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Candice Anitra hates boxes. Not in a weird, pygmachophobia way. It’s the rigidly corrugated musical categories that both perplex and perturb her. So much so that at times, Candice likens her musical existence to feeling like a stranger on earth. “Humans like for you to say what your identifying labels are,” she points out. “Once you do that, you have to stay in that category. If you do anything else, it confuses them.” Embodying the subtle rapture of Joan Armatrading, the robust confidence of Meshell Ndegeocello, and the thespian gender inquisition of Cheryl Dunye, the left-of-soul singer-songwriter has learned that it’s much easier to buck convention than to live a futile existence of the square peg in a round hole. “The thing I’m embracing and having the most fun with is that it’s ok to be the me that I’ve always been all along.” Hailing from a planet called Philadelphia, the Brooklyn-based songstress was reared in a musical family rooted in the glorious sounds of the local church choir. “Music was a big part of our household,” she says. “My father’s love of music and his writing music was something that was very special and important early on.” However, many years passed before the impetus to find her voice struck. “I always considered myself as an artist. By the time I was interested in singing, I asked my father to teach me. And he told me I wasn’t ready yet. For many years, I battled that comment.” Candice set sail for New York University’s heralded Tisch School of the Arts after graduation and immersed herself in the fertile artistic environs of New York City. Enrolled in a self-scripting curriculum, Candice was molded into the image of a triple threat. Relishing the liberating new experience, Candice expanded her horizons and sharpened her talent as a writer with aplomb. Yet she remained on the fence with regards to the strength of her vocal talents. But her indecision would soon fade. In 2002, a post-collegiate Candice stumbled upon a musical outlet by assuming lead vocal duties for a local NYC band called True Story. By 2006, Candice had written a Dali-esque stage play centered on black women entitled The Ripple Effect and had begun instructing a youth theater workshop. By that time, True Story had disbanded, but serendipity would find her crossing paths with a former classmate, which would prove to be her entry into the realm of songwriting. Candice’s most recent video, for the female powered anthem “Too Much Woman,” makes its own statement and has quickly reached thousands of views. Featuring live actors backed by illustrated technicolor settings, Candice faces derogatory and inhibiting comments, to which she responds by drawing boxes around the perpetrators, effectively caging them in, as she chastises their disrespect. The surreal illustrated backgrounds contrast with the serious subject matter and position Candice as a confident woman who will not let others confine nor define her, true to her vision as a person and artist. Candice is currently working on her Big Treee album. Soon after the earthquake that shook Haiti on January 12, 2010, a photograph of a mountain of dead bodies gripped Candice Anitra. The shared humanity screamed out, and raw emotion compelled Anitra to compose a song as a reminder that we are all connected and vulnerable, living on one shared earth, and responsible for supporting one another. On the second anniversary of the devastation, and in advance of the release of Anitra's sophomore album, Big Tree, Candice is released the track, "Today," with a video for the song, in order to raise still-much-needed funds to improve lives in Haiti.
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