remember sending Prince little clips of me singing and playing just jazz standards like 'Sophisticated Lady,' some throwback songs just on the piano and he said, 'This is you, this needs to be heard, you could be the Roberta Flack of your generation," Kandace Springs says.
While Springs may not be a household name just yet, she's on the path to that level of stardom. Before she struck up an unlikely friendship with Prince—yes, PRINCE—the jazz songstress found herself on a different record label, going in a direction that wasn't necessarily true to her real passion. According to Springs, they looked at what she did, but told her people didn't buy jazz albums anymore.
Luckily, she listened to advice from both her father and Prince, who discovered Springs after seeing a video of her covering Sam Smith's "Stay With Me." Since that time, Springs has released her first album, "Soul Eyes," on the famous Blue Note Records, with a second scheduled for a March release.
Her advice to young people pursuing jazz: "Be yourself, and if you have any signature things you do, don't let anyone tell you different," she says. "They'll say people don't play that anymore, but yes they do, actually. Don't let them do that to you. Be confident, too, and keep writing. Don't stop playing your instrument; sing from your soul."
Springs, in her 20s, was first introduced to jazz by her father, the session vocalist Scat Springs. She remembers being 10 years old and her father playing Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Krall and newer artists including Norah Jones. She started playing piano and then in her early teens began singing. She learned classical piano and then studied the songs of Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson, both renowned jazz pianists.
see the world in colors and when I hear music, I see colors and, you know, you paint a picture... and I feel like jazz secretly has more colors than other types of music, and it's not a problem and it's all beautiful in its own way," Springs says. "Sometimes less is more, but there's something about jazz I'm so drawn to, it's music in every shade; you can mix and match."
Springs does a lot of her own songwriting, but also appreciates co-writing. Some of her best songs have been collaborations, which she believes opens one up to a wider spectrum since there's someone else in there with their point of view on the melody or lyrics.
"I actually did co-write a little bit with Prince in 2016, on my birthday, January 18, 2016," Springs says. "I have some secret tracks hidden on my phone of the stuff we started."
Springs has also co-written with her father and with Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken, a songwriting and production team that's also worked with other artists including Rihanna.
"It'll be more edgy than the last one, which was really more laid back," Springs says of her forthcoming album. "This one is very soulful, chill. It's almost a little like Erika Badu, Roberta (Flack), like 'The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face,' jazz standards, the stuff that punches."
When she's not creating colorful pictures with jazz, Springs loves cars. Prior to pursuing a career in music, she considered going to automotive design school. She loves American muscle cars and had a hard time narrowing it down to one specific dream car. She has a soft spot for big V8 motors and digs the Corvette ZR1, but you can also catch her driving a Jeep on her Instagram.
So what does she listen to while she's behind the wheel of one of those great cars?
"Sade for sure, Robert Glasper's 'Black Radio 2' album, Ella Fitzgerald, and you know, another would be the 'Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.'"
Kandace Springs Quartet
Fri., Oct 20 and Sat., Oct 21. 6:30pm.
Riverhouse on the Deschutes
3075 N. Hwy. 97, Bend
$63.50/adv. at Bendticket.com