Graham Candy had no idea what awaited him when he boarded his Berlin-bound flight, leaving New Zealand behind him. The boy who skipped classes in school to play guitar and learn chords from his friends, wouldn’t have known that he would be chasing his dream as a man eleven time-zones away.
After being called into the school principles office, Candy was given the advice to attend his classes because he would need a Plan B in life to which he responded: “I don’t need a Plan B, because I’m going to do my Plan A”. Graham was then discovered by his future management playing in a small bar in Auckland. Since that day his music career started to unfold.
Now his debut album is finished and has been sensibly titled Plan A.
“Dreams don't work unless you're willing to work for them first” he sings on “Back Into It”, the first single off the album. It describes his willingness to work for his dreams and to never give up.
It's been almost two years since the 25-year-old musician was in Kreuzberg’s Riverside Studios recording “She Moves”. The song with Alle Farben reached gold status in Germany selling over 170,000 copies. Charting all around Europe, the track’s success saw him performing to 2000-strong crowds, just months after playing acoustic gigs in tiny Auckland bars.
But there's no hint that he's let success change him: “You have to keep your feet on the ground,” says Candy. “otherwise you’re gonna fall over.”
Candy’s debut album has been in work since he first stepped into Germany to create a colourful portrayal of his diverse music style and his intimate catchy lyrics.
The album was recorded with producer team feeling valencia, whom also penned his critically acclaimed EP, Holding Up Balloons. A lifetime in the making Plan A is a 12-track journey through a beautiful mind.
Opening with the heart-wrenchingly honest “Home”, Candy immediately welcomes the listener straight into his most intimate thoughts. “I want to go home, but not today” expresses the distance separating him from his former life. Fittingly, it was recorded with a 30-strong choir from his school back in Auckland, the same school where his future could have so easily been altered without the support from his headmaster.
In an album so effortlessly catchy yet packed with authenticity and grit, you believe every word Graham Candy sings, and you're not likely to forget it any time soon. The song “Heart of Gold” is the backbone of the album, a story of the relationship with his father who wasn't too keen on his career choice - “I called you from a thousand miles / Going to make you proud.” But it's not all dark. “Back Into It”, co-produced by Kenneth Harris, lead guitarist of Panic! At The Disco, is an anthem about hard work. The song shimmers with youthful energy and a gritty synthesizer staccato giving Candy a solid foundation to demonstrate his vocal range.
Alongside his roller-coaster ride of a music career, the New Zealander found time for his other passion, acting, receiving rave reviews for his performances in Footloose and Spring Awakening, and playing the supporting role beside Oscar-nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes in the feature film Queen of Carthage.
The difference between music and acting? “It's like escaping for a little bit, but it's not real,” says Candy. “With acting I pretend to be someone else, with music I can be me.” And it was his involvement with musical theatre in his early twenties that helped him discover his singing voice. Yes, that voice.
Quirky and honest, Candy’s voice immediately sets him apart from other contemporaries. Although molded around genre to genre, from a dance track to an acoustic performance, he still sounds like he's constantly opening up some hidden door to his soul.
There's a long, eventful and exciting road ahead of him, and Graham Candy is ready to put his “Back Into It” to get exactly where he wants to go, his Plan A.