Candace Evans – Creator of So Nice

Candace Evans is a pianist and vocalist who has been an integral part of the Midwestern music scene for well over 15 years. An impressively well-rounded performer just as comfortable with jazz improvisation as she is with firmly structured pieces of classical music, Ms. Evans has performed across a wide range of musical genres while playing in some of the Kansas City area’s most popular venues.

Exhibiting a clear talent for music at an early age, Ms. Evans began her classical training as an eight-year-old and routinely earned recognition for her abilities as both a pianist and a vocalist. Her talent earned her a scholarship to Kansas University, and she ultimately earned a degree from Avila College while studying under Lillian Armijo at the famed Backstage Workshop.

Known to audiences throughout the Midwestern states for her frequent live performances, Ms. Evans is also a successful recording artist whose most recent album is titled “So Nice,” and features some of the most prominent and talented members of the Kansas City jazz scene. A resident of Overland Park, Kansas, Candace Evans enjoys spending her time away from music with her wonderful and supportive husband, Michael Mally, her daughter, Kristin, and the family’s two rescue cats.

Where did the idea for “So Nice” come from?

I had played with a lot of the artists appearing on the album during live performances and recording sessions, and there was just so much energy that we felt it was a wonderful idea to put an album together.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I keep my schedule quite flexible, but I typically begin with my daily vocal exercises followed by an hour or so of piano practice. After that, I may spend the rest of the day preparing for a live performance, writing and recording music for a future album or mixing tracks from a completed session.

How do you bring ideas to life?

My best ideas come to me during live performances, especially when there is improvisation between musicians. I’ll go back and listen to the recording over and over until I can expand just a few notes into an entire piece of music.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Jazz is making a comeback among this younger generation, which is just remarkable and exciting.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’ve never been afraid of failure, and that has allowed me to continually expand my abilities as both a musician and a vocalist.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

My first job was as a camp counselor during one of my summers off from school, and it was a truly enjoyable experience except for the fact that constantly leading activities and providing instructions to large groups of campers really did a number on my voice.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would take advantage of every opportunity to play improvisational jazz during live performances. I initially felt that the audience deserved a structured and well-rehearsed set of music, but I’ve since realized that audiences often enjoy a unique and exploratory musical experience as well.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I have a loosely structured routine in place for each day, and this ensures I am consistently productive but also gives me the flexibility to shift my attention if there is something else that has to be prioritized.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Playing for a live audience has always been the most effective strategy for me.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I tend to be a perfectionist, and I went way over budget during one of my first recording sessions while tinkering with relatively unimportant minutiae. I’ve since adopted more of a big-picture approach, but I am still very much a perfectionist.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

There are a lot of talented artists putting music out through non-traditional mediums like social media and online video platforms, so I believe a business that connects those artists with the music industry could generate incredible results.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I bought an antique piano at an estate sale that I plan on refurbishing over the next few months.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I have recording and editing software that allows me to do a lot of work right from my home studio, which has saved me quite a bit on session expenses and has allowed me to immediately record any idea that happens to come to mind.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

My husband, Michael Mally, bought me a copy of “Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong,” by Terry Teachout. The lessons I took from this book have served me well in just about everything I have done since.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

I saw Gregory Porter play a few years back at St. Nick’s Pub in New York City, and I have since been deeply influenced by his beautiful approach to jazz.