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Exclusive Magazine chats with Candice Night - 2011

Blackmore's Night, the “fantasy” inspired folk rock band formed by legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and his wife Candice Night, have just released their newest album "Autumn Sky" this past January in the USA through Spinefarm Records/Fontana.

With a career spanning nearly two decades, the band of minstrels has gained cross over success all over the world with its new genre of “Ren and Rock” music. The lyrics, written by award winning Singer/Songwriter Candice Night, are inspired by nature and the myths and fairy tales they encounter on their international travels. The melodies, composed and arranged by Grammy nominated Ritchie Blackmore, encompass musical structure and the essence of melodies from the early 1600s.

And then they are “Blackmore-ized” to become the beloved melodies of today! Blackmore's Night's last album, "Secret Voyage", debuted at #1 on the Billboard New Age Chart and held that spot for four consecutive weeks! All of their previous albums have earned the band high chart positions and many gold records and awards all over the world.

In addition to being known from their unique sound which combines traditional as well as modern day instruments (including electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, violins, shawms, chanters etc), and Candice's enchanting lyrics and vocals, they are also known for their fabulous live shows, many of which have been performed at castles and other exceptional venues that add to the mystique and warmth of their performance.

Blackmore's Night has appeared nationwide on PBS and Discovery channel specials, and has been awarded the Best Album of the Year and Best Vocal Album of the year by NPR New Age Reporter for their past 7 studio CDs.

Exclusive Magazine recently sat down with Candice Night and discussed the exciting new album, her first encounter with Ritchie, her childhood, and the one thing she fears the most!

Candice Night InterviewTaking it from the top, and what fond memories of the Masque Little Theatre Group do you still carry with you today? "Wow that is a true blast from the past. I remember a lot of things. The smell of wood and cigars that the instructors husband used to smoke in the studio. The improv acting techniques we used to have to do in front of the class. If she called your name and told you to be a tree in the wind or a piece of chewing gum you had to become it."

"The plays where, when I was about 7 I got tired of waiting for my part to come and I walked around the audience and sat in the bleechers in my costume so I could watch the play from a distance. My parents running up to me to ask me what was wrong and I told them I had some time to spare and wanted to watch the play! The wall of fame I never quite made while I was there studying. I still carry the vocal lesson tape while on tour, that the instructor made for me."

At a young age you also undertook modeling, doing everything from commercials to print ads, promotions and trade shows. Which one still stands out today to be a true highlight of those modeling days? "Well, a lot of the modeling jobs aren't really fond memories. More just being uncomfortable and trying to look the best you can without appearing uncomfortable. Everything from trade shows in high heels and tight dresses for 8 hours straight and smiling the whole while to wearing bikinis at the beach in freezing cold weather again smiling all the while."

"I guess one of my fondest memories would have to be from earlier days when I did a commercial for Sugartime clothes because I was so excited to get it and it was all so innocent then. Or auditioning with Bob Fosse at Studio 54 for the role of the sister in Star 80 where it came down to between me and 1 other girl but I had the wrong color hair so they went with her. A couple of times I got to do catalog shoots and when they needed a male model I recommended my brother and we spent the whole shoot laughing. That was the most fun."

"The most ridiculous is the photo sessions with Rubies Costume company. Every Halloween I still see my pictures up in stores on their packaging with blacked out teeth, putty noses, as witches and vampira. Not always glamorous, but never boring!"

You turned to poetry early on as a child, expressing emotions, your loves and losses, even your philosophies. But at such a young age, how could someone so not-yet-worldly-wise fill up so many journals with such poems so quickly? "I guess because I started acting lessons so early, at the age of 4, it was easy to slip into a fantasy world, or to feel and mentally and emotionally experience things that happened around me whether it was to friends or to people I read about or heard about even on tv. I would feel things so deeply it would be as if they had happened to me."

"So to write about experiences came very naturally. And to mask them in poetry or to see a story through someone else's eyes and be able to write about it was a great way for me to channel emotions and creativity. Sometimes channeling that much is painful, but I always felt that I would rather feel too much than be numb."

The day you decided to try an internship for a local rock station in New York eventually led you to meeting Ritchie Blackmore (then of Deep Purple) on a soccer field! Please tell us more about that first meeting, if it all went smoothly, and was he playing soccer at the time or was DP playing a show there that night? "They didn't have a show that night, I guess they were just doing a promo tour. They came back later that year for their concert tour and I got to see him play at Radio City Music Hall and see what being backstage in the dressing rooms was about."

"It was a charity match between DP and WBAB, the largest rock station on Long Island back then. After the game I went over to ask him for an autograph and he looked up at me with that English accent and told me he thought I was beautiful. I thought that was to be my Ritchie Blackmore story. But I guess he had other ideas. He sent his roadie through the crowd to ask me to meet him at a local pub."

interview candice night"So I was getting ready to go when their car pulled up next to mine and they asked me to get in. I jumped in the back of his red Mercedes and his roadie was driving, my friend followed in a car behind us. As Ritchie was talking to me from the passenger seat he was changing out of his soccer kleats and socks. At one point he took his dirty socks off and threw them at me. Great ice breaker. Made all my nervousness go away actually cause I knew that he had a sense of humor and we could laugh together."

"We actually wound up talking until the sun came up. But we had so much in common on so many levels. We talked about ghosts, music, travel, history, philosophy; he was a perfect gentleman. I was totally intrigued by the mystery. He did magic tricks that baffled me. Now, I'm in on his magic tricks, but I still love to watch him do them and see how other people are amazed by them."

Since then you've worked with DP, Rainbow, have done backing vocals and guest spots on other projects, and come 1997 began singing vocals and writing lyrics for Blackmore's Night. So, the big question here is why did Ritchie go from heavy metal one minute to Renaissance music the next? Being that you were alongside him at the time of this musical transformation, I was hoping you might be able to open a window into his mindset around that time? "Well, I think that anyone who has followed Ritchie's career would have seen him jamming on Greensleeves in the early 70's while on stage with Purple. They'd hear the medieval modal 4ths and 5ths that he put on the Smoke on the Water riff, and know that it wasn't just single notes. It's a darker more ominous harmonic that you can only get through the modes originally from medieval times."

"They'd know songs like Temple of the King or 16th Century Greensleeves and see that these influences have always been in Ritchie's music, this is not a new discovery for him. He is totally influenced by medieval and Renaissance music, always has been. When I met him he was playing it through out the house, a dark old English Tudor in the woods of Connecticut. The house even had a minstrel's gallery!"

"Still he has about 2,000 Renaissance CDs and is constantly broadening his collection. When anyone asks him what he wants for his birthday or a holiday he says Renaissance CDs. If you actually listen to the CDs we do now, you'll still hear him doing rock music. He's still the master on the Strat. Journeyman, Highland, Keeper of the Flame, just a few titles on the new CD where he's playing electric and as far as I can see no one comes close to that talent."

"But it's just that he's playing other genres as well. So he gets variety instead of only 1 kind of music. He loves the fact that he can play what he wants to when he wants to and there are no egos to contend with in this band. Once you get that kind of creative freedom, you never want to go back in a box of 1 style of playing."

Is it true that the brand new Blackmore's Night album Autumn Sky was inspired by your daughter, Autumn Esmerelda ... and if so, aside from her name, in what musical way? "Well, I didn't know I was having a girl, we left that to be a surprise when she was born. But creating music can be a pretty cathartic experience in itself so to be creating a life inside you while paralleling the creation of music...that's a pretty intense experience."

Also, with regard Autumn Sky, please tell us how this new release differs from the other BN's that have gone before it? "Each CD that we create is a snapshot in time as to where we were in our lives when we created it. So looking back at the CDs is like looking at a scrap book or a photo album. It brings back a lot of memories and emotions, but you're now at a different place in your life."

"Autumn Sky has a full range of songs whether they are ones we originally created, ones that were inspired by melodies from hundreds of years ago, cover songs with our own spin on it, or heart warming ballads. We have added more musical flavorings by playing different instruments from the renaissance times and mixing them with modern day instruments."

"Each year we learn a bit more so our musical instrument collection grows which allows us to be able to add so much more dimension to the songs than a typical 5 piece band. Plus I was pregnant the whole time we recorded. Actually I did a 9 piece woodwind ensemble when I was 9 months pregnant so this CD will always be a special one for me to remember!"

Indeed, if this album could be summed up in just three (3) words, which three would you like to choose? "Ritchie says, 'Release It Again'! I say, Melodic Magical Escape."

OK, here's one for you ... Candice Lauren Isralow "became" Candice Night through the years, but being that you have now married Ritiche (2008), does that officially make you Candice Blackmore-Night perhaps?! "Well my modeling name was Loren. So I'm used to having multiple identities. Through Magiquest I'm Princess Candice and Princess Amora. Through Faerie Magazine I'm the Faerie Queen. So I guess I'm Queen Princess Candice "Loren" Isralow Blackmore Night. But you can call me Candy. :)"

Will do, thank you ... and so finally, please reveal something about Blackmore's Night (or yourself) that you don't normally, well, reveal! Not necessarily a big, huge secret, but something fun, something interesting to the fans that they might not necessarily know about you, Ritchie or the band "Something about me that I never talk about, but Ritchie knows well, is that I'm afraid of the dark. Isn't that ridiculous? He keeps telling me that there's nothing in the dark that isn't there in the light and I keep saying "How do you know? You can't see if it's dark!!!" If Ritchie's not with me I always sleep with the light on."

Thank you for your time today, Candy. I hope you enjoyed the questions, had some fun along the way. We wish you all the best for the future ... "Thank you! Much appreciated and hope to speak to you again soon."

Interview: Russell A. Trunk