Take Five with Candra R.

Photos courtesy of the artist

As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Special Edition 2022 – I Belong

Candra R. is a devoted musician. Her style ranges from gospel to R&B, soul, funk, and hip-hop. While the bass is her primary instrument, she plays keys and guitar proficiently. Her debut single “Take My Hand” was followed by the release of her EP In My Head, both of which display Candra’s versatility and ability to cross genres. Music is only one side of Candra. She is a devoted mom of two and an advocate for music education. She uses her platform “PassionWorks101” to provide education and resources to musicians and creatives interested in learning from industry professionals. Music is the essence of who Candra is. She hopes to continue inspiring women of all ages to pursue music through her passion and love for music. 

Tell us a little about your musical background; how old were you when you started playing guitar, and what inspired your passion for music?
I would consider myself a “late bloomer.” I started playing drums around 9. I became interested in bass years later, around 14, so my passion for music was always there. I would find ways to create music at home, banging on toy drums, playing melodies, and recording myself singing and beatboxing.

What inspires you to wake up every day and continue pursuing your dreams?
As I get older, my inspirations shift and become an amalgamation of different things. I think I was initially inspired to do what I love because it felt good and was fun, and then to be able to start making money doing something I love was just the icing on the cake. Now, as someone who has grown and changed in many ways, I think I’m more inspired by impact. As a mother to young kids, I’m inspired to show my little ones how far hard work, discipline, and dedication can take you. I’m inspired to have something to show for all I’ve done thus far and to be able to leave some type of legacy for my kids, in whatever form that takes on. As a Black woman in a male-dominated field, I’m inspired by my impact on young girls and other women watching me. I always hear how inspired people are by watching me juggle music and mommy life and creating representation for the little Black and brown girls. I even find myself helping younger or aspiring musicians with the knowledge I’ve gathered about gear, tech, and being business minded. I think those things have changed my vision of success.

Take us through your songwriting process. What types of environments do you feel you need to be your most creative?
I start with drums and bass whenever I create a song or track. Those are the essential building blocks for me. As for creative environments, I feel like it’s easy as long as I’m in a place where I can be open-minded. I get creative when I start digging through new music; listening to new things and watching performances give me all types of ideas.

What guitars are you playing right now?
My Warrior Messenger 5 has a neck profile that is probably the flattest, most comfortable neck I’ve ever played on. It has one Bartolini Soapbar pickup, but it cuts through so well! The second is my Bass Mods Maurice Fitzgerald MF5. Maurice Fitzgerald is one of my favorites, so to try out this bass and love it was such an incredible feeling! I used to be anti-Bass Mods, but this bass proved its ability to be truly versatile. The ‘70s pickup spacing takes the tone and aggressiveness over the edge for me. I left everything stock in this bass, and people still come up to me and ask what I did to make it sound like that. I take joy in saying, “Nothing!” The third is my Sire V3 – 2NDGEN 4-string jazz bass. Again, this bass is stock and has a great tone and presence! Everyone knows Sire has affordable basses, so it is a great “bang for the buck”! There are more, of course, but these are what I’m playing the most right now.

Finish this sentence: I believe music…

is compelling. It has the power to cross languages, cultures, and religions. It can bring forth emotions. It can heal. It can take you back to specific memories. What else can do that?