Candice Hoyes is classical train singer, she works as an opera singer. Singing rep from Baroque music to new works, such as Marriage of Figaro. She sings in many languages and a lot of jazz as well. She started studding music at the age of 6 when she began learning classical piano, but she had a lot of jazz in her grandfather and grandmothers home. “He was a jazz head” shared Hoyes. Her grandparents lived in a building with quite a few famous jazz musicians in Queens, NY.
She mentioned in passing that her grandfather was a taxi driver, who happened to drive Thelonious Monk around town. And several of the famous musician still reside in the building.
She went to Harvard and studies sociology. While in school she sang all styles of music, jazz, gospel, acapella, and musicals. She produced shows at the American Repertory theatre, due to her passion to act. She received a fellowship to study classically at Boston Conservatory. She also planned the first hip-hop conference at while attending Harvard.
I asked her how do you transition from opera to hip hop? “You don’t transition from opera to hip hop, the fact of the matter is any American opera singer that you will see anywhere, any American jazz singer, if you are a contemporary artist you are touched and reached by hip hop. There is no one impervious to hip hop.”
I then asked her what did your vocal teachers think about you singing all styles of music? They said a lot of things, and they have wisdom but they feel safe telling students something tradition and generally true for everyone. “Now that I’m a voice teacher my perspective on music education is treating each child as an individual.” The fact of the matter is I grew up in a Jamaican background, listening to reggae and jazz, it’s in my spirit.
She elaborates that this is how music happens, by not separating the peas from the carrots. The same way we have visual artist, ballet dancers, and jazz/classical musicians that how music really happens. It doesn’t happen by separating the hip hop from the gospel.
One of the best days she had in New York was after one of the worst days she’s had. She recently was chewed out by an opera coach, she was a serious student but on that day, she was having a hard time. After this experience, she went to visit Wayne Sanders a conductor, pianist and coach. She started singing her aria, and sang it fine. Sanders told her to stop and reach down and grab the book of hymns and choose her favorite and to place the hymnal on the keyboard book rest. And she did, she chose her Grandmothers favorite hymn “Softly and Tenderly”. After singing it Wayne said to Hoyes, “now there’s your voice”.
That day she found her voice. That’s where she always comes back to, “I make it very personal so no one can tell me what I should be doing in that sense.” She stated” I’ll sing your vocal exercises, I’ll sing the repertoire suggestions but I’m going to say is for me, that’s my business.
What’s next for you, I asked? Candice is working on her second album, and traveling the country with “On A turquoise cloud” far and wider. She would love to do this work in St. Louis. She spent more time listening to jazz in St. Louis than any other place. More jazz, classical music, and song writing. She had a TED talk coming out soon, so stay tuned to connect with her there.
I was totally inspired, motivated and enlighten by Candice. She radiates such joy and passion for her craft. If you every get a chance to attend her concert don’t miss out on a life changing encounter. Find out more about here at www.candicehoyes.com