'Sweet Like Candi'
Hailing from the Jersey Shore, hip-pop newcomer Candi Lynn sets her sights at the top of the charts with her debut album, ILLMISSBEHAVIN. A sweet mixture of sugary pop hooks and edgy hip-hop beats, Candi Lynn brings street-style pop to the forefront.
With tracks influenced by diva-pop icons like Britney Spears, Fergie and Pink, Candi Lynn successfully kicked off the album release by teaming up with Jersey Shore teen store, Mandee, where she met with fans and signed autographs. Saccharine and sexy, ILLMISSBEHAVIN is the guilty pleasure you’ve been waiting for.
Exclusive Magazine caught up with Candi Lynn and discussed the new album, the catchy lead single ‘Hey Gurl’ and her savvy, no-holds-barred approach to the music business.
Your music has its roots in hip-hop, pop and R & B. Who were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? "My musical influences growing up were TLC, Alanis Morissette, Christina Aguilera, Eminem, Jay-Z, Pink, Rise Against, Linkin Park, Beyonce, many more, plus house and freestyle music as well. I still listen to all of them to one extent or another. Just depends on the moment I’m in."
You have just released your debut album, ‘ILLMISSBEHAVIN’. As an up-and-coming artist, how would you describe the sound and style of your music? "I would describe it as unique. I don’t limit myself or my style to one thing. I do what I feel and keep an open mind. The sound is a mix of elements -- Hip-hop, rock, pop, R&B. That’s why I say it is unique."
The new album was released on your independent label, Ill Miss Musick, which you co-own with your manager/mother. Tell us a little about Ill Miss Musick and why you decided to start your own label "Ill Miss Musick stands for IM Musick, which is what my music is. The music that a producer and I make does not pertain to one genre. That’s where IM Musick steps in. We started our own label because we were blessed with the ability and wherewithal to do it. It just makes sense with the state of the music industry at this moment."
You’ve taken a rather interesting approach to promote your music, teaming up with East Coast clothing store, Mandee, in publicizing the new album. Describe this venture and how it’s creating a buzz for the new album "Well we found something that works for me as an artist, and I think that is what you need to do. I love Mandee clothing store, I have been shopping there for years. The turnout at my first show went awesome! I sold 47 iLLMissBehavin CDs which is absolutely amazing. The Mandee people were happy because it brought people into the store, and we’re already working together on plans to expand the relationship. I believe it’s creating a great buzz for me since my music does pertain to women of all ages. And what better way to do that than in a women’s clothing store?"
You co-wrote all 15 songs on ‘ILLMISSBEHAVIN’. Tell us a little about your writing process; how do you find inspiration and where do you feel the most creative? "The writing process is different with every song. I might have something written already, and just need the producer to put a beat behind it. Or I might write to a beat. So the writing process is never the same. Where I find inspiration is through everything in life. Inspiration comes from everything around you. It’s just what you happen to take in, at a certain moment. As far as where I feel most creative. I’d have to say when I am not thinking, and when I am feeling."
The music video for your lead single “Hey Gurl” features a cameo by rapper Mr. Cheeks (2001’s hit song ‘Lights, Camera, Action!’). Tell us a little more about the music video; what was it like to shoot and what can viewers expect to see? "The video was shot in a club and also at a school in Queens. The shoot was great. I am not camera shy at all. My mother has has always had a camera in my face since I was really young, so the shooting part was a piece of cake. The video starts with me with two dancers doing a talent show, then switches to a dream sequence, which is when the club part comes in. Mr. Cheeks was one of the judges for the talent show. He’s very cool and down to earth. All in all, it was a great day."
How easy or hard is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderments and accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "Like I said before, the music I make comes from me being me, of not limiting my style or energy to anything or anyone. So I think the producer also plays a part in that answer. I write the lyrics and certainly have input on the music, but I do not control the mixing board."
You had a difficult childhood as a domestic violence survivor who was raised by your single mother. How has the hard knocks of life helped to make you the person you are today? "See, I was very lucky and very blessed to have a mother who listened to her instincts and got up and left my abusive step father when she had no idea what her next step in the world would be. Imagine going through that while she was caring for three small children, and only being 18 years old. So I believe her instincts and her drive and strength for getting out of the situation she was in taught my sister, my brother, and myself that it’s not okay to be treated like that on any level, mentally, or physically."
"It made me stronger, to the point of recognizing that I would like to help women and children of domestic abuse who feel they have no way out, because they do. Life is filled with choices. If you keep your feet grounded and listen to that inner voice and take one step at a time -- even if you don’t know where you are going or where your next meal is coming from -- something will always come to you. As long as your following that inner voice."
Your song “Bitch, Please” is a tongue-in-cheek warning to all the haters in the world. As a young, beautiful and rising star, have you experienced much criticism from others who may be jealous of your success? If so, how do you deal with the negativity? "OH YES! I’ve experienced criticism and jealousy from many people. I actually do not let the negativity bother me. I don’t think about it, ‘cause if I do then I am doing down to their level, and nothing comes from that but more animosity. The important thing is that I believe in myself and what I am doing. “Bitch Please” is more poking fun at the haters than hating on the haters. It’s actually a thank you to them because they are talking about me. Even if it might be negative, they’re giving me free publicity!"
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today and why? "Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy” because it is such a true song. We all get caught up in the demands of the world, and we just simply need to stop worrying and find that happiness within ourselves. When we do that, things will then come to us naturally. Besides what’s the sense in worrying?"
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine loves penguins do you? "I do love penguins! I think it’s enlightening how they search for, and stay with their one mate for life."
Interview: Erin M. Stranyak
For more information on pop’s newest princess, check out on the official Candi Lynn website, Myspace page and Youtube sites!
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