Circus act

Candice’s dark lyrics and sound are drawing comparisons to Nick Cave

By David Hennessy

“I’m quite concerned that people might think that it’s autobiographical,” exciting new Irish songstress Candice Gordon laughs, speaking about Fairytale of Love and Betrayal, a track from her new mini-album. “It’s somewhat inspired by something that happened so I suppose that is autobiographical, but it’s not to the note. It’s not like I had a boyfriend who cheated on me who I then killed and made into a pie. I just want to put that out there.”

The Irish World is suitably reassured not to read too much into the lyrics of this particular track where Candice angrily spits: ‘Somebody’s been eating my porridge, and someone’s been in my bed, someone’s been f**king my boyfriend.. off with his head’. Produced by Shane MacGowan, Candice’s six-track mini-album Before the Sunset Ends has marked her out as a talent to keep an eye on.

Her vivid lyrics are as dark as her own back story is colourful. After spending her early years in Namibia and Botswana, Candice relocated to Kilbarrack, Dublin at the age of six. At the age of eighteen, she joined the circus which took her around Croatia. Now based in Berlin, Candice has also lived in London and France.

It was while the singer with sultry tones was employed for a circus activity that she met The Pogues’ frontman in Dublin: “I was a professional juggler and I was working one night in this club. Shane was there with his girlfriend, Kate Moss and Pete Doherty: It was about the time that they (Moss and Doherty) were the big circus going on. My boss called me and told me that Kate Moss had requested that I juggle in their VIP section, so I went up to juggle and everyone was gone except for Shane. Shane was just sitting there and he wasn’t even watching. Actually he was chatting to some guy so that was quite funny. Then he called me over and asked me if I wanted a drink and we ended up chatting and becoming friends, and the rest is history.”

Shane MacGowan met Candice when she was juggling at a club in Dublin

With Shane so well known for debauchery, it is almost easy to forget about Candice’s producer’s expertise in the studio: “He’s very spontaneous. He’s open minded and free spirited, which I’m sure you know, which means it’s very fruitful creatively so he has a lot of great ideas which is great as a producer. It was an amazing experience, absolutely a dream.”

Candice’s gothic sound is reminiscent of Nick Cave. Is this something she can hear herself or has heard from other people before? “It’s definitely something that a lot of people have said to me. I wouldn’t have thought of Nick Cave while I was writing and recording it. I think maybe we come from the same sort of influences. There are not so many people doing this dark style. It’s quite folky but then not in the sentiment. I think a lot of folk music is kind of cute so it’s folk with a lot of influences from blues and stuff. We played on the same stage as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds a couple of weeks at Body and Soul in Ireland. That was a really amazing experience, we were on just a couple of acts before him. That gig was absolutely amazing and then we had dinner with them after. It was really nice.”

Candice will be playing The Islington in London on Friday July 19 before she plays the main stage at Truck Festival in Oxford this Saturday July 20. Ash, Foy Vance and Gaz Coombes are just a few of the high profile acts who are also playing Truck Festival and getting to play on the main stage is an indication of how quickly Candice’s profile is rising: “That was a total surprise to me because I couldn’t remember that I had put myself forward for it and so they just contacted last month, saying: ‘Do you want to do this?’ I was quite sort of surprised. We’ve played Bestival a couple of times but we haven’t really done the festival circuit in the UK. It’s kind of getting to the point now that people are contacting me and offering me a show whereas before I was knocking on every door.”

Has such a diverse background helped Candice in her creativity? “I think my interest in different music and different culture probably does come from travelling because that huge move (from Botswana to Ireland) was quite a culture shock but it gave me this sense of a wandering spirit and ever since that move, I’ve wanted to move so that’s why I lived in France and in London and travelled to Croatia, Turkey and Asia and America and everything. And whenever I do travel, I love finding new music or old music which is new to me. There seems to be a connection in some way or another between everywhere that I’ve been. It’s quite amazing how they have similarity. It seems like we all come from the same place anyway.”

Before the Sunset Ends by Candice Gordon is out now. Candice plays The Islington in London on July 19 and Truck Festival, Oxford on July 20. For more information, go to: http://www.candicegordonmusic.com/.

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