Interview for the Blackmore's Night French Fan Club (by Fabrice)

First of all thank you for taking the time to give me this interview as we know you are very busy.
Your welcome, Fabrice. It's my pleasure.

You are currently recording a new cd in the studio. Could you tell me what your days are like when you are recording?
Usually, I get the kids ready, make them breakfast, dress them and take them to school, then I have about 3 hrs before I have to pick them up again. At that point I will meet Pat Regan downstairs in the dungeon studio in our home and do my tracks - vocal or woodwinds. Then run to pick the kids up again! At night it’s a bit easier. I put the children to bed about 11:30 finally getting them to actually go to sleep at about midnight. So at that point I can do an additional 2 -3 hours of studio time and be able to sit with Ritchie and Pat and discuss the direction of the songs or what needs to be done.

Will this new album be very much like "Dancer And The Moon" or will it be totally different and will it be out before the next Blackmore's Night tour ?
It should be out before if not exactly when we are on tour. I don’t think that any of the cds are exactly like each other. I think they all reflect how we have changed and grown as artists and people in the years between them. I mean they will obviously have the same Blackmore’s Night feel and energy to them, but they are all identifiable in their own right.

When a new track is created, do you work with Ritchie on the musical part and does Ritchie work with you on the lyrics?
Not usually, I know he has a strong idea where he wants a song to go so unless he asks for my advice I allow his artistic creativity to flow unaided and without boundary. Unless I feel strongly about not doing something. And there have been times where he has wandered and asked my thoughts on a song so I will give my opinions without feeling slighted if he doesn’t use my ideas. Yet, feeling honored if he does. And as far as lyrics, he basically has the same approach with me. He likes my ideas and the directions they go in so he usually doesn’t feel the need to guide me. If he felt the need, he would. We have a great respect professionally for each other.

How do you start writing those beautiful lyrics?
I am constantly inspired by nature, fairytales, legends and myths of different regions; by love in its purest forms - love lost and found; and of course the music itself always seems to tell me what it wants to be about so I just try to channel what it is whispering to me in its instrumental form and translate that into words.

Would it be possible to have an album only with you and Ritchie, voice and guitar? I am sure it would be successful given the quality of the tracks in Winter Carols 2013. It's just a thought but maybe you could, for example, work on an acoustic version of some Rainbow tracks. What do you think of this?
We have discussed that for a long time. And a lot of people ask for it. You know, I still have the greatest respect for Ritchie coming from a world of Marshall stacks and being the loudest band in the world to doing what he’s doing now. Its basically like wearing your underwear on stage. He is so vulnerable when he is playing quietly and acoustically - yet he is choosing to be brave enough to share that introspective and brilliant side of himself with the whole world instead of hiding behind volume, effects and pyrotechnics. It’s a really difficult decision to make to choose that path. Not many other guitarists would allow people to see them so vulnerable after coming from such another world for so long. So to scale it down even more? I don’t know how comfortable he would feel with it. But I’m up for anything.

How did you get to like renaissance music?
I never heard that style of music before I met Ritchie and that was all he played in the house and car. So that is how I got introduced to it. I would borrow a tape from him and put it in my Walkman on a walk through the woods and realized that it felt like it was the perfect soundtrack to nature scenes. The world seemed like a different place listening to that music. Then when he would go on tour and I would be home, listening to it just reminded me of the beginning of our relationship when the excitement and energy was so new. It brings me back to those beginning moments so it becomes nostalgic for me to hear it.

What are your music inspirations Candice? I believe you are a fan of Joan Baez and you actually sing one of her songs "Diamonds And Rust", who else are you a fan of?
I actually never heard Diamonds and Rust before I met Ritchie either…a friend of ours played that song at an acoustic performance in a coffee house and I instantly fell in love with the song. But as far as other artists, my tastes have a lot of variety. I always loved Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac, but also love Sarah Brightman, Don Henley, Maggie Reilly, Joan Osbourne, and classic rock as well. I am a child of the 80's so my generation loved the big hair bands of that time!

You have released a solo album which was very well received, do you intend a second solo album? Perhaps included duos? A duo with Joan Baez would be extraordinary for example!
I actually have a cd that will be coming out this year inspired by the songs I sing my children to sleep with. But I think its more music to dream by which will allow adults to be able to relax as well. And maybe reflect on their own childhood. Or perhaps they can just put it in the cd player and play it to get their own children off to the world of dreams. Peacefulness for everyone.

Blackmore's Night was created 18 years ago now. How do you get the motivation to release new albums on a regular basis?
We love what we do. Then you don’t need motivation. With keeping up a a 3 and 4 yr old I need more energy, 8 arms and eyes in the back of my head, but I don’t ever need motivation to create music. That to me is like breathing.

Is you daily life a source of creative inspiration for you?
Constantly. Colors of sunsets, wind in my hair, laughter of my babies, freshly falling snow or new flowers…everything is an amazing moment. Its just taking the time to appreciate the moments that seems to be difficult for people sometimes. For me I can find magic and miracles all around.

You play many wind instruments, do you also play guitar or piano for your own pleasure or as part of Blackmore's Night tracks? what is your favorite instrument?
I never have been able to play guitar- but that’s ok as we have 1 guitarist in the house already so we don’t really need another one. I can dabble a bit on piano but I am terribly out of practice even though that is how I create my rough track demos when I am doing a solo cd or individual songs. I really prefer the quieter instruments like the gemshorn or the pennywhistle. My husband likes it when I play the loud instruments like the shawms and rauchpfifes.

Some concerts are held in magnificent places such as medieval castles or other beautiful places, not as often as we would like though... why can't we have all Blackmore's Night show in such places? it would be wonderful!
I agree, but those places are very specialized. Sometimes the restrictions are too confining; sometimes they are government owned so no promotions as there is no budget; sometimes the electricity they have can't sustain what we need to put a show on; sometimes too big or too small or on the top of a mountain. Sometimes its too hard to get the gear in beyond castle walls, moats or small pathways into the venue. Sometimes the routing doesn’t work with the rest of the tour. Sometimes the amenities aren’t accessible. Sometimes promoters won't go into venues like this. No dressing rooms, or bathrooms, or ways to sell beverages to the audiences. There are lots of logistics and fine tuning to each of the shows we put on. And someone has to think out all these details to make each tour work. 1 show is easy. But a whole tour that works together in places like that is nearly impossible.

Do you make your own superb stage dresses?
I work with a seamstress who creates my visions. I send her material and ideas to make patterns with and then she makes them. I also try to pick up pieces as I go along from obscure places - renaissance faires, small stores along the way- Then you just weave everything together and make it your own.

Apart of music, do you have other hobbies? When you were a child, what were your dreams?
My hobbies were craft based: scrapbooking, making jewelry, painting/drawing, photography. Or animal based: birdwatching; helping animals. Paranormal world is always fascinating to me as well. I’m living my dream. It was always to be around music, but I didn’t think this would be the path that I would take.

Please describe your life in 3 words
Blessed, magical, adventure

Are you still nervous before a show and do you have any kind of ritual before entering the stage?
I think if you didn’t get nervous you wouldn’t be human. My rituals are to distract myself so I don’t think about it till right before I go on. So I spend less time being nervous. And there is lots to distract myself with! I do my own make up / hair and wardrobe so doing that takes up some time, then vocal scales, practicing before we go on, and sometimes – if time allows - meditation with Ritchie.

Thanks again Candice ! See you for the Paris show!
Thank you! See you there!