Inspiring People

Singer, Songwriter Candice Anitra

Candace Anitra

Hailing from Philadelphia, the Brooklyn-based songwriter and songstress Candice Anitra was reared in a musical family whose voices were limited to home and church. When the adolescent impetus to find her own voice struck, she was stifled by her father's telling her she “wasn't ready.� After high school, Candice set sail for New York University's heralded Tisch School of the Arts. There, she discovered her vocal prowess and by 2006, a post-collegiate Candice had written a stage play, instructed a youth theater workshop, and assumed lead vocal duties for a local NYC band. Though the band dissolved, former classmates Ion & Sanford, who as Force Theory Productions scored award-winning films Favela Rising and Jesus Camp, jumped to produce Candice's maiden solo musical voyage, the 2008 EP Easier. During the tracking of Easier at his Studio G, Joel Hamilton swooned over Candice's single, “Objectify,� and he readily signed on to helm Candice's 2010 full-length debut, Bark Then Bite, a critically acclaimed odyssey of dynamic sound and talent. The album included a royal remix of “Objectify� from producer Scotty Hard. Most recently, Candice headed back to Studio G with Hamilton to record her remarkable sophomore effort, Big Tree. Backed by an acoustic guitar loop and earthy bass line, Candice uses the title track to highlight the parallels between the human being and one of nature's most sturdy species of flora. The supercharged lead single “Love Syick� probes the media's influences on youth sexualization debuts February 14, 2012. Another single off the album, "Today," premiered on January 12, 2012, exactly two years after the Haiti earthquake, as a funk-laden tribute to raise funds for lives in Haiti. Collectively and individually, the tracks on Big Tree are a mellifluous yet audacious blend of the delicious oft overlooked spaces between the genres. Taking the emotional bumps in the road and sewing a thread of commonality through them using euphonic bits of this and that is a sacred pastiche art that Candice Anitra has mastered simply by looking within. Don't miss her at: Feb 10th - Apollo Music Cafe, March 3rd- Vegetarian Food Fest-- The Metropolitan Pavilion -- 125 West 18th St, NYC, March 24th- Indie Soul Mixer - The Underground -- 955 West End Ave, NYC ,March 30th and 31st- Warm Daddy's- Philadelphia, April 3rd- Ben's Next Door- 1211 U St. NW -- D.C., April 5th- DROM - 85 Avenue A - NYC

Candice Anitra is a singer who believes that a song must be drawn from the heart and her songs are a reflection of a woman who courageously lives her convictions. Her strength and determination are second only to her grace and quiet charm. Candice quiet force whose music inspires and encourages others to find their own voice.

DR: I am sitting here today with Candice Anitra, Singer, Songwriter and, how else would you characterize yourself?

CA: I am somebody who is very interested in exposing the warts and the bumps and the "unsightly".

I think we have a lot in common when we talk about our vulnerabilities and what scares us and what motivates us and what our triggers are. I think that is the rich territory and where art comes from. Good conversation where you are moved in your heart...

DR: You are the first person who has ever said that in the same way that I think it. I really believe that when people are willing to be vulnerable and candid, especially about the “unsightly� as you put it, I also think that that is exactly where the poetry begins.

CA: That's where we grow! That's where we dance! It's where we get to go with the flow instead of denying and hiding behind a mask...

DR: How does your music evolve out of that thinking?

CA: For me music and writing and the poetry that comes out of that is something that I need. It's like breathing. If I am feeling overwhelmed, over stimulated or whatever the emotion is, I have to move it through me. It's healing to me to have an emotion or a feeling and pour it into a song. That is where I have the most joy but it is also very hard to explain.

I hear things. I know how to "tune in"...

DR: What are you working on right now and what internal place is that coming from?

CA: I had Bell's Palsy and I am recovering very quickly...

DR: Can you explain what Bell's Palsy is?

CA: Bell's Palsy is a nerve inflammation that produces weakness or paralysis in one side of the face. One day I had a mysterious headache that was not quite in my head but was more in my jaw. I never had nerve issues before so I couldn't even articulate it. Eventually it became very painful so I called the doctor and described my symptoms. She thought it was a gland infection and prescribed antibiotics and told me to come see her on Monday. By Monday the right side of my face was drooping.

It's mostly better.

I went to acupuncture for the first time. I...

DR: Love it!

CA: Love it!

DR: So love it...

CA: So much...

DR: Acupuncture is so amazing isn't it? What is so great is that it's not invasive so your body can heal itself without the trauma of surgical cutting and medicine with its wretched side effects...

CA: I think it is really amazing.

DR: Yeah. Plug for the acupuncture!

CA: Anyway, Bell's Palsy? Temporary. Generally most people will get full function back in their face and, I have and I'm so grateful.

Now I am at a point where I am digging deeper and really letting go of old ways of being that I have outgrown, like thinking of myself as “a working class girl who shouldn't spend money� or that “there is only enough for some people�. I am trying to let go of all the stuff that I think contributes to me getting sick. It really just comes down to me loving myself.

You can love yourself more. You can do that. I am at a point where I am practicing loving me and loving other people more. I am doing a lot of forgiveness meditation and lining my spirit up with what I want...

DR: Do you write about these things?

CA: I write about all of that. I have a song that I am writing right now about I have a song that I am writing right now about approving of yourself and stopping the self-criticism that gets in the way of things you want to be doing.

For Haiti: "Today" by Candice Anitra

New York (January 9, 2012) Philly born/Brooklyn based singer/songwriter Candice Anitra has finished up in the studio her eagerly awaited sophomore project Big Tree, which will see a release on March 28th, 2012 world-wide.

One of the songs off the danceable/soul endeavor was inspired by the devastating Earthquake in Haiti. The song “Today� marks 2 years later and addresses mother nature, emotion and our vulnerability.

Soon after the earthquake shook Haiti on January 12, 2010, a photograph of a mountain of dead bodies gripped Candice Anitra. The shared humanity screamed out, and raw emotion compelled Anitra to compose a song as a reminder that we are all connected and vulnerable, living on one shared earth, and responsible for supporting one another. On the second anniversary of the devastation, and in advance of the release of Anitra's sophomore album, Big Tree, Candice is releasing the track, "Today," with a video for the song, in order to raise still-much-needed funds to improve lives in Haiti.

The song and video invoke a sense of urgency, and viewers are encouraged to name their price to download the song from,from which all proceeds will benefit the people of Haiti, via Partners in Health's construction of the 180,000 square foot, 320-bed Mirebalais National Teaching Hospital that will change the face of public health care in Haiti.

DR: As a mother of two daughters, do you write for them?

CA: I do write for them. Music is a big part of how we enjoy each other. They are my main inspiration because I want to be able to tell them “Dream it big and go get it! Even if mommy seems like she is not on board with your dream I want you to dream it anyway.�

I really try to be a mirror for them by staying on message.

DR: What are you working on now and is that a dream that you are fulfilling somehow?

CA: I just recorded my second full-length album and out of that album has come a song called Today which is inspired by the earthquake in Haiti. What I was really getting at in the song is that in crisis we are “all over it� but in between times we are not as thoughtful. We are not as kind. I really think that place is interesting. How can we carry all of the crisis management skills - like caring for our fellow human being - how can we carry that throughout our lives. Why can’t that be the way we live in the world? We all have this wisdom inside of us and we should tap into that as opposed to hiding what is precious to us.

The album is called Big Tree. It’s called Big Tree because I think that trees are resilient and I think that is such a beautiful metaphor for human beings. We can weather all kinds of storms and somehow even out of the worst circumstances or biggest challenges, beautiful things are born.

DR: How do you personally deal with challenges or how do you deal with difficult circumstances?

CA: I think the thing that people need to do is give themselves a break. I think we are all afraid and have hiccups and bumps and things that can get in the way of our path. I think it’s important to forgive yourself.

I was living for a long time as small - just big enough. I didn’t want to take attention from other people or draw light to myself because maybe what I have to say isn’t so eloquent or perfect. I got stuck in that cycle. I want the music that I write, the words that I am using, to encourage other people to go toward the fear as opposed to running away. Seize the opportunity to learn a lesson…

DR: So have the thought and just move forward anyway?

CA: Yes. Have the thought and just move. I have my fear but I have a louder voice that I am cultivating.

DR: A hundred years from now what do you want to be remembered for?

CA: Encouraging people to tell their stories. I think when you are really able to hear the voice inside of you, you are a benefit to everyone around you. I want to encourage a legacy that encourages people to get a little messy instead of creating these little perfect super-polished exteriors. What if we allowed ourselves to get messy? What innovations could come out of that?

Thanks Candace!

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