Kandace Springs' vocal mastery of r&b, pop, and jazz became evident on both her 2016 debut album, Soul Eyes, and her 2018 sophomore album, Indigo. The Nashville native has announced her newest album, The Women Who Raised Me, out on March 27th on Blue Note Records.
The Album features Kandace's renditions of some of the most iconic and powerful female vocalist of the 20th/21st centuries; Nora Jones, Diana Krall, Lauren Hill, Roberta Flack, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Carmen McRae, Astrud Gilberto, Bonnie Raitt, Sade, and Dusty Springfield. We got the chance to talk to Kandace about the upcoming album, her artistry behind it, and the not-to-be-missed collaboration with Norah Jones.
Your Father, Scat Springs, is a singer himself. Growing up, you say he introduced you to many of the female artists who inspired this album. What was it about these women and their music that inspired you?
I was eight years old when my dad was playing Nina around the house. I would ask him who she was and he told me about her and how she played amazing classical and jazz piano, also how she was a tough woman. A couple years later I started playing piano and fell in love with jazz, my father then gave me a Norah Jones record, some Diana Krall, Eva Cassidy and Roberta Flack. My mom was always playing Bonnie Rait and Dusty Springfield and their voices always melted my soul. I took some classes in my mid teens at the Nashville Jazz Workshop and it was there that I learned about Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and many more. I fell in love. They're all so unique, they have their own stories and many of them play their own instruments. Being a young musician coming up in the world, they really all inspired me in different ways.
Did you know going in what songs you wanted to cover for this album? If so, how did you decide which ones to do? What is your creative process in terms of making covers your own?
I definitely knew what songs I wanted to cover going into this record. Each of the tracks are pretty much my all time favorites, I’m intimately familiar with them and have been playing many of them since the beginning. I picked the songs that impacted and moved me the most growing up, the album is an expression of my appreciation for each musician that interpreted them.
You have previously stated that you started getting serious about singing after hearing Norah Jones' first record. Norah herself is featured on the song “Angel Eyes”. Can you elaborate on how it felt to record and collaborate with your musical role model?
My dad gave me Norah’s first record around thirteen years old, he told me about how I was similar to her and how I could be like her one day. I heard her blowing up on the radio at the time and it was inspiring to see such a beautiful young woman that played beautiful piano and had such a gorgeous voice. I wasn’t singing at the time, I had always just dreamt of being a pianist. My dad always tried to push me to sing and I would refuse because I was so shy and not confident with my voice. But after listening to Norah’s album and hearing her cover the song "Nearness of You," it blew me away. It triggered something in my heart I’d never felt before and I suddenly had the desire to sing. When my family would leave the house I would run down to the old upright piano to practice and push myself to sing. I eventually learned how to play and sing "Nearness of You" and it was actually the first song I surprised everyone with performing live with at about fourteen-fifteen years old.
Fast forward years later, I’ve become good friends with Norah and we are both on Blue Note Records. It was amazing being able to personally ask her to do a duet with me on this tribute album. I was so nervous recording with her, but also so excited. It was one of the greatest moments of my life, just being able to sit next to her! I got to play a sweet vintage Wurlitzer while Norah was on a gorgeous Steinway, we made magic that day on "Angel Eyes". Ella Fitzgerald is both of our idols so we agreed to tribute "Angel Eyes" to her. It was a moment I’ll never forget.
Your sophomore album “Indigo” was modern jazz influenced. You mention that your new album, "The Women Who Raised Me", is more straight-ahead jazz. With such vastly differing styles and artists as Lauryn Hill, Bonnie Raitt, and Astrud Gilberto, to name a few, how do you hope to accomplish a that straight-ahead feel? Is it even possible to squeeze such variety into one genre or another?
I love all types of music, but they must have one thing in common, Soul! It can be any genre but when an artist sings from their soul you can really feel the difference in the delivery of any song. I can sing almost any genre but my favorite will always be jazz. I love the complexity and feel most at home with it, it's like the foundation of all styles, like a pallet of all colors. I'm an artist who likes to paint and draw so I tend to see music like colors. And when you have so many shades to work with, the sky’s the limit!
Your label is Blue Note Records, what is it like to be apart of a legacy that is so ingrained in jazz music history?
I feel so blessed and so honored to be a part of Blue Note records. Sometimes I have to remember it’s real. My dream is to keep jazz and soul alive in my generation in its timelessness while adding a fresh, unique element.
Where do you see the future of Jazz in today’s industry, is it making a comeback? How do you feel it's reaching new audiences?
It makes me happy to see people like Gregory Porter, Norah Jones, Robert Glasper and many more preserving such an iconic type of music. I love how they all express Jazz differently and how audiences from all over the world from all cultures can appreciate it. That’s where I want to be!
You have an upcoming tour to promote the new album, how do you prepare mentally for live performances?
I have a bunch of tours coming up in the springtime and summertime going everywhere from the west coast to Tokyo! It’s pretty amazing getting to meet people from all walks of life that appreciate and support your music. Before a show I eat a good meal, voice warm ups, and drink tons of water!
Speaking of being prepared, for young up and coming artist what advice would you give? What does a typical practice routine consist of for you? Are there any exercises or routines you would recommend?
The most important advice I can give is to play, write, and perform what you love most. Be who you are and reach for the things that move your soul. It can be any genre, or even a new one! It’s important to love what you do. I love practicing songs I’m obsessed with and making them unique. It doesn’t feel like practice when it’s your passion, and I think you’ll perform even better for it.
Lastly, we always end by asking what is your favorite jazz album of all time and why?
Favorite jazz album! That’s tough. I might have to pick two..
“Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Song Book”, and Diana Krall's, “When I Look In Your Eyes”.
You can check out Kandace's tour dates on her website and be sure to follow her on social for upcoming news!