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Candice Hoyes

Born of Jamaican parents and raised in South Florida, Candice Hoyes began studying piano at age six, and began singing in professional children’s theater at age 11. She attended Harvard, where she won the Fitzie Prize, providing her voice lessons at Boston Conservatory and sang live jazz and soul throughout Boston. She was selected by Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival for Young Artists in Opera for classical training, and has a Masters in Voice Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College.

Hoyes taps her classical and jazz influences to render a vocal style all her own, and pursue a range of repertoire. As a classical singer, she performs in six languages, and has sung leading operatic roles at international opera festivals as well as Carnegie Hall and BAM’s Gilman Opera House. On the jazz scene, she increasingly performs in clubs and concert halls, accompanied by acclaimed musicians like Eric Reed, Wycliffe Gordon, Adam Birnbaum, and Ulysses Owens.

In March 2015, Hoyes released her debut album, On a Turquoise Cloud, an enchanting collection of Duke Ellington’s rarely recorded songs for soprano. With a vibrant contrast of songs that span Ellington’s career, On a Turquoise Cloud features new arrangements and performances by several of this generation’s jazz luminaries. She also penned lyrics for two of the songs.

Her recent work with Jazz at Lincoln Center marked an artistic turning point, and the catalyst for this project. As a singer in Wynton Marsalis’s Abyssinian Mass with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Hoyes began to focus on pursuing specific repertoire that calls upon both her point of view and vocal range. “The artists in the Orchestra pursue their individual projects, whereas singers often wait to be selected,” she remarks. “Once I was exposed to that kind of freedom, that musical appetite to create, I saw myself in it, and I began seeking new ways to grow.”

Hoyes was invited to return to JALC to perform a concert of Ellington’s sacred music with their Youth Orchestra, which inspired her to do further research on his rare songs for soprano at the Smithsonian’s Ellington archive. Hoyes teamed with producer Ulysses Owens Jr., who celebrates the timeless beauty of Ellington’s music as well as the innovative way he used the soprano voice. “Candice has the vocal gifts and heart to serve this music in a class by herself. As I created the overall sound, I remained focused on surrounding that voice with the richest sound possible.” Every arrangement on On a Turquoise Cloud was tailor-made for her by distinguished artists, a list that includes Ulysses Owens Jr., Ted Nash, Vincent Gardner, Wycliffe Gordon, Kenny Rampton, and Adam Birnbaum. In the big picture, Hoyes is eager to restore these songs to their rightful cultural legacy, by sharing them with contemporary audiences.

Hoyes released On a Turquoise Cloud in concert on March 23, 2015 at jazz institution, Minton’s Harlem, and she performs at NYC concert venues and jazz clubs with increasing regularity. This season, she appears as the guest vocalist in “Wycliffe Gordon and Friends” at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola and at Ginny’s Supper Club performing music from the album. She kicks off the 2015 BET Experience concert featuring Deborah Cox, Chrisette Michele, and Jordin Sparks at Los Angeles’ Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Pavilion. Upcoming appearances featuring Hoyes and her band include Minton’s Harlem and Whynot Jazz Room.