Baking Spirits Bright! Candace Lynn Matthews

Meet The Artist:

Hello, Thank you so much for your time and support!

I am a Bronx Native of Puerto Rican and Chilean descent. I am a Soprano Classically trained Opera Singer, amateur baker and wine enthusiast. I currently live in Westchester with my lovely partner Sammy Wags who produced, played drums, mixed and mastered “Baking Spirits Bright”.

Brief history of your musical career

After receiving my bachelors from the conservatory at SUNY Purchase College and Masters from The Aaron Copland School of Music. I made my first professional debut as Maria in Opera North’s production of West Side Story. Other credits I've been fortunate to be a part of include: Soprano Soloist at Carnegie Hall, Susana Cover and Ensemble in the Off-Broadway production of Figaro! (90210), featured Ensemble member of New York City Opera’s World premier of Stonewall and was featured singing on Season 4 Ep 13 of the acclaimed Netflix drama, Orange is the New Black. Recently, due to COVID I have been doing alot of virtual performances and collaborations such as the “Chase the Moon” virtual music series.

And since this is a Christmas blog, Maybe share a fun Christmas memory or just something that really gives you the Holiday feels.

Puerto Rican Pastels
Puerto Rican Pastels

Because of my Hispanic heritage, we always celebrated on the Eve of Christmas with a feast of traditional Puerto Rican Pastels, the Spanish version of EggNog called Coquito and of course opening up presents at the stroke of Midnight! It's all about food and family for me, they always give me the feels!

What can listeners expect from your new Christmas album?

It is a warm, vintage-inspired classic holiday jazz sound, based around a classic jazz piano trio sound. I find there are plenty of modern sounding Christmas songs and recordings, but I wanted to give a more nostalgic offering, since that's where I always gravitate to during the holidays. The crackling of the fire and the crackling of an old Christmas record just go hand-in-hand. I hope the album sounds right at home on your favorite classic christmas playlist between Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald.

What will the song mix be like (More covers, more original?)

I started with over 20 songs, there are just so many great options, but then narrowed it down to a final nine. Most of the songs are classic covers from the American Christmas Jazz canon. For a more unique offering, I wanted to include Sally’s Song from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" as I have a love for all things Tim Burton and I believe his collaboration with Danny Elfman for this film is just superb. It is a Christmas movie and soundtrack that's not always a part of the usual traditions, but sonically we felt like it could fit it in with the other selections, and still maintain the overall "vibe" we were going for. I also wanted to feature the band for one instrumental number, so we chose the classic “I’ve got my love to keep me warm” for that.

What are you drawing from for inspiration on the album?

I listened to a lot of the icons growing up such as Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole, especially during the Holidays, so I wanted to pay homage to them and offer another take of some of my all-time favorite songs, regardless of them being holiday themed.

How has this differed from creating a non holiday album?

I have only recorded an EP prior to this, which was over 10 years ago, so that alone was a new challenge to record again and put together the whole package. I also find it can be quite difficult to avoid sounding cliche on a Christmas album, or just re-treading the same overdone path. With so many recordings by so many prestigious artists, I really wanted to showcase my unique take on jazz with a classical twist, and try to throw some unique choices in the mix that help to stand out from the norm.

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