“When Candice Hoyes sings, she’s channeling a legacy of black women like Eartha Kitt, Nancy Wilson, and Lena Horne, all of whom helped shape the modern musician-cum-activist role. Hoyes knows that tradition well; for her, becoming an artist meant working to understand the fraught, complex history of jazz in the United States, and how it relates to race, identity, and womanhood.
On a Turquoise Cloud is a compilation of relatively unknown Duke Ellington songs that took intense research, arranging, and collaboration to produce. Hoyes, who grew up in Boca Raton, Fla., and now lives in New York, trolled the Smithsonian National Archives for months looking for the perfect songs, many of which hadn’t been recorded since the early twentieth century, when Ellington himself performed them. Each song Hoyes chose presented unique challenges — “Single Petal of a Rose,” for example, had never been recorded as a vocal track before, so Hoyes had to write her own lyrics.“