Candy Dulfer has been on the fast
track since she first picked up the saxophone in 1975 at the tender age of six.
Thirty years later, the ride has yet to slow down.
Born in Holland in 1969, Dulfer was raised in a musical family. Her father, Hans
Dulfer, was a well-known Dutch saxophonist who founded the Bimhaus, the famous
jazz club that was originally subsidized by the government as a means to promote
the arts. Ironically, Hans was ousted from the original organization for
embracing styles outside the strict confines of traditional jazz. Seeing her
father ostracized from the very same jazz community that he'd helped establish
had a profound effect on young Candy.
"Back then, even as a young girl, I felt betrayed by the Dutch jazz scene," she
recalls. "I decided that I was going to do things my own way. I decided I would
play R&B, pop, and whatever else moved me, and then decide later on where all
the jazz that I had heard as a child would fit into what I was doing. I really
never played straightahead gigs. I thought it was very purist and confining."
By 14, she had assembled her own band, Funky Stuff (the name alone should offer
some clue to her rebellion against the stifling parameters of traditional jazz).
The musical unit was still intact five years later when she recorded Saxuality,
her solo debut album, in 1988. Released in 1990, Saxuality sold more than a
million copies worldwide and scored a GRAMMY nomination. The massive success of
the album prompted world touring for Dulfer and Funky Stuff beginning in the
early '90s. More than 15 years and ten solo albums later - not to mention
numerous guest appearances on albums by other artists - the globe-trotting
itinerary has yet to stop.
Along the way, Dulfer has made scores of friends in high places. She appeared in
Prince's "Partyman" video in 1990, and played with him on the Graffiti Bridge
soundtrack released that same year. She has toured with him frequently since the
late '90s, most recently on his Musicology tour in 2004. She also played on his
2006 release, 3121.
Other collaborative partners over the years have included Dave Stewart (Eurythmics),
Maceo Parker, Van Morrison, David Sanborn, Beyonce, Pink Floyd, Chaka Khan,
Aretha Franklin, Blondie, Joey DeFrancesco and many others. Clearly, this is an
artist who will not be hampered by the typical constraints of one genre or style
"I think one of the reasons why my career has gone so well, and continues to go
well after all these years," says Dulfer, "is because I make this really strange
mix of all the music I grew up with, even if it doesn't always make sense. I'm
not afraid to put jazz and R&B and house music into what I'm doing. For some
people, this sounds crazy, but most people just like it."
Dulfer brings this melting-pot approach to Candy Store, her debut on Heads Up
International. The album is a churning confection of R&B, pop, funk, hip-hop,
Latin and more - an all-inclusive formula that's consistent with her career-long
philosophy of weaving a diversity of styles to craft high-energy, positive
"Aside from my father, I was one of the first musicians in Holland to really
just go for it and say, 'Whatever,'" says Dulfer. "I'll never play the American
forms of music as well as the Americans, because they invented it. But what I
can do is take it and combine it with what I know from my own culture and my own
background, and then make the music that I think would be the most fun."