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:: Spotlight :: Candice Alley - Falling Into Place

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

From a young age, Melbourne singer-songwriter Candice Alley had a passion for singing. Of an Italian background (she comes from the well-known Giannarelli family), she began writing songs as young as twelve years of age and began learning piano by ear with the Beatles classic “Let It Be”. There was a obvious talent that has now reached the stage where Candice, at age 21, has already scored a hit single earlier this year with “Falling”, and now has a self-titled debut album out.

These are very impressive beginnings for a young artist whose potential led to her signing a record deal with Universal Music Australia. Her family has been very supportive and she absorbed their musical tastes of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Eagles and many others. By learning to play piano solely, she created her own voice and sound. “I didn’t know anything about how you were supposed to play and in the melodies. I just played for myself and brought out my own unique sound, she explains. As a teenager, her parents took her to concerts performed by Madonna and Michael Jackson. That reinforced her desire and she had a real buzz out of those experiences. Although she was a good student and sporty, music took over her life when she was sixteen. It was then that she wrote “Falling”.

“My parents have always been there for me, even when I told them that I was going to leave school to pursue song writing. They knew what I wanted and that I wasn’t just going to stay around home wasting time.” It didn’t take long for things to happen for Candice. Then President of Universal Music Australasia, Peter Bond, took an instant liking for Candice’s voice and natural talent. Soon after speaking to an assured Candice, the deal was done and the development stage had begun.

Part of the process involved Candice going to London to team up with producer Peter Vettese, who’d worked with Annie Lennox and Mel C to name a few. Candice recalls London as a real eye-opening experience. “Musically, I found the city very dance-orientated. The good thing here in Australia is that we have enough balance of every genre of music. London was dance, dance, and dance. However, the people I worked with weren’t. London was terrific for song writing purposes. It was good for me to have different surroundings. It brought more songs out of me that I would never have written at home.”

Her new album showcases a smooth, self-confident performer who will only grow with experience. “Falling” made an immediate impression with the Australian public, and other tracks fulfil the melody-laden, insightful writing that is evident for someone still very young. Her latest single, “Dream The Day Away” contains an effective dance beat and is one of the album’s highlights. She said, “I was totally happy with this song. That was the song I wrote with Trevor Steele and John Holliday. They also produced the track.”

In talking about her ability to mature and develop as a singer-songwriter, Candice explains, “I just think that I have grown. I will always be motivated to express myself through music and that’s what drives me.” Apart from acknowledging the old rock-pop stars with which she grew up, Candice adores the song writing capabilities of Coldplay’s Chris Martin. “I would love to work with Chris Martin. Just to sit there on a piano and write with him would be fantastic and interesting.”

So far, Candice hasn’t performed in concert. I asked Candice about the next phase of her career. “I will do a lot of in-store appearances around Australia. The upcoming period is generally packed with these. There are no plans to tour and play concerts as yet. We’ll get a band together soon. I’ve been performing acoustically, which I like. It’s good for people to hear the songs the way I learnt them. I like playing the stripped-back versions.” It looks certain that 2004 will see Candice continue her successful beginnings and demonstrate her undeniable talent. She is very assured in what she wants to do – very much her own person.

It’s interesting to note that her talent reached such a point where Universal chief Bond left his position to launch a management company. Candice Alley is the first artist under his helm. She speaks very highly of him. “It was nice to meet someone like Peter to give me a chance to develop what I have. He always had an answer to my questions and, musically, we like the same things. It was great to click with someone like that.”