This Saturday Oct. 11, Chance the Rapper is going to take Skidmore’s campus by storm as he performs for our Fall Big Show. Not only will the show, part of the Verge Campus Tour, feature this well-known artist, but also the Sweater Beats and Kandace Springs.
This week, I had the opportunity to interview with Kandace Springs. Singing since she was 13 years old, a child of Nashville, TN, Springs was inspired by idols such as her father and Billie Holliday to pursue music from such a young age. Springs hit the spotlight when Prince took her under his wing and on stage to perform alongside His Royal Badness, all without having released a song.
Since performing with Prince, Springs has gone on to release an album entitled, Kandace Springs, and tour with Chance the Rapper. She will continue on to work with Ne-Yo on his upcoming tour dates. Just last week, Springs appeared on The Letterman Show, making her first-ever television debut.
Despite a busy schedule, Springs was kind enough to accept my interview.
Q: You have grown up with music your entire life, but where do you believe your inspiration came from? Is there one particular moment that you felt music just clicked with you?
A: When I was 10 years old, my parents gave me a Norah Jones CD and by the time I turned 13, I was singing. When I was 13, my mom bought me a sheet music book and my first performance was back home in Nashville. I knew that music clicked with me when I was on stage. The reaction I got from the audience was overwhelming and that’s when I realized I wanted to be a musician when I grew up. My dad was a singer so he definitely inspired me as well but that Norah Jones CD propelled me even further. The first song I performed was a Jazz song by Norah Jones herself.
Q: What’s your favorite part about singing?
A: I think that singing allows people to express themselves through music. I personally enjoy seeing other people’s reactions to the music that they are listening to. It’s like painting a picture, when you first get out there; it is like a blank canvas and I am about to paint a picture for everyone when I start to sing. I also love when people know the songs and begin to sing along with me. I think that is really cool, I get an adrenaline rush out of it.
Q: Who is your musical inspiration?
A: Lauryn Hill, Aretha Franklin, and Billie Holiday. I love their voices, especially Aretha Franklin—they all have this “gritty soul.”
Q: What has been the most difficult part about getting to where you are today?
A: The music business is not like a 9-5 job, you really never know what to expect. There have been difficult parts, sometimes it feels hopeless because they are so few people that truly make it, make it onto television, the big-time, etc. It’s all about meeting people and getting your name out there but at the same time, staying true to who you are.
Q: Could you further define “classic soul meets modern hip-hop”? What sort of style do you aim for? Where did that style originate?
A: My main goal is to keep soul alive. I have been influenced by a lot of Jazz artists including Billie Holiday and the other artists that I mentioned before. I want to bring a modern twist, that way I attract more contemporary people and younger listeners. I want everybody listening! That is what I am for…I want all ages to appreciate my music and sing along with me!
Q: Would you consider yourself a fan of older music rather than more contemporary music? If so, where do you draw your ideas from?
A: Definitely. I really like the older sound; it is more sophisticated, thought through and genuine. Back in the day, music was raw and real, there was no technology. I appreciate the younger, pop music—I want to blend the two together and create the best of both worlds.
Q: Are you excited to tour with Chance the Rapper? How did you begin to tour with him? How was your show at UCLA?
A: Yes! I am super excited. I am blessed to have this opportunity and am extremely appreciative of what is happening for me. The UCLA show was dope, seeing my face on the big screen was amazing and having everyone sing along was even better. I think it has been kind of random to get to work with Chance. The talent booking agency hooked it up and got us together. Chance is still new for me although he is super cool and fresh. In a few weeks I will be working with Ne-Yo as well, I’ve always loved his stuff, he is really musical and I am looking forward to that as well.
Q: What are you looking forward to while touring?
A: I am looking forward to everything, to getting out there, letting people see who we are.
Q: What makes you nervous?
A: Nothing makes me too nervous. There is always the regular stuff that could go wrong, sound, etc but we have top-notch sound people working with us. I am blessed and thankful that everyone seems to appreciate the music. The band has rocked it out previously so I can’t wait to show Skidmore what we have worked so hard to achieve.
Q: How do you see yourself in a few years from now?
A: I really hope to have a household name, I want everyone to have our record and say, “Oh yeah, Kandace Springs, that cool girl… I love her, she’s my favorite.”
Q: What is one piece of advice that you can give to up and coming artists?
A: I spent time playing jazz and soul in a country town. People kept trying to make me do more pop, they wanted to change me. Don't let people tell you to change. You can be open-minded but don't change who you are for someone else’s opinion of who they think you should be. And never give up.