Blackmore’s Night – Candice Night (vocals)
Candice Night is a busy woman. Not only is she a new mother, her band, Blackmore’s Night, will be releasing an album called Autumn Sky later this month. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the group also features Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple and Rainbow fame. SMNnews spoke with Night about the new album and the die hard fans that follow Blackmore’s Night.
Congrats on becoming a mother this past year! How has juggling the music career and the baby responsibilities been going?
Thank you. What an amazing experience this has been. My little girl amazes me every single day. So far, so good. The hardest thing was going on tour when she was 3 months old. I had to leave her home for a month. I skyped her 2ice a day so I got to see her and I recorded a dvd message and lullaby cd for her before I went so she could see and hear me. Next year she will be old enough to travel with us so I am very excited about that. But for right now, we still play and practice and write everyday and she, at 7 months old, watches us so intently! She loves music. Ritchie?s been giving her guitar lessons a couple of times a day since she was 2 months old. She?s now finger picking. It?s crazy. She air-conducts us when we play. Just amazing?
Did having the baby delay the making of Autumn Sky?
No, not at all. I toured the east coast and recorded the cd right up through my 9th month of pregnancy. Actually in my 9th month I came home one day and all my woodwinds were down in the studio waiting for me with the producer and Ritchie. When they told me they needed a 9 piece woodwind ensemble with each part triple tracked as the intro for Journeyman I really thought they were trying to kill me. You don?t have a lot of room to breathe at 9 months pregnant forget about playing some of these instruments which some of them are as long as my leg. But I did it ?cause I?m a sucker for a challenge for better or worse. Now when I listen back to that song I?m so proud that I was able to do it. I gave birth to Autumn about 2 weeks after the producer left.
Do you and Ritchie plan on teaching your child how to play an instrument or are you going to just let time dictate what happens?
She?s been around music her whole life so far and even in utero where, when I wasn?t performing or recording I would put headphones on my belly so she could hear music. She is absolutely entranced by the sound of music. When Ritchie plays guitar, her head swivels around like she?s an owl till she can see him and then she just stares wide eyed watching the whole time he?s playing. When he brings the guitar to her she reaches out with both hands and strums away like a pro. She ?sings? herself to sleep by repeatedly humming until she falls asleep. I play recorders to her and sing to her all the time no matter what we?re doing we make it into songs. She shakes tambourines and plays the casio keyboard when we put it on her highchair.
The funny thing is none of these things have lights or the usual things that attract babies her age to be attracted to them. But she is so drawn to instruments and the sounds they make it?s amazing to watch her. But when it comes to which instrument she feels most akin to ? that?s up to her to decide. We won?t push her in a direction.
Autumn Sky has already been released In Europe. How has the reaction been so far?
It went gold in Russia almost immediately. The press is saying that it?s our best cd to date. But I don?t really listen to anyone else reactions to our music. We love what we?re doing too much to be affected by anyone else?s opinion of what we?re doing. Each cd seems to be a snap shot in time as to where we are true to that particular moment. We keep growing and changing as people, as a band. So the cd?s will reflect that no matter what.
How involved are you with the fans?
I often say that fans are just friends we haven?t met yet. I feel like our fans are so special and genuine. We know so many of them at this point it?s like a family reunion when we all get together. We take requests from the audience when we play concerts. They make compilation cds of their regional traditional tunes in which we have found so much musical inspiration and songs we never would?ve normally discovered had they not given them to us as we toured in their country. I think the most unique story we have about our unique bond with fans is when a great fan of ours and head of our fan club in Germany died suddenly. We were all heart broken when we got the news, we had known he and his wife for many years. His wife contacted us and told us that his last wish was if he was ever to pass he wanted to be buried in our garden. So she flew him over and we had a mini burial ceremony here.
Do you find that there is a common personality trait with most Blackmore?s Night fans?
Just that they are all independent thinkers. They won?t be dictated to by some guy in a 3 piece suit head of a corporation deciding what?s fashionable so they can push millions behind it in marketing and make a 300% return. Our fans are smarter than that. They brave their own path through the woods. They?re been around and they know that what?s considered in, now or fashionable changes every 5 minutes so they don?t buy into the hype. They make up their own minds as to what they like or don?t like. Once they discover our music, they wind up being our most loyal fans. We?re probably the only band you?ll see who, in the audience, will have a goth, next to a hippie, next to a Harley guy, next to a lawyer , next to a 5 year old in a fairies dress, next to a mommy next to an 85 yr old jester. The demographic is so varied you?d never see those people all together in one place. But the men have been following Ritchie forever and they know that the Blackmore brilliance is better now than ever and he?s playing electric, acoustic and other instruments in ways that will blow you away.
The women love the opportunity to dress up, the fantasy and romantic lyrics and the female vocal. Their kids love dressing up as Robin Hood or a princess and enjoy singing the songs together. The grandparents just want melodic music that isn?t a remix of Tony Bennet or Rod Stewart doing the same songs they?ve heard 1000 times. So there is something for everyone, but it?s not anything you?d hear on the radio. It?s an escape from all that.
Has the kind of music that you perform hindered your career in the touring sense? Meaning, has Blackmore?s Night been passed up for some bigger touring opportunities because of it.
No, we have actually turned down a lot of opportunities because we didn?t feel our music fit with the billing or the offer was too far away. We have hundreds of offers come in yearly. We narrow it down to what we want to do and when we want to do it. Besides, playing in 12th century castles around the world beats playing in rock clubs or larger more clinical concert venues any day, for us.
Growing up, what kind of music did you gravitate towards?
When I was very little I was in a lot of theater productions so it was show tunes and my Dad would play big band music around the house. As I got older it was all classic rock. I was a big Rainbow fan actually. And of course I was a child of the 80?s so a lot of bands in that era. Then I got into Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks. But I met Ritchie when I was 18 and all he listened to around the house was Renaissance music. So if I want to listen to anything harder I have to do it secretly in my car!
What do you have planned for 2011? Can we expect another tour?
Of course. We?ll be playing the east coast of the USA in May. Then we tour internationally after that. We usually do a month on the road then a month at home and do that about 4 times a year. So we do Germany and I believe Russia, Scandinavia, UK and maybe Italy or Spain and some other European territories depending on avails and routing.
Do you have any New Year resolutions?
Just to keep doing what we are doing. I love the music we are performing, the places we play, the fans we have and the fact that now we have a daughter is just everything that I could ever want.
Autumn Sky is out in the States on 1/18 and can be pre-ordered here
By Christian A.