Charlotte solo artist Candy Durant is truly a driven creative. She’s a graphic designer, active community member, synthesizer player, former band member, and is currently focusing on her own solo project. She has a unique story, has accomplished so much, and still has ambitious plans for the future.
Durant’s solo project, Tenderlash is inspired by ’80s underground and dark wave. Growing up, Durant was a huge fan of new wave groups including Duran Duran and Howard Jones, and later started listening to Siouxsie and the Banshees and Bauhaus. She has also drawn inspiration from contemporary artists including Zola Jesus and Bestial Mouths.
Tenderlash has been around for five years, but it’s still only getting started. In late March, Durant released Tenderlash’s Mourning EP, which includes a cover of The Cure’s If Only Tonight We Could Sleep, her original songs Midnight Reprise, and Mourning at Midnight, and two remixes of the latter.
Mourning at Midnight was inspired by memories with her childhood friends. “It’s sort of a nostalgic song,” says Durant. “[I was] thinking about [us] goths hanging out in the cemetery and how we would have these deep conversations about life and death…The lyrics are about when I die, I want everyone around me to party and celebrate my life.”
Throughout Durant’s life as a musician, she has dealt with certain challenges as a female artist, especially on the technical side of things. “People tend to not take women as seriously…I would go shopping for gear and [there’s] just that challenge of sales person not taking you as a serious musician and trying to dumb it down for you,…assuming that you’re a beginner just because you’re a female,” she says.
Durant also says that people don’t expect women to be on stage as often, especially as a synthesizer player. However, she has seen some increase in representation. “I think it’s grown a little bit and there is a lot more female interest in synthesis and overall learning synthesizers.”
As an active member of the Charlotte music scene, she notices that sometimes, it falls short. “There needs to be more initiative to support local music from the audience… People need to see local music as valuable because every band starts as a local band whether they become huge [or not]…I think turnout has been terrible just everywhere. People don’t want to go out to live shows unless its a national touring band.”
In 2011, Durant realized that the people in the dark scene in Charlotte needed a place to connect and a way to communicate. “I just wanted more bands I like to come to Charlotte and I didn’t really see any general promoters or people trying to get bands to come here.”
That’s when she founded the Charlotte Dark Scene Facebook page, a community page for those in the area who have an interest in dark/gothic subculture and fans of underground, new wave, dark wave, synth-pop, and dark electronic music. It connects the community with nearby venues, bands, promoters, and vendors.
“It sort of evolved into a community…This is our tribe. This is the people of Charlotte who all sort of have the same mindset and enjoy the same music…It’s sort of taken a life of its own.” Several people post on the page now, and people outside of Charlotte help spread the word about shows, events, and conventions that are within driving distance.
Durant is also the founder of For The Bats trilogy charity compilation that raises money for bat rescue and rehabilitation. Proceeds from each digital sale go to Bat World Sanctuary, Tolga Bat Hospital, and the Bat Conservation Trust. The trilogy has raised over $5,000 and it still sells today.
“I started it because I had been reading a lot about bats and how necessary they are to pollination and the environment and balance…It was a big interest of mine.” In 2013, Durant reached out to musicians she knew while she was a DJ, first contacting Monica Richards of Faith and the Muse. After Richards agreed to participate, Durant got more anchor bands involved and put out a call for submissions. The trilogy primarily features elegant and more traditional gothic music, but also includes some synth-pop and dark wave.
As a successful creative, Durant has worked hard to get where she is. I asked her what kind of advice she would give to aspiring musicians and creators. “Never stop learning and don’t give up before you start. Just believe you can do it. It’s better to aim high and not quite get there than to not even try,” she says. “I am constantly going on YouTube and learning tutorials or checking with friends, asking for advice. I’ve been playing synthesizers for a long time and I’m still finding out things that I can do that I didn’t know I could do.”
Durant has already gone on tour and played some local electronic festivals while she was performing in bands, but still hopes to play more festivals and perform in Europe as a solo artist. Durant’s ultimate goal would be to work with one of the record labels she admires, but above all, she wants to continue to share her creativity and keep creating new music. Later, she hopes to start writing scores for film.
During the COVID-19 quarantine, Durant is working on new music. Follow her on her socials for updates on her new content and be sure to check out Tenderlash: