Singer, songwriter and pianist Kandace Springs will release her debut full-length album Soul Eyes on Blue Note Records. Produced by Grammy-winning producer Larry Klein (Lizz Wright, Melody Gardot, Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock), the album touches upon soul and pop while channeling her jazz influences as well as her Nashville upbringing. Kandace counts such stylists as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Roberta Flack and Norah Jones as her heroes, but as evidenced by Soul Eyes, Springs mimics none of them.
Kandace's journey to discovering her uniqueness didn't happen overnight. In fact, her 2014 self-titled debut EP had a decidedly contemporary R&B/hip-hop bent with production by Pop & Oak (Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Miguel). The EP was incredibly well-received and led to performances on Late Show With David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, as well as appearances at the Afropunk and Bonnaroo festivals.
Kandace was dubbed a "suave songstress" (Wall Street Journal), "a versatile and vital artist" (Afropunk), and "a vocal force to be reckoned with" (Okayplayer). Essence Magazine named her a New & Next artist and Interview Magazine made her their Music Discovery, writing that while "Hearing the word jazz might revert a listener's thoughts to the music of yesteryear...Up-and-comer Kandace Springs aims to change this notion. The singer, songwriter, and pianist blends elements of soul, jazz, and pop, producing a unique and modern twist on the genre that appeals to young and old listeners alike."
As amazing an experience as that was, as Kandace got ready to record her album she couldn't shake the feeling that she wasn't yet singing her true self. Conversations with her longtime producers Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers led to soul searching and rethinking her musical direction. Also during this period, Kandace attracted the attention of Prince, who heard her makeover of Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" on the website Okayplayer. The music icon invited her to perform with him at Paisley Park for the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain. "He encouraged me a lot before I recorded this new record, especially during the time in which I was trying to figure out my sound," Kandace says. "He told me that I needed to do what comes naturally to me. He was absolutely right."
For Soul Eyes, Kandace continued working closely with Rogers and Sturken, but they also recruited Klein to help the singer bring out her distinctive artistic traits. "Larry wanted me to be free in the studio," she recalls. "I've been through a lot of other sessions in which the producer tries to take control of your sound. Larry was just like, 'Go in and play what you feel.' That ultimately led to the best outcome; he captured this record perfectly."
Klein praises Kandace as a "natural." "In this era, in which flash and hunger for fame is often equated with talent, she's that rare person who sings and plays because that is what she needs to do in life," he says. "When I first heard Kandace, I was sold after hearing one song. Her smoky voice coupled with a sense of phrasing way beyond her years, and her angular way of accompanying herself on piano grabbed me right away."
The eleven songs contained on Soul Eyes are a mix of Kandace's originals and co-writes as well as the jazz classic "Soul Eyes" and songs by Jesse Harris, Shelby Lynne, War, and others. The album features Kandace's playing piano alongside an illustrious cast of musicians that includes trumpeter Terence Blanchard, guitarists Dean Parks and Jesse Harris, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, organist Pete Kuzma, bassist Dan Lutz, percussionist Pete Korpela.
1. Talk To Me
2. Soul Eyes feat. Terence Blanchard
3. Place To Hide
4. Thought It Would Be Easier
5. Novocaine Heart
6. Neither Old Nor Young
7. Too Good Too Last feat. Terence Blanchard
8. Fall Guy
9. The World Is A Ghetto