As a little kid, Candice Glover was so shy that she could only sing for her parents—and even then asked them to listen in from the other side of her closed bedroom door. Over the years, the golden-voiced Glover worked through her stage fright to become the star of her school chorus and a frequent soloist in the church choir in her hometown of Beaufort, South Carolina. After auditioning for “American Idol” three times and twice getting cut before making it to the live rounds, Glover scored a spot on the show’s twelfth season—then used her pure and powerful vocals to emerge as the season winner. With her coronation song “I Am Beautiful” entering the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs chart at number five, the 23-year-old’s debut album, Music Speaks, brings her rich voice and stirring delivery to a bold fusion of soul, pop and R&B.
A self-taught vocalist who began singing at age four, Glover first delighted audiences with her dynamic voice at a Christmas pageant in fifth grade. “A little while after that I sang a solo at church and ended up getting a standing ovation, and that’s when I really started to move forward with my singing,” Glover recalls. After devoting much of her adolescence to performing in talent shows and at church, Glover briefly studied psychology after high school, but then left college to audition for “American Idol.” Cut from Season 9 during the top 70 round and from Season 11 in the top 40 round, Glover made Season 12’s live rounds and floored both audiences and judges with her awe-inspiring renditions of songs like Ben E. King’s “I (Who Have Nothing)” and Emeli Sandé’s “Next to Me.” “Nobody expects to win after getting cut twice,” Glover admits, “but I knew that if I kept trying and believing in myself and in my singing, it would eventually happen for me.”
Released by 19 Recordings/Interscope Records, Music Speaks serves up a sophisticated yet supremely soulful blend of love songs and self-empowerment anthems. In creating the album, Glover partnered with an A-list lineup of producers that includes The Underdogs (Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson, Justin Timberlake), Mike WiLL Made-It (Rihanna, Miley Cyrus), The Jackie Boyz (Madonna, Sean Kingston), Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins (The Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga), and Paul “Hotsauce” Dawson (Robin Thicke, Usher). Endlessly moving and deeply intimate, Music Speaks finds Glover channeling the emotional dynamism of legendary vocalists who’ve long inspired her, including Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Marvin Gaye, and Whitney Houston.
The lead single from Music Speaks, “Cried,” is an epic heartbreaker powered by choir-like harmonies, sweeping string-laced arrangements, and—most strikingly—a breathtaking mix of vocal mastery and raw emotion that Glover infuses into her entire album. The sprawling and shimmering “Passenger” uplifts and inspires in its celebration of life-changing love, while “Thank You” twists the traditional breakup song into a goosebump-inducing expression of gratitude for the transformative power of pain. “Kiss Me” shows Glover’s more seductive side, weaving sleek and subtle electro effects and searing guitar through the track’s lovestruck lyrics. And on “Love Song,” Glover turns the classic Cure hit into an aching piano ballad, harnessing the same passion that fueled her widely praised “American Idol” performance of the song. Revealing Glover’s stunning versatility, Music Speaks also features the R&B smolder of “Die Without You,” the old-school soul of “Same Kind of Man,” and the playful, beat-driven strut of “In the Middle.”
For Glover, gaining self-confidence after years of struggling with shyness and insecurity is a key part of her journey as a singer. “I’ve had the experience of feeling like I’m not good enough and I’ve overcome that, and now I want to help other people overcome it too,” she says. Already making strides toward that goal, Glover notes that many of her fans have reached out to tell her they’ve found inspiration in “I Am Beautiful,” a tough but tender tribute to self-acceptance whose acoustic version closes out Music Speaks. “One of the things I value most as a singer is connection with the people I’m singing for,” Glover says. “I want people to feel what I’m singing and know that I’ve really been through what I’m singing about, and to find something in my songs that makes them feel good, and maybe even helps them out in their own way.”