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If you’re in need of a new obsession, Kandace Springs is your godsend. Springs’s forceful and textured voice is the stuff legends are made of.
Springs proves again to be one of today’s best voices.
Citing Nina Simone as her inspiration, Springs evinces a similarly powerful beauty, a satin ’n sinew verve, though her soul-infused sound more strongly suggests Cassandra Wilson by way of Whitney Houston.
Every so often a new singer emerges who is able to assimilate multiple musical touchstones and still come off sounding remarkably fresh and unburdened by the past. Kandace Springs is one of those artists. Her 2020 album, The Women Who Raised Me, adheres sonically to jazz while Springs travels back and forth across a near-century of music. Springs covers the women who inspired her while she was growing up, putting her own spin on songs associated with a dozen of the greatest female vocalists of all time: Ella Fitzgerald, Roberta Flack, Astrud Gilberto, Lauryn Hill, Billie Holiday, and more.
Produced by Larry Klein, who also produced Springs’s 2016 album Soul Eyes, the album captures Springs in the studio with a spare but able band who all have ties to the artists honored here: guitarist Steve Cardenas (Norah Jones), bassist Scott Colley (Carmen McRae), and drummer Clarence Penn (Diana Krall). They played live, underscoring the power of Springs’s voice and hands, as well as her gift for moving between singers’ intonations and legacies while staying herself.
Producer’s Circle member Tom G.