Releasing her debut single Helping Hands in support of Canteen and the Cancer Society last year, Christchurch teenager Candice Milner certainly had a large amount of support and helping hands on her side, helping another of her songs, Run For It, to win The Audience’s WildCard Making Tracks grant in June – after being runner up the month before.
At just 16 years, Candice becomes one of the youngest winners of the WildCard chart and she couldn’t be more pleased with the result.
“I thought I’d probably just get close but then it wouldn’t happen again, so it’s definitely quite exciting!” she cheerfully beams.
“I’ve come to experience a lot more since releasing Helping Hands, but I think it was definitely a good starting point,” she says, explaining Run For It as a song about peer-pressure.
“It’s about people who you think are good influences and good to be around because they make you a better person, but then you come to realise they’re not actually worth it.”
Since writing that song she’s fancied the idea of the video being set in a forest.
“I want it to be quite dramatic so it can show the full meaning of the song. I’ve got a couple of friends who are actors and have been in a few music videos before, so it’s just going to be a fun experience with my friends too.”
Though not from a musical family, Candice remembers wanting to be a singer since she was little.
“I always thought it would be quite cool to be famous, until I found out that one of Beatles got shot,” she chuckles, talking about her early love of music and singing. “My family definitely aren’t musical, but they’d always play music which I’d sing along to, and once I started singing lessons at the age of 12, everything changed completely. Now it’s more just about the singing because I like it and want to continue doing it in my own little community.
“Birdy was a big influence because she was young, and I’m young. She played the piano so I actually began playing the piano first, which I thought was great, but it turned out I wasn’t exactly that passionate about it. So then I changed to learning the guitar about six months ago and just practised so much more.”
Coming to see how close-knit NZ artists are and how they connect with their audiences has also made an impression on her.
“I really love a lot of the artists with Lyttelton Records, such as Marlon Williams, Aldous Harding and Tami Neilson. Kimbra is another one who I think just has an absolutely amazing voice, and I really like the way Jamie McDell connects with her audience through social media so much, what she does is just great.
With a greater plan of leaving high school at the end of this year to attend jazz school in Christchurch next year, Candice is heading back into the studio to work on an album she hopes to release early next year, an accomplishment she will no doubt take in her friendly, passionate and determined stride.