Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

"A lot of people are emulating someone else, but she does her own thing," Liquid 8 president Mason Munoz says of his label's rising Santa Barbara, Calif.-based artist, Kirstin Candy. "She has her own sense of style and great audience rapport onstage, and her album has great songs and players -- and is very well-produced."

Candy's confidence could derive from advice she got from industry veterans, particularly the counsel that an aspiring star should start by trying to "take over your own town," recalls Candy, who played locally three to five times a week, writing constantly and honing her already estimable performance skills. She also released a pair of self-produced albums and plied the California coast, developing a fan base and making significant networking headway in Los Angeles. These nonstop efforts, including the formation of a heavyweight music marketing team, culminate with the Aug. 20 release of "Another Sweet Mess" on Escalator Records, via the BMG-distributed Liquid 8.

"Another Sweet Mess" features such stellar musicians as Jim Keltner, Steve Ferrone, Ivan Neville, Cracker's Johnny Hickman, and Counting Crows' David Immergluck, and was produced by Don Smith (Keith Richards, John Hiatt). As Candy, a classically trained pianist who sang gospel in church as a kid, notes, Smith was fully amenable to her studio goals.

"I told him that I wanted to find a sound that suited me and tied together all my different influences, because I come from a lot of different places musically and feel comfortable playing any kind of song -- even if it's not homogenized. He helped me relax and let the songs be what they are."

The songs reflect her resolve "to get back in touch with loving music." Hence, "Let It Flow" concerns "what I was going through when I was at the crossroads of whether or not to recommit myself to that dream of pursuing music." On the lighter side, "Money" is based on Candy's experience of nearly having her car repossessed.

Candy has live performance dates scheduled throughout July in the California towns of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and Concord. Visit her official Web site to see her current itinerary.





Excerpted from the July 6, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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