If there were any an uplifting artist to get you to smile, it’s pop-rock sensation Chandra Nair. Off the success of “Lighters to the Sky” and Pretty, the singer is back with another encouraging single aptly named “Smile.” The single was released just a month ago as a cheeky reminder for us to not get caught up in what others think of us. Both the singer and the song are much deeper than the lighthearted vibe at first glance. We got to dig a little deeper with the self-described “very chatty and very outgoing” artist.
I love that your music is so uplifting. does this fit with your personality?
Well, there are two parts to that answer. Yes, I am absolutely a bit of a crazy loon. Very outgoing, very chatty, always seeing the bright side in everything but it’s important for me to be honest and say that I wasn’t always like this. A big part of the music I’m writing is that every song came from having a really hard look at myself and seeing what I wanted to change or improve about myself. And in the process of doing that I realised that actually a whole load of people have these same issues in common. I’m still in that process right now… learning to be more positive towards people around me and taking the time to understand them… actively be supportive of people’s achievements… learning to be more tolerant of all kinds of people… trying hard to let myself smile and laugh even when I feel self-conscious about it. I’m not there yet but I’m getting better every week!
In light of the titles, you do touch on some deep and personal issues, like mental health. Can you speak on that for a bit?
Well, let’s start off by saying that I think social media really is the devil… BUT better the devil you know, right? I truly feel like it’s the crux of so many mental health issues these days. The way people treat each other and talk to each other is just horrific but like I say, better the devil you know… we all know it’s an issue but we also know what we have to fix. Social media has the potential to be exactly the opposite but it comes down to us to just be a little bit nicer to each other and try to educate the nasty ones. That’s what inspired Lighters To The Sky; just taking the time to be nicer to people. Don’t look at someone’s post and think “oh well done you”. Actually take 30 seconds to say “well done you” because if some other nasty person has a dig at them then that’s the main takeaway for that person’s day. And those little digs add up and multiply over the weeks, months and years, and before you know it we have a society of people who have been flattened to nothing by trolls.
And yeah, I know this is not a cool thing to chat about but the point is, let’s take a few minutes to think about how we can be better as people, and then the end result is that EVERYONE is happier and we can spend more time being happy, dancing, laughing, singing and living.
What message do you hope to share with listeners?
Smile. Laugh. Sing. Dance. Rock out. Be kind and considerate so that we can all find the confidence to simply be ourselves. The core meaning behind the songs is really important to me but the music is just as important. I like to think I write positive, uplifting, singalong pop songs that make you want to throw your hands in the air and jump around the room. So you go ahead and rock the f**k out for 3 minutes and I hope you get so much joy out of it that you listen again and again… and maybe after a while you start to think about the song and its meaning and then you get something a bit more out of it too.
Are you working on any new music now?
Always! My brain is writing music 24/7. As of yesterday I’ve just written the new single (follow-up to “Smile (No Fox Gibbon)”, which I am MEGA excited about. That should be released in February. The idea is that there will be a proper EP released in April. That will be the first thing that people can actually go and buy.
Who are your musical influences?
This is a complicate answer. I wouldn’t say that any single band or artist directly influence my songwriting but for me music is the thing that makes me ‘want’ to do what I do. Music and live music are such powerful things and when I see or hear something that really affects people it sends a tingle up and my spine and inspires me to keep going… it reminds me that this is all I want to do in life.
I grew up with records playing in the background… The Beatles, Bowie, The Carpenters… some of the strongest melodies ever written and I guess that’s why I’m so melody driven. But then in my teens I lived through Britpop… Radiohead, Muse, Oasis, Blur, Garbage, Mansun, Suede, Elastica… so the guitars, the attitude and the complexity of songwriting came from there. But then I’m a melody guy at heart so I can’t help but be an absolute pop-queen and unashamedly embrace anything that has a great melody… Britney, Pink, Marina, Taylor. Let’s be honest; if you really think about my songs they are pop songs that just happen to be full of guitars… I‘m a strange blend of all kinds of influences.
What’s the best reaction you’ve received to something you’ve written and/or performed?
When I wrote Lighters To The Sky I still wasn’t sure if anybody would be interested because I was putting myself out there emotionally. I was just being honest and I wasn’t at all confident that people would care… but it turns out they did. The first time I put it out there a few people immediately said that it was so uplifting and had really made their day. Those early reactions changed everything because it meant that I could finally be honest about how I felt and still be relevant to people’s lives. It’s only because of those early reactions that I let myself go and that led to Pretty and Smile (No Fox Gibbon).
Have you had an “i’ve made it” moment yet; or are you still waiting for that moment to come?
I question myself quite often about it… like “do I really care about making it?”. What does making it mean? For me, I am now, finally, writing songs that are truly honest, promote a better world and a healthier attitude, but also genuinely make people happy. I’ve put out 3 songs inside of 9 months that do exactly that. So I’m really happy with that and comfortable in myself. But I want to get this message out to more people… a lot more people and that will only come with time and hard work. I want to get the EP recorded so that I have a body of ultra-positive music that gives people a half-hour life-affirming shot in the arm. You listen to that EP… you’re ready to do anything. So no, I haven’t had that moment yet; but I do know it’s coming.
Where do you see yourself and your music in the future, say five years from now?
Let’s not beat around the bush here. My life changing moment was watching R.E.M. at the Milton Keynes Bowl as a kid. The stadium tour… talking directly to 70,000 people… I want that opportunity. 5 years… album 3 just launched… stadium tour sold out. I can do it, right?
How did you come up with the title of “No Fox Given?”
In Pretty there’s a repeated chant in the chorus, which is “don’t let the bar stewards drag you down”. I really like that because you can shout something out loud and let off some steam without actually swearing (important because it can be played on the radio or in public). I really wanted to repeat that with the next song and it just came immediately. I really wanted the message to be “just smile like you don’t give a f**k who is watching”… but I didn’t want to have to beep out half the song, haha! So ‘No Fox Gibbon’ is a great way to say the same thing but also wanted to give people something to smile about while they’re listening… I can’t ask people to smile and then not give them something to smile about so I hope when they realise the play on words it makes them giggle and that sets the tone for the song.
Official Website: www.listentochandra.com
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@listentochandra