Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Kandace Springs: The Joys Of Springs

Kandace Springs
Kandace Springs Kandace Springs Kandace Springs Kandace Springs

Every so often an artist comes along and you just know he of she is destined for the big things - the voice, the look, the swagger and above all, the writing skills/material to back it all up. Over almost 50-years you could say this magazine has had a bit of an eye for talent spotting, so ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, it’s time to introduce our latest find… Jazz / Soul starlet, Kandace Springs.

Springs was recently in the the UK supporting newly crowned Jazz King and fellow Blue Note label mate, Gregory Porter. A dream job to land on her first jaunt to these isles, “they (management) sent some of the videos I did, like a one night one take “Soul Eyes”, “Place To Hide” and “Thought It Would Be Easier”. He heard them and he was like ‘yeah I like… this sounds good, we would love to have her support the UK tour”. That's as far as I know to be honest… but it's so awesome! We've hung out a little bit, he's such a nice guy and his band is incredible!”

While here, I was lucky enough to meet up with the bright and bubbly 27-year-old, Nashville-based singer, songwriter and pianist after she put on a sparkling showcase type performance at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, deep in the heart of London. Considering Springs is relatively new to the international music scene, there didn’t seem to be even a flicker of nerves as she delivered a deft mix of soul infused Jazz, to the delight the exuberantly appreciative audience. Refreshing to witness… a natural if you will.

Her style and preferred genre, well, I’ll let Ms Springs fill you in ”I would say I started with jazz, but because my dad was a gospel singer back in the day, I was introduced to a lot of soul. I grew up in Nashville, surprisingly, where a lot of soul artists are from…The Wooton Brothers - you know Victor Wooton? He's a popular, famous bass player, but they play Soul music - he taught me to play chords and all that, so Soul’s kinda been in my roots since.” Springs continues. “I kind of got into Sade, then I got into Lauren Hill… then I started taking some jazz workshops / classes at the National Jazz Workshops on Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington…”

You could say that the writing was always on the wall for Springs to flower into a consummate artist she is today. “My father is a musician, he sings in Nashville, his name is Scat Springs… because of him, he introduced me to music originally, he pushed me to play piano and sing. He sings regularly in Nashville to this day and for the last 28 years or so, soul mostly and R&B. But he’s sung with everybody from Brian McKnight to the Jets, to Faith Hill, to Johnny Gill, Garth Brooks - you name it… he recently worked with Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan not long ago - my dad can sing better than anybody and I'm not just saying that because he's my dad… check him out! Scat Springs baby!! He’s also worked with Michael McDonald…now, he’s the man!”

Where it all began, “I started playing piano when I was 10-years-old, I started singing when I was about 13, my Dad gave me the Norah Jones record, “Come Away With Me”. I was listening to it one day when I was cleaning my room up, the last song came on called, “The Nearness Of You”, it just moved me…I was like ‘man, I'm gonna to play that song’. So, me and my Mom went to Books-A-Million and I bought the sheet music of it and I taught myself how to play it in a week or so - I then started singing it. I got to debut singing it at a camp in Nashville Tennessee called, Kids On Stage. I was probably about 14, I debuted it there, that was my first time actually playing and singing for a crowd and they went crazy! I was like wow, maybe I can follow in Norah Jones’ footsteps one day. Now we are label mates – it's pretty awesome. I got to have lunch with her not too long ago.”

After getting a taste for performance at camp, it wasn’t until some 3 years later that Springs would get her music heard by industry experts. “They came to me… Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken work at SRP Records. I was 17 years old they came down and heard my music through a mutual friend of my fathers and their’s - they heard a demo I was doing called “I’ll Never Be The Same”. It's an old classic jazz standard, they were like ’hey, that sounded pretty good’ - they came down and wanted to sign me to their production group, at the time it just wasn't the right time. I was young and we decided to pass on it and for other personal reasons and stuff.” Springs recollects, “So eventually I moved out from my Dad’s house, I was working on my own, I worked at a hotel downtown in Nashville, parking cars, as a valet parking attendant for 4 years! I did that for awhile, I’ve parked well over 4/5 hundred cars now. I can do some doughnuts and stuff and I can go 4 wheeling (use all terrain Vehicles). In the morning I would check people in or check people out and bring their cars up…then at night, I go home, clean up and come back to that same hotel and play in their lounge on the piano - appear on stage and sing for the guests, yeah, sing at night! I did the singing part for about two years - it kept me going, so I was paying my dues.”

The album "Soul Eyes" is out now on Blue Note Records.

You can read more from our unmissable interview with B&S one to watch Kandace Springs in the current issue of Blues & Soul Magazine...which includes Springs talking about her big break, her recent appearance at the UK's "Love Supreme Festival and memories of Prince - click the link below to order straight from our shop or read on for high street retailer details.

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