Dulfur can more than hold her own in the world of sax

Published on March 23rd, 2021

By Jim Dail

The music field is often a study in double standards for women. A beautiful pop star may have little talent but can make it on her looks. An attractive musician who excels in her craft is often dismissed because of the focus on looks first and foremost.

That’s not true of the jazz world. An attractive woman performing onstage at a jazz show is sure to be noticed, and if she is the sax player, she’s sure to be noticed even more, but not because of her beauty.

Candy Dulfer certainly knows her craft. She has performed with such notables as Prince, Pink Floyd, Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Tower of Power and David Sanborn, to name a few.

“I’ve realized that my looks could play more of a role in how people see me at first, but once they hear me I think they pay more attention to the music,” said Dulfer. “I realize that I have been marketed that way to an extent, but it was always on my terms with my total control so it has never been a concern for me.”

A native of Amsterdam, the sax star began playing at the age of six under the guidance of her musician father, Hans Dulfer.

“My father was a renowned sax player in the Netherlands, and he got me into playing alto sax,” she said. “The main reason is that a tenor sax is too hard to carry when you are little.”

However, it was not a case of a parent pushing his or her child into a career.

“My father never pushed me to play,” she said. “I learned to play watching my dad play, so even though I did have some lessons I mainly worked it out on my own.”

As Dulfer points out that although her father was a musical success, he also had another job as a car salesman.

“I thought that’s what I would do, too,” she said.

As she played concerts with her father, she began to be noticed. She did her first studio work with her father at the age of 11 and then formed a band playing the club circuit in Amsterdam.

“I didn’t have a record company, but I had received some offers but just kept playing dates locally,” she said. “I formed the band Funky Stuff and we got a lot of gigs locally and opening up for other people.”

Her break came when the band was slated to perform as a support act for Prince, but the American pop star canceled her job. After writing to the star and criticizing his decision, he asked her to join him on stage. From there, he asked her to do some studio work with him.

Prince was so impressed he offered her a spot playing on his upcoming tour; she politely declined.

 “He wanted me to go on tour with him, and while I enjoyed working with Prince, I wanted to be a solo artist and work for myself,” she said. “I missed playing in my band.”

Soon she was performing with others, such as Dave Stewart and Pink Floyd, and she decided to accept a record deal from BMG Ariola and record her first album, “Saxuality.”

The success of the album was stunning, earning her a Grammy nomination, as well as selling more than a million copies. It’s been success after success every since.

Her latest album, “Candy Store,” was released in the United States a few weeks ago, and that desire to remain independent is apparent.

“I had the complete freedom to record the music however I wanted it,” she said. “Making music shouldn’t be this much fun. I’m very fortunate.”

As for the jazz genre, it’s essentially the case of her being labeled, not necessarily selecting a particular pathway.

“I never picked the instrument to play jazz,” she said. “But the sax is a jazz instrument, but I’ve never considered myself solely as a jazz artist.”

While she loves the music, touring and recording, it is clear that Dulfer is content in life, and takes nothing for granted. However, just as the great jazz artists of the past and present, adaptation suits her well.

“I’m still lucky that I can just do music for a living,” she said. “But I wouldn’t mind going back to selling cars.”



Comment guidelines, edit this message in your Wordpress admin panel