May 4th, 2016
Hemming - All I Want
Soon after Candice Martello won a VH1 reality competition, control of her musical fate seemed to disappear. But since early 2016 the tides have turned, and Hemming, joined by friends from Philadelphia’s Cayetana and Three Man Cannon celebrates with the recording the anthemic “All I Want”.
From 2010 through 2014, Candice Martello, a young photography student at Drexel University, found her way into a Philadelphia punk band called Omar. They played loud, fun, punk music in a scene that was completely new to her. While bandmate Nick Fanelli encouraged Candice to record her solo music (which she never intended to show to others), he also fielded the call from a VH1 producer asking Omar to compete in the network’s reality rock competition “Make or Break: The Linda Perry Project.”
They figured “what’s the worst thing that could happen...” and agreed to give it a shot. But shortly into the series taping, producers asked Candice to compete alone - in other words without Nick, and not as Omar. It wasn’t necessarily an ideal situation, but it was nonetheless, the beginning of Hemming.
“If you talk to Nick,” says Candice, “he will say we weren’t on that show for Omar. He later told me ‘you had all this solo stuff I felt could probably go somewhere.’ It was an incredibly selfless thing, which was really awesome.”
As Hemming, Candice won the contest, and was automatically signed to Linda Perry’s label. But while her relationship with Perry and people at the label were truly positive, the rules of reality TV had a stifling power of their own.
For one thing, the show wouldn’t air for several months, meaning she couldn’t share any details of the experience with even her closest friends. She had to will herself into a holding pattern, going back to work as a hostess at a bar in Philadelphia. And when the news was at last made public, the opportunities that would come weren’t always what the young indie-punk singer hoped they’d be.
From the moment Candice and Nick started Omar, it was their own initiative that led them to play, record, and find their place in the larger, supportive punk scene. They could make decisions and take action quickly and enthusiastically. But post VH1, while her peers in bands like Cayetana, Modern Baseball and others saw their momentum build, Hemmings progress seemed to halt. She was alone.
Flash forward to 2016, and the final dying embers in the once hopeful VH1 saga have finally burned out. Candice and Hemming are back on their own, free to reignite momentum. As fans of Candice, naturally many friends have come out of the woodwork to be part of the celebration, including members of Cayetana (Shaking Through, Vol. 5, Ep. 4), and Miner Street engineer, Matt Schimelfenig’s band Three Man Cannon. Whether she knew it or not, Candice was, for many in her scene, a real inspiration.
Cayetana’s Augusta Koch recalls seeing Candice in Omar, and thinking for the first time she also wanted to play music. “It was so cool”, says Augusta, ”I remember thinking ‘I want to do that’. It’s hard to do something, and believe in yourself doing it, if you don’t see other people that look like you doing it.”
With Augusta’s bandmate, Allegra Anka, Matt Schimelfenig, and Pat Brier (both of Three Man Cannon), the group eagerly learned Candice’s newest song “All I Want” for Shaking Through. After years of playing solo, the arrangement wasn’t exactly without its challenges.
“Solo singer-songwriters often lose the impetus to count their way through changes in their own songs,” says producer Brian McTear, “and instead feel their way through instinctively. When eventually put back together with a rhythm section, parts of the song may unexpectedly expand or contract, depending on the signer’s whim - even unconsciously - which makes for confusion.”.
But the group endured. From Pat’s powerful, yet generous drumming, to Allegra’s anchoring bass line, to Matt’s soaring, anthemic guitars, the track carries Candice’s forlorn lyrics to triumph. And perhaps the best surprise of all was the magic combination of her voice with Augusta’s. While both are incredibly unique, the two join in “All I want” effortlessly.