An ambassador for “the realness of jazz and soul”, Kandace Springs may only be 27 years old, but in the last 10 years has established herself as a true artist: versatile, emotionally open and in full command of her talents. She was only 17 when she attracted the attention of production duo Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers (masterminds behind hits by the likes of Rihanna and Christina Aguilera) while honing her skills playing piano in a downtown Nashville hotel at night. The duo would soon be joined by Blue Note president Don Was and undisputed genius Prince in praising Springs’ talent – the latter inviting her out to his Paisley Park complex to perform with him during 30th-anniversary celebrations for Purple Rain. Though based in country music’s capital, Springs’ talents run the gamut from country to soul, R&B and jazz, with influences as varied as Roberta Flack, Billie Holiday and Norah Jones.
Having released a self-titled R&B/hip-hop-tinged EP in 2014 (overseen by Rihanna and Nicki Minaj producers Pop & Oak), Springs is now set to release her debut full-length album, Soul Eyes, though Blue Note on 1 July. With Grammy-winning producer Larry Klein (Melody Gardot, Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock) on board, along with Rogers and Sturken, Soul Eyes sees Springs truly finding herself on record. Noting that Prince told her she “needed to do what comes naturally”, Springs says, “This new record is just right where it should be.” With original songs including ‘Rain Falling’ (dating back to Springs’ teens), and co-writes ‘Fall Guy’, ‘Novocaine Heart’ and ‘Too Good To Last’ sitting alongside covers such as War’s ‘The World Is A Ghetto’ and the jazz classic that stands as the album’s title track, Soul Eyes captures Springs exactly where she is as an artist, showcasing her full range and nodding towards some of her influences. If the eyes are the window to the soul, Soul Eyes will offer a remarkable look at one of the finest emerging talents of her generation.