Featured Artist

Candye Kane Candye

Candye's new CD on Rounder
"The Toughest Girl Alive"
to be released in June 2000!

If you're craving a luscious, full-bodied sound served with an entertaining, sometimes eye-popping revue by a strong-voiced belter, then Candye Kane is a sweet treat prepared to come to your rescue.

"I think that I'm really a sort of cabaret blues singer and I like that moniker because I think it is, at least in the historical sense, a mixture of show songs, vaudeville and barrelhouse music" Candye admitted. "I think cabaret and blues is a good way to describe it. I do other stuff besides blues ­ swing, some '50s ballads and stuff, but cabaret-blues encompasses everything. Burlesque-swing is also a good way to describe it."

Candye began her career in an individualistic way. Eighteen and a single mother, she was a well-endowed welfare mom living in East Los Angeles. To make money, she began posing topless, appearing on the covers of "Juggs" and "Mellons and Mounds." Besides receiving fan mail and marriage proposals, she also received offers to perform in clubs in Hawaii, Canada and New York.

Financially independent and able to get off the welfare rolls, she used money from her dancing, magazine work and movies to put a band together and pay them. She worked the '80s club scene alongside the likes of The Blasters, X and Los Lobos. She toured around the country and built herself a tidy reputation.

Candye is currently touring in support of her new album on Rounder Records, "The Toughest Girl Alive." It is a blend of styles ­ the title track is a country-blues number while gospel flavors "One More Day Without Your Love." Rockabilly reigns on "For Your Love" and "Je N'en Peux Plus Sans Ma Cadillac" and you can find unabashed Texas blues on "Let's Commit Adultery."

"I'm really excited about going to Rounder," said Candye, whose previous label was Sire Records. "I think that in some ways it's going to be a better move for me because they're a smaller label and they're used to dealing with artists of my stature.

"Sire was a big conglomerate and although Sire was certainly good for my credibility as a singer, Rounder is more of family kind of label and I feel more at home in those kinds of places," she continued.

Candye said songwriting for her is a gradual process and usually she'll have a particular song in her mind that doesn't see the light of day for months. She said she prefers to write a stack of songs and then goes through a "spring cleaning" process where she'll pick out the very best ones.

For this album, trumpet player Robbie Smith began composing horn arrangements last November. She'll often book weekend tours to test out new material.

"When I write songs I'll try them out on the road to work the bugs out, to see how they are before we record," she described. "The more familiar everybody is with the material, the less money it costs in the studio. We don't have to keep rehearsing in the studio. You know just what you're going to do."

The past year has been a busy one for Candye. Besides her touring obligations, she appeared on Roseanne, Queen Latifah, Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular show and Donny and Marie. The year of 1999 also saw the departure of Sue "Beehive" Palmer from the band.

"She was hungry for time off. She's an only child, her parents are older and she needs to spend time with them," Candye explained. "She wanted to have her own life, maybe work on a solo record, have a dog and do some of the things normal people get to do."

"We'll play together again, but right now she needed this time off," she said. "To be on the road and live this kind of life you have to really be committed to it. You can't 'kinda want to,' you have to 'really want to.'"

While acknowledging people must move on, Candy reflected on her relationship with Sue.

"We were a nice partnership," she said. "I miss her and I don't think that I will ever have another female musical partner who will be so close to me as Sue.

"I think I'm good at finding musicians who are almost unknown, taking them on the road and exposing them to larger audiences and that's what I did for Sue.

Candye said Sue was playing a local San Diego jazz band when she found her.

"She went from that to being on television and having articles written about her in Keyboard Magazine, so that was gratifying to me. She certainly deserved to be heard by a lot of people. She's a great piano player!"

Candye said of her last album, "Swango," she felt she had matured as a singer.

"My voice changed and I think in music older is better," she confirmed. "I think I've cut my musical teeth now and I'm way more confident onstage and off. I know what I can do vocally. I think I'm a more powerful singer now. I've definitely developed my own style.

"I think in the beginning, some of the first records I did, you could tell I was reaching for a style, or trying to find one, maybe even imitating even a little bit. I think I've developed own unique technique now."

Article written by: Tina Alvarez
Tina Alvarez received her degree in Journalism form the University of Arizona.  She has been covering the music scene for various publications over 20 years.  She resides in Tucson with her husband, John, and their three cats.

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