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Q+A Celebrity Connection: Back on Dry Land – Candice Glover

Local American Idol winner Candice Glover is back Home following a month trapped on a cruise ship.

Story by Lisa Allen

Candice Glover, a native of St. Helena Island, won the American Idol competition in 2013 and has been performing, arranging music and writing ever since. She performed on a cruise ship recently and got trapped on the ship for a month because of COVID. No port would accept the ship because of the virus threat. She’s on land again, resuming her life of making music and being a music coordinator and student at SCAD, while adjusting to a different world because of COVID and protests over racial inequality.

[LOCAL Life] Where are you living these days?

[Candice Glover] I live wherever I do shows. Whenever I’m not doing shows, I’m the music coordinator for Savannah College of Art and Design, SCAD, so I alternate between its Atlanta and Savannah campuses.

[LL] What projects are you working on?

[CG] I’m working on music, but I’m not in a rush because I want everything to be perfect. I’m actually on a plane to Houston right now (pray for me) to make some music with my favorite producers. SCAD is also a never-ending project for me because I get to work with the university’s best singers and create amazing productions for them. I also study dramatic writing at SCAD on a full scholarship, and I sing with the group as well. I wanted to be a writer before I wanted to be a singer way back in 5th grade. I’m looking forward to putting out some new movies and shows as I learn more, and this fall I hope to dive deeper with my writing, and with the singing ensemble on black culture. Hopefully, we can create some moving projects and performances for our university and everywhere.

Trapped at sea Glover was one of 2,000 passengers stuck on the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship after many ports closed for COVID.

[LL] I know you performed on a cruise ship in the Pacific Ocean and got stuck on the ship because ports weren’t accepting ships into harbor because of COVID. Given that, would you work on a cruise ship again? Tell us a little about that experience.

[CG] I was on the cruise ship for six months to perform, seven counting the month of rehearsal in Tampa, and eight counting the month I got stuck on the ship. I was scheduled to disembark on March 15 in Bora Bora, but they closed their borders to us the very day before. From there, we headed back to Suva, Fiji, where we came from, but by that time, they were closed, too! From there, we headed to Tauranga, New Zealand, a six-day trip, and were turned away when New Zealand decided not to accept ships either. From there, we headed to the American Samoan Islands, but only to get gas. No one was allowed to get off the ship.

This is when Corona was getting serious, so you can imagine how stressed we all were that we wouldn’t be able to go home like we planned. Well, in the end, we headed from Samoa to Hawaii and stayed there for seven days trying to convince them to let us off. Even though I was just a guest entertainer, I was even on the phones with the Department of Travel and the Customs Border Control. I couldn’t get through to anyone. I felt like I would never make it home! Finally, after those seven days, we took another six-day trip to L.A., where I was able to disembark on April 4. It was the happiest day of my life! I spent a month in quarantine in Savannah before visiting my family even though we’re very blessed to not have the virus on the ship at all. I was missing my friends and family the most around that time.

The shows were probably my favorite productions that I’ve ever put on! I played the Disco Diva in a show called VELVET. I wore the most beautiful dresses, and in my role I took this boy named “Country Mike” on a journey through boogie wonderland, complete with aerialists from Cirque and sirens and dancers for a whole grand event! I also did my own production on the main stage, A Night with Candice Glover, where guests got to know me better with stories and songs I did on TV as well as some of my favorite songs I just love to sing. I wanted my family to come see me SO BADLY, just because of how proud I was of the shows, but I was on a cruise itinerary that stayed in the Pacific Ocean, primarily New Zealand, Australia, and the French Polynesian islands. Seeing the world was also a favorite part of mine as well. I’m used to traveling alone, but that was the longest I’ve ever been away.”

I couldn’t get through to anyone. I felt like I would never make it home!”

[LL] What are some positives that have come out of this new post-virus world we’re living in?

[CG] A positive for me would be my health and fitness. I’ve given up meat and I’ve been trying out new vegetarian recipes. I think this was positive for me because I can actually be in one place while I’m in quarantine instead of traveling. I can go to the grocery store for what I want to make, and work out as often as I want.

[LL] Have you participated in any of the protests? Why or why not? 

[CG] I haven’t just because I haven’t been in one place long enough. I was home for a day or so and saw the protesters in front of the courthouse in Beaufort, and I wanted to get out and protest with them! It’s really hurtful to deal with the recent events as a black person. I can feel it in the deepest part of me, and I know that every black person feels that pain. It’s hard to fathom that this could actually happen to us, you know? My heart goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one or had to deal with the racism that still cripples this country. It’s time for it to end. Period.

[LL] What message do you have for people of color in Beaufort County? What would you like to see changed in your hometown?

[CG] I just want to see my hometown showing more love to one another because that is what will hold us together. There is so much talent in Beaufort County, and I would love to collaborate on some kind of collective project that we could all benefit from! I want to see us all winning and succeeding, and that starts with love for each other. And let’s make the old Publix (on Lady’s Island) into a Sky Zone or something for the kids!