While listening to the assured and accomplished In My Lane, the debut album by Austin-based singer Candace Bellamy, it’s surprising to learn that she started singing because she needed a hobby.
“I sang in the choir in high school and in college,” Bellamy explains. “I remember times when I would sing and afterwards people would tell me I should pursue music, but my pre-med classes took up most of my time.”
Bellamy’s priorities led her to eventually becoming a successful physician. Growing up in Knoxville, Tennessee with a belief in possibilities and the discipline to make it happen, Bellamy later went after her renewed pursuit of music in that same way.
“My mom was very protective of her children,” Bellamy reflects. “We were expected to make good grades, and I decided at a young age that I wanted to be a doctor. My mom told me that I could do anything.”
So, while maintaining her medical practice, Bellamy started taking voice lessons, performing in community theatre productions, and singing with her own rock and blues band. On the suggestion of a friend, Bellamy picked up and moved from Tennessee to Austin to get even more involved in music.
Arriving in the music city, Bellamy sang in multiple bands, appeared in a R&B production of “Porgy and Bess” that was acclaimed by the New York Times, and was approached about performing a showcase at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
Bellamy ultimately developed her own one-woman show there, drawing on her classic musical influences like The Supremes, The Temptations, Roberta Flack and Aretha Franklin, along with her modern ones like Prince, Annie Lennox, Whitney Houston, and Chaka Khan.
Her hobby now a second profession, Bellamy returned to Austin with these experiences in tow and completed a one-year music program at the University of Texas, all while continuing her day job. It was during this time that Bellamy had the good fortune to meet songwriter Ruth Carter, who, as one half of a songwriting partnership with her husband Bill Carter, has composed for Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robert Palmer, John Mayall and many more.
Bellamy’s collaboration with Carter resulted in Bellamy’s debut EP, “A Thousand Shades of Blue.” Bellamy and Carter were joined on the project by bass playing legend Jimi Calhoun, who has graced stages with Dr. John, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Wilson Pickett, Sly Stone and more during his illustrious career.
“It was when the three of us got together for the first time to write that I realized the depth of their backgrounds,” Bellamy recalls. “They made me feel comfortable, and what I remember most about those times was how much we laughed.”
Carter and Calhoun return on In My Lane, again co-writing with Bellamy, who also collaborates on two tunes with songwriter Jake Langley. Langley also plays guitar on the album and brings an impressive background of his own that includes performances and recordings with Roberta Flack, Willie Nelson and k.d. lang. Langley, along with Carter, are the producers of In My Lane.
With her debut album released on May 14th in the United States and released in Tokyo, Japan by Sweet Soul Records on September 7th, Bellamy can say she’s a singer just as easily as she can say she’s a doctor. “Several people have asked why I am pursuing music when I already have a good job,” she muses. “The answer is simple – because I love it.”