Candi grew up in Central Covadonga, Cuba, among the sugar fields and green plains of Central Cuba. Music was everywhere in the life of a guajira (country girl) and whether she was listening to her mother play records or dancing to her father playing congas, Dulce (as she was called in Cuba) responded to all things musical. Before she could write she memorized songs from the radio, listening for them to be played over and over again. If she didnt understand the lyrics she would ask her parents to try and fill in the gaps. In this way she developed her first repertoire, of Cuban Folk Songs, at age six.
A tumultuous adolescence followed the stay in the refugee camp. In the years between leaving Cuba and reuniting with her parents, Candi lived in Long Beach, California, where she and her brother and sister attended Catholic school. Here she was asked by the nuns to be the lead soloist in church. Abused by her foster father, separated from other children by a language barrier and wondering when, or if, she would ever see her parents again, music became her primary focus. She took hold of her voice at this point, and never let go. When her parents arrived, three years later, her hopes for a normal family life were further abolished. Her father, as a political prisoner, had experienced a psychotic break and the trauma they had experienced during their last years in Cuba made establishing a new life in the USA a monumental challenge.
Candi soon was asked to sit in on sessions with names like Poncho Sanchez, Paquito de Rivera and Juan Pablo Torres. She played with Andy Garcia and Celia Cruz at "Carnaval Azucar"; she appeared at the Coliseum with Oscar de Leon; she played with Anita O'Day and Eddie Cano at "Jazz on the Hill" she did studio work with Eddie Palmieri and performed and recorded original arrangements with 23-piece H.M.A Jazz Orquestra.
When the group of Pedro Pans saw Candi performing with Juan Pablo Torres and Paquito DRivera at the Calle Ocho Festival in Miami, they had no idea that director Estella Bravo had been similarly captivated by the footage of Dulce Maria. New York-born, resident of Havana and dear friend of Fidel Castro, Ms. Bravo is considered one of the leading documentary film makers of our time. Inspired by David Susskinds footage, she decided to make a modern documentary about the children of Project Pedro Pan. Dulce Maria, the little girl whose voice captivated the audience, Candi Sosa the professional singer who worked with the "whose who" of the Latin music world, would be her star. It was during this time that Candi had the opportunity to fulfill her life-long dream of returning to Cuba.