Singer turns lemons into lemonade

Candice Thornton

The past few months have been particularly hard for performing artists, but a Rocklands songbird has made lemonade from the lemons lockdown gave her.

When she could no longer take to the stage, Candice Thornton, 30, moved her performances online, hosting a vocal academy on Thursdays and a virtual show called #LiveSoulfulSaturdays with Candice Thornton, the last of which she hosted on Saturday August 22.

Candice, the 2012 winner of the GrandWest Open Mic Jazz singing competition, grew up with her parents in Retreat and lived in Muizenberg before moving to Rocklands.

Her father Ivan, introduced her to music at a young age. “It was a special experience with my father as we would jam out at home to his guitar. My life has been centred on music ever since,” she said.

As a young girl, she recalls listening to old soul songs while travelling in the car with her parents.

She joined a jazz band at school with whom she performed at various events.

“I applied to UCT Jazz School but did not make the cut and worked in retail. I knew retail was not going to be my life and joined the Cape Music Institute in Athlone, initially in Kensington in 2010.”

Candice, who marks her 10th year in the industry this year, said while she had made mistakes, they had enabled her to grow. “During lockdown I took time out to focus on my craft and be the best I can be in it,” she said.

Looking back on the past 10 years, she fondly recalled performing with local artists Alistair Izobell, Jonathan Butler and Jonathan Rubain, as well as international RnB star Tevin Campbell at the Grand Arena at GrandWest last year.

The lockdown has been difficult for full-time performers as large events and gatherings have not been allowed since lockdown was implemented.

“We are used to working every week to create our own income,” she said. “The lockdown forced us to be technologically aware of our performances as everyone operates online. It has been financially challenging.”

People have donated funds to her live shows on Saturday to aid the musicians who have performed as well as an album she would like to put out later this year.

Her mother, Lisle Thornton said her daughter was a strong woman who worked hard. “She speaks her mind and is confident in herself. I have seen her grow in her craft and in her life; we are so proud of how far she has come. I am her biggest fan,” she said.

Singer Madeegha Anders, the first wife of the late Taliep Petersen, described Candice as one of the greatest vocalists of this generation. “I enjoy working with her, she is an amazing person. She works really hard and she takes singing to another level,” she said.

For more information about Candice, follow her on Facebook and Instagram.