By Carly Tagen-Dye
LA-based singer-songwriter Chandler already has many impressive accomplishments under her belt. At just nineteen-years-old, she has a Grammy longlist nominated song, two released EP’s, and a loyal following in her area. Drawing inspiration from Jack Johnson and Carole King, Chandler’s music incorporates a fresh and innovative beach pop sound. Her upcoming single “Balia/Dance” is a new move towards a Latin-American inspired style. With her upbeat songs and personality, Chandler brings the warmth of the California sunshine to her listeners all around the country. Check out our interview with her below!
It’s nice to meet you! Being nominated for a Grammy at sixteen must have been insane! What was that experience like?
Being put on the Grammy longlist with my first-ever release was a really surreal experience. Specifically, I was on the longlist for “Best Rock Song” of 2016 with my song “Story I Once Knew” off of my first EP “The Flashbacks”. The longlist is the top 100 songs in a category, and then the top 5 taken from this group are nominees. Still an absolutely incredible and humbling experience that enabled me to attend the Grammy awards and fall even more in love with the city of Los Angeles! I had absolutely no expectations with my first album, and getting this sort of honor was a huge affirmation that I was headed in the right direction by making music.
Do you feel that your musical style has evolved since then? How has your sound progressed from “The Flashbacks” and “The Sages & Fools” EP’s?
I’ve definitely experienced (and am still experiencing) a tremendous amount of evolution since then. Looking back, it’s sort of funny thinking I started off in a rock category! I feel like each project I release brings me closer to the type of sound and artistry I want to achieve. While my music now is much more organic and minimally produced, I think that my goal of keeping the lyrics the main focus throughout my songs has remained consistent. Eventually, I’d love to simplify my musical style so much so that I can fully produce 100% of my future projects on my own.
The way that each of your songs are structured is so interesting. You take hard-hitting subjects, like heartbreak and loss, but present them in a way that is bubbly and upbeat. What is that process like? Do you find yourself typically writing music or lyrics first?
I’ve always prioritized lyrics above all else in my songwriting, so those have definitely always come first for me. As far as subject matter goes I haven’t ever been able to write about anything that I haven’t experienced personally. I think this authenticity contributes to my songs being a mix of some more intense topics with a lighter musical element. That style is very reflective of my personality and I pride myself in being able to present feelings and ideas in pretty little song packages that, when looked at carefully, end up carrying a lot of depth.
Your upcoming single “Balia/Dance” is in both English and Spanish. Were there any challenges that came with recording that? Anything that surprised you?
The recording process has actually gone quite smoothly! I’ve studied and spoken Spanish my whole life, so I’m mostly just excited to finally be incorporating it as part of my music. My biggest surprise was probably how fun the process ended up being!
Kind of bouncing off of that, you’ve expressed an interest in moving towards Latin American music. What inspired that shift? Is that new style something that we can expect from the rest of your upcoming releases?
Since Spanish has been such an integral part of my academic life, I think incorporating it more into my artistic/creative life was inevitable. It’s been a long-term goal of mine to sing and write in Spanish consistently, so you can bet you’ll be hearing more bilingual content in the future!
You’re originally from Houston. How has your experience making music back home compared to your making music in California?
While there is undoubtedly more career level opportunity out in LA, the actual songwriting process is a bit more challenging. I’m a full-time student at USC and balancing college life with my music life has definitely had its ups and downs over the past year. At home I had a guaranteed space to create music and content whenever I needed to and, in college, I’ve found myself getting pretty creative with finding spaces to make my music! My best college songs have all been written in the laundry room... Maybe that’s the creative secret? (Ha!)
The best part about being in LA and at USC has been the people I’ve been able to work with just by being a music student. The connections and opportunities that exist even just peer to peer at USC are unparalleled to any other place on Earth. Meeting and collaborating with all different types of creatives has not only inspired and encouraged me, but push me and my content to be better than I ever could’ve imagined.
You’re also a student at USC. Is it a challenge balancing school with making music? Have the two ever overlapped in any way?
When I was applying to colleges, I actually only ended up applying to 3 schools (Belmont, Vanderbilt, and USC). In 8th grade, we had to write a letter to our senior selves, and when I opened mine right before graduation I saw that I wrote I wanted to do music at USC. It’s undeniable that coming to USC for music has been a dream of mine! I love school and all things academic, so it was actually another dream of mine to find a way to make the two overlap. Majoring in Music Industry (or Music Business) here at USC is the best of both worlds for me where I can learn more about an industry I not only love, but participate in directly.
Now, for a few lighter questions! I know that you’re really passionate about yoga. Do you have a favorite pose? Do you have a favorite time to practice?
Yoga is SUCH an important part of my life! I think my favorite normal pose would probably be Standing separate leg stretching pose (or Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimottanasana!) and my favorite inverted pose would probably be Pincha Press (forearm stand) which I’ve been practicing quite a bit in the past year! I’ve always gone to hot yoga classes, and I’ve found that with school I usually like to go in the evenings!
If you could collaborate with anyone (living or dead), who would it be?
Jack Johnson! I’ve listened to his music every single morning for over 4 years now, he’s my favorite musician and biggest inspiration. He’s a huge part of who I am as an artist, and it would be a dream to work together on anything with him!
Aside from the new single, is there anything else that fans should be on the lookout for?
More Spanish music and cooler Instagram content! (@chandlersinging)
Lastly, is there anything else you would like us to know?
This single is just the beginning...!