ListN Up Playlist: Candice Hoyes (February 22, 2024)

ListN Up is a series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice.

Classical soprano Candice Hoyes has transformed notions of genre through her archival practice as a recording artist, producer, advocate, and video artist. She is the winner of the Paul Robeson Vocal Competition and MAP Fund, and founding member of Nite Bjuti, hailed by the BBC as “a new group that is one of the most exciting and original I’ve heard this year.”

Hey, I CARE IF YOU LISTEN! I’m vocalist Candice Hoyes, and I’m excited to share my ListN Up playlist, which is an eclectic mix of some of my favorite vocalists — the most influential people on me in their many moods. I hope you love it!

“Piangerò la Sorte Mia” by G.F. Handel, performed by Arleen Auger

I could bask all day in Auger’s singing. I was introduced to her by the wonderful collaborative pianist Martin Néron, and when I started studying with my voice teacher Gregory Lamar, I found he loves her like I do. I also regularly listen to Leontyne Price, Shirley Verrett, and Mirella Freni.

“They Say It’s Spring” by Blossom Dearie

There is a yearning in Dearie’s interpretation that keeps her always in play for me. I can’t think of anyone who composes a more distinctive set list. I wish I could’ve heard her live — she had a residency at the Carlyle Hotel in NYC, I’ve heard.

“The Window” by Nite Bjuti

This track is cinematic, and it expresses beliefs and wisdom no other composer has ever handed me to sing. That’s an important motivation to compose, right? With this band, the songs we spin out of improvisation just coalesce in midair, and I have to think it is shared experiences. Mimi, Val, and I are each starkly different but wow, we share some key perspectives.

“After My Laughter Came Tears” by Nat King Cole Trio

Nat King Cole is just one of my favorite and earliest vocal storytellers. The intensity of warmth… his voice has the sensation of warm, comforting arms. He was one of my grandpa Ivan’s favorite artists, too. Cole’s piano trio recordings are devastatingly beautiful.

“Show Me Love” by Laura Mvula

I really love Laura Mvula’s tone and songwriting, and her arrangements are fabulously lush.

“Take a Little Trip” by Stevie Wonder and Minnie Riperton

There is a huge space in my heart for all and any music I discovered through my loving parents. Lyrically, I absolutely love how the harmonic colors and groove showcase the words of this track. Self discovery, heritage, and experimentation. That final vocal harmony is perfection.

“Zora’s Moon” by Candice Hoyes

I wrote “Zora’s Moon” out of a need to connect with an artist who seemed to love the way I needed to be loved, never mind that she had passed away generations before. I wrote this when I didn’t feel understood, even among colleagues. Working with producer Natasha Diggs on this remix restored my joy. And I love soulful House music; singing CeCe Peniston (look her up) really showed me what my voice can do.


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Forum, and is made possible thanks to generous donor and institutional support. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF.

You can support the work of ICIYL with a tax-deductible gift to ACF. For more on ACF, visit the “At ACF” section or