vocal abilities of this beautiful and talented artist, I was completely drawn in. As a Chicago stepper myself, I was immediately to get out of my seat and hit my living room floor with a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8! Her hit single, "Ooh Ooh" will defiantly get you up and on the dance floor. I was blessed with the opportunity to interview this incredible songstress about her journey in the independent music scene and here's what she shared about herself.
Tell me a little bit about your background. Where are you from and how did you get started in music? I was born in Paducah, Kentucky. I began singing at the age of five with my older sisters in a gospel group called the Parks Sisters. My roots are in gospel music, but I wanted to explore other genres in the music industry, so after high school, that’s just what I did. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to college, and that allowed me the opportunity to move to Nashville. I completed the specialized music degree program there becoming the first graduate of the Commercial Music Program at Tennessee State University in Nashville. I chose Nashville because of its rich history in music. After graduation, I worked for some of the major music companies in Nashville. During that time, I began writing my own music which led to me being signed to a deal, but that agency basically keeps the album on the shelf. Eventually, I would move to Hilton Head, South Carolina where I formed my own band. We performed in many successful shows at various venues. From there, things gradually developed, and everything led up to the wonderful things that are happening today.
Candace, what is your vocal range?
I haven’t given thought to my actual ranges; however, I do know I have at least four octaves range. I’ve been compared to Phyllis Hyman whose vocal range was C3 – F7. I’ve also been compared to Chaka Khan whose vocal range is F2 – B5. So, I would say my octaves are within those octave ranges as well.
What distinguishes you from other vocalists in terms of your vocal style?
People have told me that my vocals have their own uniqueness and the strength behind the way I deliver my vocals is felt by that person listening. When they look at my stature, they find it hard to believe that the vocals are delivered by me until they see me live. They also talk about how my vocals compliment the music that plays along with my vocals and gives it sophistication. I believe this is why fans have dubbed me the “Queen of Sophisticated Soul” which is really an honor.
Would you mind sharing your favorite independent recording artist of the moment?
There are so many independent artists out there that are so good, with such quality music, you can’t pick one, or at least I can’t pick one. I respect all that these artists are doing, and all that they go through to get to this point. I respect anyone that works in this industry because of what comes with it.
As an independent artist, what are some of the challenges you face? Some of the challenges are finances, having to expense everything with no assistance from industry backers, and also not getting the right amount of exposure. Mainstream artists have more opportunities of having their music played on major radio stations, they are picked to headline major music events where they can make large sums of money, and they are even picked for roles on television and in movies.
How would you describe your music to those who have never heard it before? I would say it is a blend of classic R&B with the sounds of today’s modern R&B. You may even hear a touch of modern Jazz in some of my tracks.
How do you describe your artistic influences? Some of my musical influences include Sarah Vaugh, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Luther Vandross, Al Green, and a host of others. There are too many to name.
What do you do mentally prepare before you release a new song (positive or negative)? I surround myself with people who are encouragers and I try to read and meditate as much as I can. When my songs are released, I hear nothing but positive feedback, so I focus on that fact and on the fact that my team and I work hard and purposely release music only if it is our best work.
In a changing industry, what advice would you give to new artists? I would tell them to make sure they know who you are and have your own goals in mind. Never let anyone distract you from reaching them.
If your fans do not know about your other talents, what are they missing? I play tennis and I’m pretty good at it. It runs in the family. My two sons, Jared “JRock” and Morgan “MoMo” are professional players. I am also an educator.
Do you have any singles/albums out right now? What is your favorite album/song? I currently have one album titled “Desire” which contains 10 songs that were previously released as singles. I also have my current single titled “Midas Touch” which has three incredible remixes. “Midas Touch” will also be on my new album, which will be available this fall. Every song release is a work of art that has a special meaning to me. To pick one as a favorite is impossible for me because they mean a great deal to me, and I enjoy listening to each one each time I go back to play them.
Can you tell me about your latest album/ song and what inspired it? Where can people purchase it? The latest single is “Midas Touch”. The inspiration behind the making of this song stems from people’s situation with the COVID-19 Pandemic and having to be quarantined inside their homes. I wanted a song that would make people feel like they were out dancing at their favorite lounges and clubs. I wanted a song that people can dance to, remember, and instill good feelings in their souls.
Photo Credits: Heather Houston Photography and Candace Woodson's photos are courtesy of Candace Woodson.