Here’s the 411: Every now and then, an artist on the scene agrees to answer some questions posed to her by some other artists on the scene. It’s called 4-8 minutes of fame (though that really might depend on the reader’s actual speed of retention), and you’re reading one right now!
Perhaps you’ve seen Rebecca Florence around. It’s hard to miss her. She dresses provocatively, in tight black and flowing lace, a blindingly blonde head over a five foot tall girl. It’s harder to miss her on stage, where she howls and cries her series of songs about death, despair, and dudes who did her wrong. She’s got a show this Sunday, debuting her new band, Soul candy. It’s at the Sidewalk. You should come.
Do you have a spirit animal, and if so, what is it?
You’d be surprised. A friend of mine and I actually looked up different spirit animals trying to figure it out. I didn’t like any of the choices, so I made one up. Probably a wolf. I like wolves.
Apparently, there are approximately 1,000 bands called Soul Candy that already exist, or existed at some point. In your opinion, is your new band, Soul Candy, the best out of all of these bands? If so, why?
Well, the name came pretty organically when Bob Black and I started writing music. Yeah, the name seemed too good to be true, but so are we. Wink wink. I hadn’t heard of any other “Soul Candy’s”, nothing substantial, so hell. I think it’s fair game and does our sound justice. We’re better than the other SC’s because we have on secret weapon that no other Soul Candy band has. Mike mother-fucking Shoykhet in a grim reaper mask.
What was the name of the first song you ever wrote? What was it about?
It was called, “Distressed.” I was 13 at a performing arts summer camp. I was already super angsty by then, (hence the title). It was about life, as it seems, being a pretty beautiful place. But then, moving into that state of questioning everything, even when things are going great. Causing, wait for it… “Distress.” I wish I wrote about rainbows and barbies when I was 13, but that wasn’t the case. Pre-murder ballad days. It was like a prequel. Like The Hobbit to my Lord Of The Rings.
What is your favorite food/drink item you’ve ever had at Sidewalk, and why?
I have a pretty fond memory of one of the old servers, Brynn, making me my first Hot Toddy. For sentimental reasons, that’s my favorite. Favorite food: breakfast melt. Hands down. With avocado, fried egg, bacon. 3 of my favorite foods on a delish sandwich. What’s not to love?
One of your songs posits the singer as a center of destruction, do you believe that describes you and if so, why?
What an eloquent way to describe it. Way prettier than what I would come up with. And yes, in a lot of ways, it does. I’ve had to deal with plenty of shitty situations in my life, and I’d like to believe I’ve come out on the other side as a better person for it. Could be wrong. Probably am. I’m constantly dealing with struggle, whether it’s financially, emotionally, physically or even with my friend’s struggles, amidst all of that “destruction”, there’s the eye of the storm where I can express it healthily, my music. It’s a calm place that I find a lot of solitude.
Have you ever flirted with other instruments besides the piano?
I started out on bass guitar, actually. Wanted to learn guitar when I was younger, but my hands were too small. So I’d just pluck sick-nasty bass lines. Then, I eventually did pick up guitar. I can play some stuff here and there, but I’m not that great at it.
Is your new band of equal importance or greater to you than your solo career?
Definitely equal. I am recording a solo album at Speakersonic Studios (Which I highly recommend), so that does have quite a bit of my attention at the moment. But that being said, I take Soul Candy extremely serious, and am thankful to have such supportive/flexible bandmates that care just as much as I do. Makes it easier.
Why is such a lite and bubbly girl so dark in her music?
I’ve never in my life, been described as “lite and bubbly,” but that’s interesting you say that. Generally, I do flit around Sidewalk, I’m happy, I’m having a great time when I’m there. It actually has brought out a lighter side to me. I’m not one to usually dump my problems on other people, so I don’t really talk much about what going on with me. My songs, although some are semi-fictional, come from a very honest place. Either from personal experience, experiences I’ve witnessed, or stemmed from completely arbitrary ideas. My goal as an artist is to be as honest as possible, in hopes that someone can relate, feel comforted. Or amused.
Do you find yourself influenced more by your peers or by artist you grew up with?
Both, but more recently, my peers. I love the open mic at Sidewalk, because you have an opportunity to see loads of different acts, good and bad. What they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong, how they’re improving, their songwriting styles, their influences. It’s like a big melting pot of ideas. I feel very lucky to be a part of such a diverse community that can push my songwriting abilities to the limit. It’s kind of transformed my music, but in the most positive way possible. It’s pushed me to be creative with my lyricism, and to cut the fat out of some of my songs. I like 7 minute songs. No one else does. I get it.
What’s the appeal for someone like you to be a part of the scene at the Sidewalk Cafe over some place like Rockwood?
“I feel like we’re all a bunch of broken toys.” – Joe Yoga.
Your series of songs entitled “Murder Ballads”: should those around you be worried?
Absolutely. There are 5. Jon, if you piss me off bad enough, their will be 6.
What was your musical experience before New York City? After?
I trained in Jazz with Marcus Printup, who plays trumpet for the Lincoln Jazz Center, and I trained in Opera with Ric Chiapetta, a retired opera singer. I’ve been singing since I was in 2nd grade, and didn’t really look back since. Did plays here and there, went to a few competitions in high school, kiddie stuff. I moved to New York to actually study acting at The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. I ignored my music for a while. Didn’t write one song while I was in school. Once I graduated, I started frequenting open mics, and found Sidewalk. I’ve written about 30 songs since.
How old are you?
Who do you think you are?
Rebecca Florence, I think.
What’s the big idea?
Marijuana legalization. That’s the big idea. That’s the plan.
Where do you get off?
That’s an extremely personal question, sir. But if you must know, in my bedroom. Rude.