The Right Time
A few weeks ago, Candes Meijide Gentry spent the better part of the day scaling a series of 7-foot walls, maneuvering up and down hills of mud underneath barbed wire, and enduring about 25 other obstacles — all while trail running.
It was her first Spartan Race, and while she admits it was challenging, it wasn’t the hardest physical feat she’s ever done. That title would be reserved for the notoriously difficult Ironman Triathlon.
Looking at Gentry’s petite frame, though, people sometimes underestimate her.
“Everyone says, ‘oh you are going to lift that same weight? You are competing against someone who is twice as tall as you are, twice as strong as you are,'” she says. “Well, I don’t know if I am going to, but I am definitely going to try.
“(In the Spartan Race) it didn’t matter how tall or short or fit or unfit (you are),” she says. “If you wanted to get over that wall, you were going to make it happen.”
She said that last sentence in an off-the-cuff kind of way, talking just about the race. But really, it seems to be a metaphor for how Gentry approaches her whole life.
Perhaps most widely recognized from her stint as Miss Hawaii in 1999, Gentry serves as a director of a few subsidiaries of her family’s land and home development company The Gentry Company, is a realtor associate at Choi International, and has a string of philanthropic efforts such as creating a scholarship for University of Hawaii students and volunteering with the Miss Hawaii Princess Program designed to teach character development to girls ages 5-12.
And she is an accomplished recording artist — an endeavor that she is now returning to after a four-year hiatus.
It’s an interest that has spanned nearly her whole life. She got her start in choir when she was in elementary school — and kept up the hobby all the way through high school. She then moved into musical theater, starring in shows at Diamond Head Theatre. She recorded her first album while running for Miss Hawaii as a thank you to her supporters, and from there, she did a string of cover albums. Eventually, she wanted to make the jump into creating her own songs — she’d always written poetry, and worked to develop her poems into songs and released an electro-pop EP, Love Game, in 2012.
But after giving birth to her son Poet, now 3, Gentry took some time off. Now she’s back with a forthcoming electronic dance music album titled It’s My Time. The 10-song album, a mix of Gentry’s powerful-yet-melodic vocals and dance beats, is set to be released Aug. 26.
“This is my first foray back into music,” she says. “I felt like it was time.”
Metro recently chatted with Gentry about her new album.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTERESTED IN SINGING?
I loved music ever since I was really little, and I decided in fourth grade that I wanted to try out for choir. I didn’t get in, and I was heartbroken. (The teacher) said you have to learn to sing out. I was awkwardly shy when I was little — and now people never believe me — so I built up my confidence and came back the next year. From that moment on, I just fell in love with music.
WHAT WAS IT THAT MADE YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH MUSIC?
I guess I loved being able to evoke emotion in people, and I really enjoyed playing a part. I liked the performance aspect of it, and so I really got into musical theater in the beginning, because you could play someone else — you could play a part and really become someone new.
WHY DID YOU WANT TO GET BACK INTO MUSIC NOW?
It takes a lot of time, energy and emotion, and I feel like I wasn’t ready to share a story right after having my son; I was so engrossed in being a mother, it was hard for me to connect to that aspect of myself. Of course, (being a mother) is always the most important hat that I wear, and will be forever, but I am able to get in touch with getting back to philanthropy, continuing to be involved professionally and now being able to satisfy my creative outlet.
I realized through this that what I love about singing is I love the creative process — I love being able to share my emotions and what I am feeling. I missed that, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I got back to it.
WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS LIKE?
I start with a poem. I come up with a feeling or an emotion that I want to communicate. Then I work with my producer (Michael Crawford aka Magnedo7) on the Mainland who really is the beats master … I tell him what I want to communicate, I send him the words, and then he sends me options of beats that he creates, and I can choose … And then he sits down with a team of writers and transforms my poem into lyrics.
WHAT IS THE ALBUM ABOUT?
It’s called It’s My Time because I think as we mature we are able to — I am able to — be more vulnerable and share those stories and those feelings with people. I feel like It’s My Time basically represents being at a stage where you just don’t care anymore — not in a bad way, but you just want to put it all out there and say you can take it or leave it, because this is who I am, this is how I feel.
It’s describing the emotions that you can call on throughout your life in your various relationships. It’s sort of a journey of love.
It’s not just one relationship — it’s a lifetime of relationships and not only intimate relationships, but it’s the cycle of a relationship.
WHY THIS NEW FOCUS ON EDM?
I just love that kind of music — it moves me. I was really into it when I was younger because we traveled a lot to Europe and my mom would always take us to these amazing European nightclubs and that is all they played … And then when it started to get popular again, I was like this is amazing! And now it’s sort of at its prime, and so I just felt like there is never a better time than now, which is kind of how I live my life.
WHAT ELSE IS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST?
To be honest, I don’t know. I am more of a live-in-the moment kind of person, and I sort of just take things as they come. I think it is always better to look forward than to look backward. At some point, I am never going to have a faster marathon, so am I going to continue to run the marathon and be disappointed? Maybe I will try to do something different.
I want to just sort of be open-minded and most definitely to continue to challenge myself.