Praised by Opera Wire for her vocal clarity, dramatic presence, and expressive interpretation, soprano Candace Y. Johnson, has concertized widely, including guest appearances at Carnegie Hall and The Manhattan Center, and with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Johnson is a versatile artist, equally comfortable in opera, musical theater, and jazz. She has performed lead roles in Le Nozze di Figaro, The Medium, Suor Angelica, Fame, and she defined the genre-bending role of Jackie in the world premiere of Howard’s End, America with RealOpera, San Francisco (2019).
In the Spring of 2021 at The Marsh Theater, Johnson will premier a solo musical performance series titled The Art Songs of Black Composers, wherein she uniquely integrates vocal performance, theatrical storytelling, and music analysis — all to champion the songs and lives of African American composers past and present. The first installment of this series runs May 22-23rd and centers on the song cycle Ventriloquist Acts of God by Adolphus Hailstork. Other composers to be featured in this special series include Undine Smith Moore, Margaret Bonds, and William Grant Still, to name a few.
In June 2021, Johnson will launch a bi-weekly radio show on the music streaming platform UrbanEx Radio that will focus on the art songs of Black Composers. In addition to her passion for music, Johnson is a fitness enthusiast, and in 2020 she designed and launched FitnesSing!™, her vocal health program that combines vocal training with physical fitness and dance. FitnesSing!™ streams live every Friday at noon on The Marsh Theater’s virtual platform, the MarshStream. It is quickly becoming the rave with singers of every skill level.
In 2018, Johnson premiered her first one-woman show, VOX in a BOX— the musical biography of how she found her “voice.” In VOX in a BOX Johnson uniquely fuses her black music heritage and classical training with storytelling to explore themes of identity, race, belonging, and freedom of expression.
On the voice faculty at the University of California-Berkeley since 2009, Johnson teaches applied voice classes and a musicology course she designed based on her research and performance of works by African-American composers. Prior to her current appointment, she was awarded a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in the music department. Johnson earned her doctorate in voice performance from the University of Michigan, where she studied with the late Shirley Verrett, as well as George Shirley and Willis Patterson.