Remembering Photographer and Indie music supporter, Candy "Phoenix Camerah" Burns

It doesn't matter how you spell her first name, Candy with a "c" as I first came to know her, or Kandy with a "K" as was known by many; because for me she will always be radio host - Da Bird, in Da Nest, "Phoenix Camerah" 

I had the distinct priviledge of doing 11 radio co-host spots with Phoenix from my first in 2013, to my last in 2019. She was always spunky and a gracious hostess. I loved her homemade banana bread, and her cheese and kabassa trays. 

Pheonix was one of the first pro photographers that took pictures of me when I returned to rock band performance. We met at Barracuda Pretty in St. Catharines. She came to see my then lead guitarist, Lyric Dubee, who she had been following since his solo career, and we quickly became friends.

She was a straight-shooting coffee lover, with detailed knowledge of the Ontario indie scene. She went above and beyond to get to as many shows as possible, photographing bands for the love of it, rarely taking any money for her incredible work. She ran a few different Internet radio stations during our friendship, helping bands to get coveted air-play and regocnition through SOCAN. Her love was limitless....most of her work, volunteer...and she worked hard. 

To know her was to love her. This article, reprinted here in its entirety, will help you understand what a great loss this is, to her family, her friends, the music community and the world. She was honest, loyal, passionate, funny, stern, if it was needed, but always a dear friend. She will be greatly missed, but in my heart forever. 

Here is the article - 

"She was part of us’: Niagara music scene will miss photographer Kandy Burns" 

by John Law - The Niagara Falls Review 

Kandy Burns, a fixture of the Niagara music scene, died in her sleep Tuesday. 

No matter how diverse Niagara's music scene, it always had one thing in common: Kandy Burns would take your picture. 

No matter the gig, no matter the band, she was a constant presence. A country show one night, heavy metal the next. It seemed every Niagara band and singer had a Kandy Burns photo on their Facebook page. 

This week, those same artists are flooding their social media with tributes to Burns, who died in her sleep Tuesday night. 

"She was part of us, part of our scene," says Niagara musician John Donald. "That's what made her love it so much. Not only was she included, she was very well respected." 

It was a labour of love for St. Catharines resident Burns, who photographed the Niagara scene for nearly two decades. The wife of a truck driver, George, she constantly championed local artists not just with her photos, but through the local online music site indie-rocks.ca. She would often post the daily playlist, spotlighting Niagara bands. 

Donald says Burns was a "closet musician" who became entrenched in the local scene. 

"She was one of us," he says. "Not above or below, but one of us. Always supportive, always a happy person. I never heard her complain ever." 

Local music promoter Jill Lunn says Burns was a "tough cookie" everyone in Niagara's music scene admired. Getting photographed by her was considered an honour. 

"She captured people's true selves doing what they loved an what made them passionate," she says. "A quiet impact, but it was massive, true and lasting upon the Niagara music scene. She will be missed by so many." 

"Kandy was one of the first people to play me on the radio," added local singer Jess Wilson. "And she got one of my favourite shots of me ever. 

"It's going to be weird not having her around because she was such an amazing person." 

Mike Richards, singer for Niagara band Eklectik, says Burns had an "unparalleled" love for local indie music and the people who made it. 

"She supported them without question, she would travel great lengths with the loving support of George just to surprise a band she was close with," he says. "She was amazing at what he did, and without ego. 

"She will be missed by many, but to a select few there is a hole in our hearts that cannot be filled." 

Local music buff Lisa Dawn Bitter-Smith says Burns' charitable spirit equalled her love of music. She recently picked up two bags full of clothing from her to be donated to local homeless shelters. It was the last time she saw her. 

"I hope they have a huge venue for a celebration of her life because I imagine that place will be rocking with Kandy fans," she says. "She was everywhere in the music scene and made her mark, to be remembered fondly." 

While Burns had been struggling with her health recently – only her close friends knew - her sudden death Tuesday left the local scene in shock. 

"It was very sudden and unexpected," says Donald. "There's going to be a huge void left in music because she was prolific. 

"She would go to Niagara Falls, Welland, St. Catharines, Beamsville, Stevensville, she'd go all over the place to see local bands. To cover them, take pictures, and to hang out with their friends. Or make new friends. 

"She loved music, but she was also about the people too." 

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RIP Candy "Pheonix Camerah" Burns  - July 10th, 1957 to February 25th, 2020

A memorial jam, Celebration of Life, will take place Saturday, March 14th, 2020 at "Taps Brewery" in Niagara Falls. 1pm. 

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