photo by Jessie Obialor
photo by Jessie Obialor

About Candice Hoyes

Candice Hoyes is one of the most thrilling vocalists of her generation, at once classical, lyrical, and soulful. A voice described by Jazziz Magazine as “sublime yet bluesy,” Hoyes is fluid across genres, quickly turning audiences to fans with her melting expressiveness. Multi-talented in her own right, she is also a noted published writer, presenter, music educator, and public speaker.


The child of Jamaican immigrants, Hoyes grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sade at her grandfather’s knee, while studying classical piano and singing in church. Now poised, she blends her cultural influences to make timeless music. NPR writes: “She’s intentional about making music that reflects the world she lives in as well as sounding great and grooving…Her debut album, On a Turquoise Cloud, showcases Hoyes’ operatic voice and soulful style. It also celebrates the [jazz] genre’s roots.”


On a Turquoise Cloud is her independently-released US album, which she executive produced. Turquoise Cloud, produced by Ulysses Owens Jr., quickly climbed to #10 on the US Jazz charts and defied convention for indie jazz albums when it was selected by SoulTrain “one of the best albums of 2015.” Hoyes recalls, “It was outside the box, but I did submit Turquoise Cloud [to Soul Train] just because the soul lineage means so much to me.”


On a Turquoise Cloud features rare songs spanning Duke Ellington’s career with new arrangements and performances by several of this generation’s jazz luminaries. To find these rarities, Hoyes combed the National Archives for Ellington’s manuscripts, then teamed with producer Owens to celebrate the true innovation of Ellington’s music. Every arrangement on the album was tailor-made for her by distinguished artists, including the late great Joe Temperley, Ted Nash, and Wycliffe Gordon. She also wrote lyrics for two of the songs, and many of these songs have been unrecorded since Ellington. She reflects, “I deeply identified with Ellington’s view that good music needs no category, and as an artist, it frees you of stereotypes and gives you freedom.”


Her musical ascent has been triumphant if unconventional. She graduated from Harvard University, where she was a Fitzie Scholar. She studied classical voice on fellowship at Boston Conservatory, and performed jazz standards at Boston club venues. After graduation, she was admitted to both Columbia Law School and Westminster Choir College for Voice Performance on scholarship, completing both degrees. She was chosen for Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival for Young Artists in Opera, and graced international opera and concert stages. In 2013, she first performed with Wynton Marsalis for his Abyssinian Mass, a formative artistic turning point for her.


In 2016, Hoyes has made her musical presence felt around the world.  In November, the French network TV 5 MONDE, with a global reach of 300 million viewers, broadcast Hoyes performing from her album and a profile of her young life story as part of a documentary on Black American success. She was the featured vocalist on two different programs at Jazz at Lincoln Center: with Ulysses Owens Jr. Quintet in “Celebrating Ellington and Beyond” and as the 5-night run with trumpeter Alphonso Horne. Beyond music venues, Hoyes was invited by TED to give her first TED Salon, a combination of TED TALK and live musical performance on the topic “What Drives Us.” She performed the national anthem introducing Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign. Hoyes was named in BET’s 2016 “Black Girl Power” feature, and was also invited by Google to perform her debut album as part of their 2016 Talks@Google series.


Upcoming and recent engagements include Jazz Lives Philadelphia, On a Turquoise Cloud Live presented by North Carolina Opera, The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, Exit Zero International Jazz Festival, the BET Experience Summer Concert Series in Los Angeles, and Catskill Jazz Factory. She has taught through Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Education department, the United Nations School in NY, and was a visiting lecturer at University of California at Berkeley presenting her album.


More than anything, Hoyes aims to share her music as broadly as possible, and the purity of her music has cleared a path for a uniquely fascinating journey. With “one of the finest recordings, jazz or otherwise, of the last several years,” Hoyes has “started her career with a challenge to every other young artist out there.” (Irish Film Critic) Candice Hoyes is an Earthworks Audio Endorsed Artist.