A couple of hours before the doors opened at The Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan, R&B/jazz artist Kandace Springs opened the door of her dressing room for an interview. Of course, Springs is the opening act for the Hall and Oates/Train tour. She just recently released an EP over a month ago entitled Black Orchid. It’s been a huge success and the tour is only adding to her much deserved notoriety.
Since her 2016 debut album release Soul Eyes, Springs has made the transition of switching genres from R&B to more of a jazz sound. Before Springs did her soundcheck we were able to chat with her backstage to talk about her genre change, producers she’s been working with and of course, her new album expected to be released later this year entitled Indigo.
Just want to start off with how the tour has been for you? I’ve seen a few videos you’ve shared including the finger incident (she cut her finger prior to her performance backstage a few days prior). How’s the tour been so far?
Oh, it’s been so awesome. So cool, we’re so thankful to be here. It’s such a great opportunity to play in all of these big arenas and hearing the sounds. It’s like, WOW! It blows your mind.
Absolutely! So let’s talk about the big success of your recent EP Black Orchid. What has been the aftermath of the EP? I know with your 2016 release “Soul Eyes,” you had more of like an R&B sound. Then with this release, you made a change to more of a jazz sound. I know you’ve talked a lot about your father’s (Scat Springs) influence in your music, but overall how has the transition been?
Well, it kind of just evolves on its own. You know, thanks to my dad I was able to listen to some of the all-time greats like Roberta Flack, Luther Vandross, Sade, Eva Cassidy, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. Little by little, I think these albums I get to take a little bit of each. On this particular EP, it’s kinda following in Nina’s tracks and Roberta. A lot of that classic sound.
I know you’ve done some interviews with the producer behind the EP Black Orchid, what was it like for the production of the project? I imagine changing genres had to be tough. Exactly how was the transition working with your producer?
It was so awesome! Karriem Riggins is the producer behind Black Orchid for those that don’t know. He plays drums for Diana Krall and Kendrick Lamar. He’s just excellent. He just captured the best of both worlds. I couldn’t have asked for a better fit.
We talked a little bit before the interview about your 2016 release Soul Eyes. I want to talk about your growth. You’re finally getting the recognition you deserve. How does it feel and in what ways have you grown musically since your 2016 release to now?
Um, I guess you’re always growing. I like that this latest album punches a little bit more than the last one. The last one (Soul Eyes) I felt like it was kind of a foundation to this is Kandace. It has a very organic, very raw sound. All the instruments were live. It’s almost like a completely live album. And you compare it to this EP (Black Orchid), going into the new album. It almost has a hip-hop feel, to a more R&B feel, and a little more classical this time. The last one was more jazz-based. And jazz is my heart and soul. That’s what I grew up on. But, now here is another side of who I am with the new music.
Now, I don’t know if you’re allowed to go too far into this, but I understand you’re working on the new album coming out later this year, and you’ve been working on “The Simple Things,” which will be one of the tracks on the album, right?
YES! It’s kind of a big deal! You know, I wrote that song with my dad. I started it and my dad came in and wrote the bridge. We recorded another album that’s never been officially released. That may come out one day! It’s kind of a secret album that I did with my dad. We took the track of him singing. He actually just recently had a stroke, so he hasn’t been able to sing in the last year. So it’s kind of an emotional song. We took his vocals from that secret track and put it on there. And it’ll finally be heard by the world when it comes out in September.
I’m so sorry about that, our thoughts and prayers are with him and your family. Hope he gets better.
Aww, it’s okay, thank you! He’s the reason I’m here today.
So, with all of the excitement of Black Orchid, what else can you preview for the next album coming out later this year? Who have you been working with on it?
I’ve worked a lot of Robert Glasper’s folks. I’ve worked with Kerriam Riggins, Diana Krall’s band members, Robert Hurst on the bass, Anthony Wilson on the guitar, and Elena Pinderhughes. She plays the flute for Herbie Hancock and she’s coming out with her new album. Incredible artist. Also Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken. They’re the guys that found Rihanna. I’ve been working with them for the last 10 years.
If you could work with one current artist that you’ve never worked within music, who would it be?
You know what, currently there’s one artist that I’ve been obsessed with is Daniel Caesar. He’s been around for a little while now. Every time I hear his music I have to pull over and listen to it. His voice is great and he’s just legit. Now, if it’s old school artist dead or alive, I’ve got to go Nina Simone’ or Ella Fitzgerald.
Looking ahead, is this where the touring ends for you this year? I imagine you’ll take some time to work on finishing the album but are there any other tour dates you have planned after the tour with Hall and Oates/Train?
Actually, we have my own tour coming up in October. I’m going to do some dates in Europe. From Belgium, Poland, France, London, and also some possible dates in the United States and Japan in December. I’ll definitely keep you guys posted on that!
Have you ever been to Europe before and which place in Europe is your favorite place to play/visit?
Honestly, I like Scotland. I love the accents and the castles I just can’t get over it. I love playing in London and also I’d say maybe Italy. That would be my top three. But, if I had to pick one it would be London. The crowd there is so great. They’re always ready for some good music.
For anyone that may discover you and want to listen to your music for the first time -what would you tell them to expect?
Hmm, well I’ve heard some people say Sade meets Nina Simone’. Something like that. (laughs). So I play piano, like classical, I mix it with what I do. A mix of classical and jazz. Real soul. Especially, on this new album. I can’t wait for you to hear it!
Do you have a name yet for the album coming out later this year yet?
Yes, it’s titled Indigo. We’re kind of using the exotic flower theme on this. Like Black Orchid. It’s a rare flower and we landed on Indigo. It’s also a cool color. There’s also an intro song called “Indigo.” It has a rock sound with a classical piano piece under it. And, Kerriam did his thing on the drums.