Johannesburg - Candice Pillay is frank when asked about her latest accolade in the music industry.
While the Pietermaritzburg born singer is still floating on cloud nine after her collaboration with US rapper Dr Dre on his latest album Compton: A Story To Tell, Pillay insists she has worked hard to get where she is today.
“I have been working in the music industry for many years on both my artist project and writing for artists,” Pillay said. “It wasn’t an overnight success story. I have been working on my craft and hustling my way to my goals for years now.”
Pillay made headlines two weeks ago when it was revealed that she would be featured on Dre’s latest album.
The 34-year singer, features in the intro of the US rapper’s new album as well as four other songs. Pillay also worked with rapper Eminem.
Pillay said the offer from the “godfather of hip hop” came when she was losing faith in the music industry and “starting to doubt that there were any key players in the game who even still cared about ‘the music’ and not all the irrelevant things attached to the art.
“I met King Mez who was working with Dre. He invited me to the studio to work on some stuff with him. I bumped into Dre in the lounge and was floored. Wasn’t expecting that.
“We started talking about music and he asked me to play him some of my stuff. He loved it. We started making music that very night.”
Pillay, a former pupil at Woodlands High School in the capital, said she had grown up listening to Dre’s music.
”He’s a legend and so is Eminem. To be able to work with people who inspired us as artists to pursue our paths in music is incredible.
“I’ve learnt so much that I will carry with me. To be a part of this album is truly an honour for me.”
Pillay moved to the US when she was 19 years old, working as an au pair. She moved to Los Angeles a year later and now calls the city her home when not in South Africa.
“I kept writing and singing, working hard to survive. Things weren’t always easy; there were times when I didn’t even have a place to stay.”
She started modelling and acting to make ends meet and was featured on the covers of various magazines. She never gave up her dream of singing though, and earlier this year Pillay released her debut album The Mood Kill.
“It took a lot of hard work and perseverance. The competition is fierce.
You really have to believe that what you have is special and fight to be heard. It’s even harder for a foreigner and being a woman doesn’t make it any easier.
“It’s been a long road and I’m just getting started.”
Aside from featuring on Dr Dre’s album, Pillay has also written songs for artists such as Rihanna and Britney Spears.
“I co-wrote Cockiness and American Oxygen for Rihanna. She is great. I love what she has been doing the past couple of years.”