photo / Leann Mueller
Most artists spend years and years banging on metaphorical pots n’ pans trying to get the attention of record labels and musical gods. But not Kandace Springs. Hailing from the musical town of Nashville, Tennessee, it only took one serendipitous live piano rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” to get the attention of Blue Note Records; she was offered a record deal on the spot. Similarly, it only took Prince (yes, that Prince) one listen to Springs’ cover of Sam Smith’s mega-hit “Stay With Me” online before he called her up and asked her to perform alongside him at the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain.
On October 3rd, Springs will make her national television debut with a performance on CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman, and after that will be joining Chance The Rapper on an October tour in support of her forthcoming self-titled EP, out September 30th. We chatted with the promising artist about the release, as well as growing up in Nashville, and what it was like getting that call from Prince.
Can you tell us a little about your upbringing and background? What was growing up in Nashville like?
I grew up around a lot of music since my dad is an R&B singer and musician. Nashville isn’t known for soul, but I got that from the church and my dad’s signing. I also fell in love with cars as a child, and I’m still a car maniac – I have a corvette and a jeep!
How has that culture, if at all, influenced your own music as it stands now?
I picked up on the gospel, R&B and jazz that I was around and think those influences come through in my music.
How does the music community differ from Nashville to New York City? Do you prefer one over the other?
It’s actually a lot like NY! Lots of amazing music and musicians. Most people think that Nashville is about country music but there’s actually a lot of soul down there.
What was it like getting the attention of music legend Prince, of all people? Did you get to talk with him?
It was amazing! He re tweeted one of my videos and the next thing you know he was calling me and eventually invited me to perform with him at Paisley Park at his 30th anniversary of Purple Rain show. It’s still unreal to me. Like, did that really happen?? We have actually become really good friends.
I heard you were offered a record deal after an exec heard only one live song. What an amazing testament to your talent. Were you nervous at all signing?
That was an amazing day! Don Was is such a cool label president and he made me feel totally comfortable. I love to sing and play piano so much; it’s like breathing for me, so I don’t really get nervous.
You have an EP dropping this fall. What sort of mood do you hope your upcoming release will put listeners in?
I hope they feel all the emotions that went into the songs. Most importantly, I want to move people.
Tell me about writing and recording the EP.
I worked with so many talented people, including my SRP team (the production company that signed me). They discovered and signed Rihanna and are super talented! I also worked with Pop and Oak (Alicia keys, Usher) and Andre Harris (Jill Scott).
Are there any recurring themes or messages in your songwriting?
The EP takes you on a little journey of emotions. I just write from the heart. That what’s music is all about to me.
You can preorder Kandace Springs’ self-titled EP (out September 30) via iTunes now.