The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Distinguished Women Awardees: 5 questions with local musician, singer and artist

Candy Paula, center, local singer, artist and musician, poses next to other Distinguished Women Award recipients after the March 27 reception honoring the awardees. (Erica Lee | The Union)

Candy Higgins Di-Meo, one of the six recipients of the Distinguished Women Award, is an artist, singer and musician who goes by Candy Paula.

Paula performs folk classics and inspirational songs on her guitar in local venues around the South Bay, as well as community holiday events, employee fundraisers and art receptions.

In addition to performing, Paula is a librarian who contributes to the community through volunteer work in art museums and inspires high school girls through the Young Women’s Christian Association.

Q: What is your role in the community and what are some of your responsibilities?

A: Continue to be active with worthy causes, get involved and be supportive. I recently attended a Torrance Firefighters Association spaghetti dinner fundraiser. As a member of the Torrance Artists Guild, I exhibited in group exhibits at the James Armstrong Theatre and the Katy Geissert [Civic Center] Library, exhibited as a solo artist at the Torrance City Clerk’s Office and participated in the Palos Verdes Library “Celebrate Black Heritage” event held in February. As a charter volunteer with the Torrance Art Museum and the Torrance Art Museum Advocates, you get to spread cultural awareness. Also as a member of Local 1117, I participate in rallies for the rights of city workers, just to name a few things.

Q: What projects are you currently working on?

A: As a member of Mu Beta Omega, graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, I’m on a committee [that is] getting ready to implement projects to uplift our local community. [I’m] working on some new instrumental single releases, working on a few paintings, getting various theme paintings together for exhibits at local galleries [and] working on a virtual art exhibit. [My] virtual art exhibit to date: “Soul Survivor,” “Soul Survivor Narrative,” “Ode to Roots” and “Time and Chance.”

Q: What is it like being a woman in your field, and how has that affected your experience as a singer, musician and artist?

A: Music is one of my interests and passions. I was raised to put in the foundational training for whatever might interest me. My family [members] were professional musicians. This encouraged me. This included numerous relatives who could read and write music as composers and music teachers. They are my original influencers, both men and women. In high school, I learned to read music and I played the flute. We played marching band songs, popular music and some classical music. These days, as a folk guitarist, I enjoy music and composing music to different poems. For any project, I work hard to be prepared. In the studio, for instance, time is money. I show up well-rehearsed.

Q: What does “diversity, equity and inclusion” mean to you, and how do you apply it to what you do?

A: Have a record that shows you practice what you preach!

Q: What are some of your goals for the future? What do you hope to achieve through the work you’re doing?

A: Simplicity–[generally] speaking. Pray for peace and love, help others along the way with their dreams, be positive and of good cheer. Be a good steward of my time on this journey of life and give God the glory.

(This Q&A has been edited for readability.)

Editor’s Note: Article previously stated Paula was in the Beta Mu Omega graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. This was corrected to Mu Beta Omega on March 30 at 6:52 p.m.

More to Discover