BIOGRAPHY

CHICANA JAZZ VOCALIST CANDICE REYES EXPRESS HER VOICE IN THE ARTS & THE COMMUNITY

 

An acclaimed jazz vocalist and recording artist from El Paso, Tx, Candice Reyes has gained a reputation as an active Latina jazz vocalist in both the East and West coast. Currently residing in New Jersey with husband saxophonist Abel Mireles and actively involved in the New York City scene, she has released two solo albums "Crossing Over" produced by Mack Goldsbury with Shade Records in 2014 and her latest album "Your Way" 2018. The project "Your Way" includes original compositions and arrangements produced by saxophonist Abel Mireles. Their title track single "Your Way" written by Reyes and Abel Mireles features the dynamic musical couple in action. The project was released on The Jazz Exchange record label captures a refreshing artist processing the changes in life and identifying who she is, with a selection of significant melodies of original songs expressing her self-worth and vision. Featuring an incredible cast of musicians including special guest six-time GRAMMY award winner and renowned jazz bassist Christian McBride and GRAMMY nominee lead trumpeter Nathan Eklund as amazing collaborators and the Candice Reyes Quintet. Reyes's record of "Your Way" sheds light on the emotional impact of stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing change in its most natural form. As a bandleader and established vocalist, Reyes puts her stamp on reimagined jazz standards with her lyrical skills, featured on two originals "Your Way" and "Live In The Moment". Her take on the arranged songs by Abel Mireles "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" by Paul Simon and "Footsteps in the Dark" by the Isley Brothers are a mere example of her keen and contemporary sound to reimagine something new and innovative while staying true to the respective sounds that make music a constant evolving creator. The Candice Reyes Quintet toured in 2018 from the East Coast to the West Coast performing for many local festivals and venues. 

Born April 18, 1986, into a musical family, the young vocalist has grown to evolve her style and character as a passionate performer. Reyes established herself in the local Bordertown jazz scene in her early teens. Both her parents David & Dora Reyes were recognized and active full-time musicians in El Paso, Tx music scene. Growing up in a household filled with music, Reyes was introduced to jazz by her parents with her first cassette from 1985 with Ella Fitzgerald "Tisket-A-Tasket". Being inspired and moved, Reyes began learning and listening to more music from her parent's collection. Reyes' gained recognition as a rising vocalist performing with local jazz musicians and established musical groups with her parents, as well as being recognized for her natural talent during school at J.M Hanks High School, where she sang with the award-winning jazz band. Candice was also part of the local El Paso Youth Jazz Program under the direction of jazz trumpeter and educator Marty Olivas as the first female jazz vocalist in her generation to partake in the program. The ensemble featured special guests such as New York saxophonist and educator at NYU Dave Pietro, where Reyes had the opportunity to sing alongside. Part of her musical experience evolved through her education at the University of Texas at El Paso receiving a bachelors degree in Commercial Music in Vocal Performance and being the first female lead vocalist, in one of the hottest student jazz bands "Utep Lab Band" in the Southwest under the direction of lead trumpeter Sam Trimble who performed with Tony Bennett, Jack Jones, and Bob Hope.

 

In 2003 Reyes won a local competition "El Paso Idol" where she traveled to Pasadena California to represent El Paso in the national vocal competition "American Idol". Although Reyes did not proceed to the final rounds, her confidence and intrepid spirit inspired her to continue with her musical career. Upon her return, Reyes became actively involved as the new generation of musicians in the Bordertown area that would expand the musical jazz scene to bring attention to the Southwest region not only with her voice but with her innovative spirit and actions to create opportunities for her and other musicians. In 2005 Candice established her band Candice Reys Quintet, who actively influenced many local musicians with their innovation and drive to create many performing opportunities for musicians that transformed the local music scene in El Paso. Reyes's enthusiasm to uplift her hometown scene established the spark to create an organization called EPJAZZ EXCHANGE with a local partner Steve Garduno, expanding the community to a source that connects people to the local jazz scene which created working opportunities for musicians. 

In 2014 the eager young vocalist debuted her first solo album "Crossing Over" with Shade Records and was produced by touring artist, educator, and saxophonist Mack Goldsbury. Reyes brought a young and refreshing sound that showcased her early lyrical skills on the jazz standard "Beatrice" by Sam Rivers. The project included jazz pianist and professor in the Music department at The University of Texas at Dallas, Kelly Durbin. Along with bassist and Music department professor at UTEP Erik Unsworth, Director of EPYJO Ricky Malichi, and local artists Arath Corral, Shaun Mahoney, and Abel Mireles. Not only is she known for her vibrant vocals and petite figure, but she is also making musical waves by captivating her audience with her unique style and passion for good music. The project displays her honesty in singing jazz music and exhibits her true colors as an emerging and noted vocalist of the future. Candice not only expresses herself through her lush voice; she interprets her natural character through her compelling music. Vibrant vocalist Candice Reyes is determined to grow and absorb musical experiences as her career progressed. In 2015, Reyes was the music and choir teacher at Loretto Academy a year before moving to the East Coast. Bringing her passion and musical background, this was her start to giving back to and sharing her knowledge and experience through music education. 

 

When she arrived in New Jersey in 2015, Reyes quickly gained recognition as a leading voice on a scene rapidly being transformed by a wave of brilliant young musicians with the Candice Reyes Quintet. The Candice Reyes Quintet reestablished itself with local musicians in the New York and New Jersey area continue with the innovative spirit to expand and learn from her fellow bandmates. Experiencing the full-time musician living on the East Coast, Reyes worked with local non-profit Jazz House Kids founded by acclaimed vocalist Melissa Walker and Artistic Chair Christian McBride, Reyes served as the Artist Relations and Concert Coordinator from 2015 to 2019. Reyes's passion for the arts and working with the future generation expanded the opportunities for Reyes in the music industry and her career. Developing her social skills and experience with artist management, Reyes worked with legendary and renowned artists such as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sheila E, Roy Haynes, Eddie Palmeri, Jimmy Cobb, Bruce Hornsby, McCoy Tyner, Andra Day, Kenny Barron, David Sanborn, Christian McBride, Gina Gershon, and more. Candice currently works with a non-profit organization in New York City called Midori & Friends that provides high-quality sequential music education to students in Grades PreK-12 in over 70 New York City schools who have little or no access to the arts. 

 

Candice's passion for performing and working with the youth-led her and husband Abel Mireles to found THE JAZZ EXCHANGE, as they proved to be visionary leaders and entrepreneurs whose work has been recognized locally and nationally. The musical couple-led organization's mission focuses on building communities through music and education. The main purpose of this organization is not only to create performance opportunities for musicians but also to connect with audiences around the world, cultivate and flourish youth development through music education, exposing our diverse communities to the public through video and audio. Through several programs such as The Jazz Exchange Education Program in partnership with Jazz House Kids and SMart, Founders Candice Reyes and Abel Mireles are supporting Emerging Artists from their hometown El Paso and Juarez. Mexico area, by connecting Hispanic/Latin X students with performance and music educational opportunities outside of their communities. Students get exposed to a music scene and environment that most of the time surpasses the musical level of their local communities; challenging, and encouraging them to strive for excellence. Also, programs such as Virtual Jazz Sessions, push boundaries to create solutions during challenging times and still inspire jazz musicians, vocalists, composers, arrangers, audio engineers, and video editors to collaborate virtually and still be creative.  

Reyes brings all her widespread experiences and currently puts her focus on THE JAZZ EXCHANGE. She has thrived by pursuing multiple musical directions in the music business and industry. The young entrepreneur, vocalist, bandleader, and music educator continues to follow her passion through music and advocating for future musicians and generations to come. Candice mentions that a few musical projects are in the works to reconnect with long-time fans and build new audiences.