A versatile performer capable of delighting audiences with her soulful stage presence, Candace Evans has long understood the importance of consistently expanding her strengths as both a vocalist and a pianist. With the release of her second album, “So Nice,” Ms. Evans clearly demonstrates her rare and impressive versatility, as the album features musical genres ranging from blues, swing, Latin jazz and soul.
Ms. Evans has been a mainstay of the Midwest music scene for quite some time now, showcasing the breadth of her abilities in a variety of settings and collaborating with both established and up-and-coming musicians throughout the Kansas City area. A classically trained pianist and vocalist, Ms. Evans can claim over 15 years of experience as a performer and has been a serious student of music since a very early age.
After earning a music scholarship to Kansas University, Ms. Evans ultimately graduated with a degree from Avila College, and during that time she had the benefit of studying under some of the most revered teachers in their respective fields, including renowned stage and theater veteran Lillian Armijo and highly regarded jazz instructor and lecturer Carol Comer, both of whom deeply influenced the career path she has since followed. During college, Ms. Evans also accompanied Kansas City-area theater productions in the park each summer and studied voice with Ms. Armijo at the Backstage Workshop.
Ms. Evans currently resides in Overland Park, Kansas, in the home she shares with her husband, Michael John Mally, her daughter, Kristin, and the family’s two rescue cats. While Candace Evans maintains a demanding schedule that includes recording sessions and frequent travel for live performances, she is nonetheless deeply committed to a number of important charitable causes that include the Symphony League, Reach Out America, the Friends of Alvin Ailey, Swope Parkway Jazz Outreach, the Dream Factory, Heartstrings, the Leukemia Society and the Arthritis Foundation.
What was your best/favorite subject in school?
We had a phenomenal music program that was a part of every level of the school system, and that program played a major role in piquing my initial interest in completely dedicating myself to music.
What was your first job?
My first job involved live music performances — mostly piano, but some vocal performances as well — for special events organized by charities and non-profit groups. It wasn’t long until I met my future husband, Michael J. Mally.
Where and how did you first get into the industry you currently work in?
My parents and teachers encouraged me to be serious about music very early on, so I began my classical training at the age of 8. Once I started, I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t need much more encouragement.
How have those jobs prepared you for what you do now?
My first job helped me develop a sense of poise and really contributed to my desire to consistently expand my musical versatility.
Describe the best day of work you’ve ever had.
The entire experience of recording “So Nice,” was so unbelievably enjoyable because of all the collaboration on the album. It was just a lot of fun to be around so many talented musicians and to create music in so many different genres.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
Playing music is just so much of who I am that there is really no need for me to try to consciously motivate myself. I also get motivation from Michael Mally, my husband. The extra push does help.
What kind of business ideas excite you most?
Bringing diverse skill sets together for collaboration can be very exciting regardless of the industry.
Have you ever tried any unorthodox techniques to attract attention to your business?
I’ve done a few impromptu performances in a number of locations where you wouldn’t expect to find a piano, but I’ve always looked at it as more of a fun thing to do than a planned marketing strategy.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
I have a wonderful family, and we are all very supportive of each other’s personal and professional goals.
What wisdom you would have liked to share with yourself when you first started out?
I would have shared how much fun live improvisation can be and told myself to always be open to performing within different genres or musical styles.