A meeting of talented artists, jazz trio Nite Bjuti (pronounced “Night Beauty”) brings their unique sound and interest in infusing music with history and literature together in their debut self-titled album. Featuring singer-songwriter Candice Hoyes, bassist Mimi Jones, and Grammy Award-winning soundchemist Val Jeanty, Nite Bjuti is a magical musical journey through folklore, classic literature, the Black diaspora, and the artists’ Afro Carribean heritage.
We talked to Candice about the creation of Nite Bjuti, the many layers of their new album, and their plans for the future. Check out the full interview below!
Showstopper Magazine Online: Hello, Candice! It’s so great to talk with you. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and Nite Bjuti?
Candice Hoyes: Val is Haitian-born and spent her teen years in Brooklyn. Mimi grew up in the Bronx. I was born in upper Manhattan and raised in Florida. We are all very active in our solo careers, and Val and Mimi are Berklee School of Music professors. I’m a lecturer at Jazz at Lincoln Center. And as Nite Bjuti, we have amazing tour dates coming to support this new record.
SMO: How did Nite Bjuti form? What does it mean to you?
Candice: I really loved Val and Mimi’s sounds. We all knew each other through the jazz world, and when we came together to play, the connection was immediate and powerful!
SMO: The name Nite Bjuti comes from a Haitian folktale. What drew you all to this story and name?
Candice: I’m an archivist, and this story of a young woman who was trapped and sniffed out in her lifetime but reappeared in the form of a song has become a metaphor for the stories I want to tell. More importantly, it really spoke to the import of heritage for all three of us. We are all three Afro Caribbean, and Mimi and I are first-generation American.
SMO: How would you describe your sound and the many layers you add to your jazz music?
Candice: In a moniker, we call this “jazz adventurism.” This comes from a spiritual place, and it is an invitation to every listener to tap into this healing.
SMO: You just released your debut album. What was your process for bringing this project together?
Candice: This album was funded by a grant that I won in 2020 for women producers, and the three of us produced this. It is distributed by Whirlwind Recordings. The process for three years was a daily negotiation and my favorite part was certainly recording the music, producing the tracks with Mimi and Val, and now, sharing that music on all these streaming platforms!
SMO: Stories, literature, and history play a role in your songs, too. Can you tell us about some of those influences in the album?
Candice: We are influenced by all kinds of musical and literary traditions of the Black Diaspora and beyond. We all love a deep and wide range, Alice and John Coltrane, Bjork, Scratch Lee Perry, Sun Ra, Wayne Shorter, Zora Neale Hurston. In layers underneath these influences that I can attribute is a knowledge of spiritual and folkloric influences that come from our family, roots, culture, and musical expertise. We are also technologists, so we are influenced by what is on the edge of new development too as far as electronic instrumentation.
SMO: What is your favorite song?
Candice: With an album of choices, we can have them ALL. Two favorites are “The Window” and “Soursop,” and I love the contrast between them although both are super melodic. What these two share is a level of intimacy. Is it okay to do two favorite songs!?
SMO: Oh, absolutely! What has been your favorite part of seeing this project go out into the world?
Candice: The three of us keep talking about this! We see how many folks around the world have gravitated to Nite Bjuti, and we are so gratified to feel that love. We just can’t wait to be overseas…and play for you in person.
SMO: So we can expect to see Nite Bjuti live soon?
Candice: Oh yes! We are building out an East Coast tour and a West Coast tour and a Midwest tour…a lot of movement! If you want to see us in your city or hear us on your radio station, give us a shout! We are really excited for the vinyl albums soon to be out. We will be visiting scholars in residence at University of California, Berkley next year which is brilliant.
SMO: Is there anything else you want people to know about Nite Bjuti or your music?
Candice: Our greatest hope is for folks to have a taste of the music, experience it, and share it with the people they care for and love. That’s everything. And, of course, we hope to meet you at a live show as well! Follow us @nitebjuti to keep up on all the news!
Nite Bjuti is out now!