BIO

 

In the pursuit of 21st century happiness through social media likes, material possessions, wealth and power, we can become self-absorbed and spiritually discordant. Evolving from a self-centered experience into a place of connectedness and awareness, singer-songwriter Candice Anitra has molded an affirming work of art awash in broad strokes of soul, pop, funk, and rock. She emerges born again in the form of her dynamic aural diptych EP, Narcissus | Echo. Modeled on the epic saga of Greek mythological characters Narcissus and Echo, the breathtaking two-part EP is a sonic altar of confessionals, epiphanies, and redemption songs. “The EPs are mirrors into the dark spots and the shadowed self,” Candice Anitra explains. More than anything, she is aware that the project is an urgent conversation piece reflecting the society we have become. “We need to talk,” she says with an air of immediacy. “We need to be uncomfortable for a little bit.”

 

Candice Anitra’s maiden sonic voyage began in 2008 with her stunning first EP, Easier. She followed up two years later with her full-length debut, Bark Then Bite, produced by Joel Hamilton (Matisyahu, Talib Kweli, Nina Simone). The album received praises from respected media outlets, such as Soul Tracks, Rolling Out, and Soul Bounce. Teaming up with Hamilton yet again, her breathtaking sophomore album, Big Tree, was issued in 2012. At the height of Big Tree’s critical acclaim, CentricTV.com raved about her “endless stage presence,” while legendary musician/recording artist Meshell Ndegeocello remarked that her voice is a “pure and beautiful instrument.” On the heels of the acclaim, Candice Anitra found herself gracing stages at venues such as the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Brooklyn Museum, and the world famous Blue Note and Apollo.

 

Before the dust could settle on the fanfare of Big Tree, Candice Anitra embarked on a musical collaboration with Los Angeles-based hip-hop artist Mustafa Effortless, calling themselves the Love Machine project. A delicious hybrid of hip-hop, soul, rock, and electronica, the fruit of their musical union resulted in the gripping Earth EP in 2013. Amidst of a string of performances in Los Angeles and New York City, the project was vaunted by the likes of SoulTrain.com, SingersRoom.com, and Vibe.com. Following the Earth EP, Candice Anitra entered a deeply reflective period of soul searching and songwriting. “As a result, my spiritual journey deepened,” she says. “It all brought me to a place where I could finally write songs about it.”

 

The culmination of her inner voyage resulted in Narcissus | Echo. After composing the newest musical outing, Candice Anitra called on Hamilton once again to help steer the ship in the studio. Mining the story of Narcissus, a Greek mythological character whose adoration with his own reflection proved to be his own demise, the first EP delves into the paradoxical and cyclical relationship between cause and effect. “Narcissus is self reflective,” explains Candice Anitra. It’s understanding how the same patterns keep coming up in life and how you contribute to that.” Narcissus ventures out with “Don’t Feed The Lions,” a slow, funky tune with glints of rock and soul. “We’ve all been traumatized,” she says. “But what if we don’t feed the dark shadows? What if we just shine a good light on them?”

 

The title track and lead single points the finger with an external conversation of blame and bleary-eyed inquiry. “It’s all about emotional abandonment. You could be talking about a parent, a lover, or yourself. Asking the question, ‘How come you didn’t show up for me?’ ” With an infectious back beat and a reeling throwback soul feel, “Woman” examines the illuminating introspection that has taught her precious lessons untold. “It’s an internal process,” Candice discloses. “Being a good friend to myself, nurturing myself, listening, learning to receive, and being patient.”

 

“What I Am,” a natural progression from “Woman,” makes the liberating trek from internal process to a radiant display of self-affirmation in one fell swoop. “Have you ever seen those women walking down the street?” Candice asks. “It has nothing to do with how she looks. She remembers that she’s divine. We are all divine. You’re seeing yourself when you look at her. This song is honoring that spark inside of us.” Narcissus concludes with “Molecules,” a meditative ode to the miracle of life itself. “I love returning to that home that is inside,” she says. “Instead of lashing out, you just take a breath. And you realize that’s a miracle. You get to a point where you’re just grateful for everything.”

 

The second EP, Echo, functions as a micro-retrospective sonic narrative of Candice Anitra’s marvelous path as a recording artist. Named after a mythological Greek nymph, the EP conversely forays into solution-based territory and pursues a conversation with self. “Boy Crazy,” the popping feature from the 2008 Easier EP, reflects Candice’s movement from voices that suppressed sexuality to celebrating human attraction, while “We Are Love,” from 2010’s Bark Then Bite, finds its influence in California’s controversial Prop 8 ballot initiative to outlaw same-sex marriage. “The notion of voting for human rights is so archaic to me,” says Candice. “This song is a challenge from our future selves.”

 

The bluesy, piano-driven “Objectify (Scotty Hard Remix)” (from Bark Then Bite) was inspired by a video installation at the Brooklyn Museum of Art's Feminist Art Wing. “As a young person, being objectified stunted my growth as I focused more on others’ perceptions of me. This song is a homecoming.” The rich syncopation of “Big Tree,” the 2012 LP title track, rests effortlessly on a sun-bleached Brazilian guitar chord structure. “We are all one and connected,” she affirms. “I find such beauty in nature and find that rather than placing ourselves above nature, the earth, or one another, we all thrive when reverence is given.”

 

Inspired by the tragic 2010 earthquake in Haiti, “Today” (from Big Tree) rides a funky wave of bass guitar licks and fuzzy synths in its plea to take care of one another amidst our vulnerability. “Love Sick” (also from Big Tree) outlines Echo’s dilemma, adeptly connecting it to contemporary issues of the same ilk. “We use the body to sell everything,” says Candice Anitra. “Especially in commercials. They’re selling you the smoke-and-mirrors idea of sensuality. We have such a love-hate relationship with bodies, with sex, with gender.”

 

The artist has historically been charged with the task of ushering in necessary shifts and elevations in humanity. Candice Anitra’s music and artistry undoubtedly exhibit the vision, vulnerability and depth of field necessary to lead the charge. And her new dual EP Narcissus | Echo unequivocally speaks to the heart of the matter. “I’m holding up a mirror. That’s the root. I want people to deconstruct all that, put it all back together again, and create some new ways of being in the process. It’s about time. It’s overdue.”