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The Pulse: Candice Hoyes Spreads Joy, In Conversation and with a Duo Performance

courtesy of the artist

Singer-songwriter Candice Hoyes carefully curates everything she presents to the world. She has made it her mission to perpetuate positive imagery of Black women and girls through her empowering creative content and social media footprint.

Zora’s Moon — her first single in five years, featuring Joel Ross and produced by Casey Benjamin — is inspired by a story that Zora Neale Hurston once told. During an interview, Hurston recalled the innocent joy and curiosity she felt as a young girl, who thought the moon followed her as she moved about the world. Eventually, she came to learn that the moon wasn’t just following her, but it also followed everyone else.

Candice identified with this story and was inspired to write Zora's Moon. As it turns out, the stars have seemingly aligned for Hoyes with the timing of the song’s release. Presently, there are so many variables that are robbing our children of their joie de vivre. The incessant adultification of Black and minority girls, compounded with the influx of sex trafficking throughout the country in the midst of the COVID pandemic — the innocence of girlhood is oftentimes cut short or lost completely.

At a time when America’s sociopolitical climate has hit a boiling point, the release of her single is an indication that this is more than a moment in time — it’s a movement. Candice’s music is like a bopping balm that comforts the wounded. One that emphasizes how the mere idea of joy, especially “Black Girl Joy,” is truly a revolutionary act. It requires a daily conscious effort to choose happiness when Black women continue to be among the most unprotected and disregarded groups in America.

This virtual edition of The Pulse is truly a girl talk. We take a deep dive into the impetus behind Zora’s Moon, discuss her forthcoming album, and reflect on the urgency of reconnecting with the innocence of youth and joy. 

And here is an exclusive mini-set by Candice, featuring Jonathan Edward Thomas on electric piano. It begins with the Billy Taylor composition “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free,” made famous by Nina Simone.

Video produced by Khadiyah Thomas

“Zora’s Moon” is available now as a single; stream it here.

Keanna Faircloth is a Washington, DC native and comes to WBGO getting her start on-air at WPFW 89.3 FM in 2003, most recently as the host of Late Night Jazz: The Continuum Experience. She is a graduate of Howard University having majored in Music History with a minor in Classical Piano. Keanna has written for NPR Music, and worked for Radio One as an on-air personality, producer and voice-over talent. She is also the creator and host of Artimacy Podcast, where she has interviewed artists like Wynton Marsalis, Matthew Whitaker, Jonathan Butler, and Dionne Warwick. As a result, she was recognized by Radio Ink Magazine as a 2019 African American leader in radio.