CHANDLER, the queer ingenious lyricist, singer-songwriter extraordinaire, has recently released his EP, “Brent”. This bonafide raconteur’s upcoming music release is self titled after his middle name and represents the return to an honest identity previously shoved aside and artificially altered by the standards of the music industry and all things “Hollywood.” Highlighting beautiful insecurities from skin imperfections to sexuality, “Brent” liberates any inadequacies and celebrates everything that was once deemed unacceptable.
“Brent” is a catchy pop-folk inspired piece of art that combines intimate, acoustic-based arrangements with warm and familiar melodies, enhancing the generic pop formula and allowing a glorious space for the passionate vocals. The production carries hopeful but honest, get-stuck-in-your-head type of harmonics, and is as freeing and authentic as is the journey to rediscovery of self.
Alabama’s own CHANDLER, has expanded his repertoire, collaborating with artists from Los Angeles to New York and everything in between, including Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, Grammy award winning producers, Jintae Ko, John Greenham and Femke, and Nashville’s top hit songwriters, Rob Persaud and Deanna Walker. He’s recently been featured on Tokyo Smoke’s latest single, “Lie to Me.’ Wearing his heart on his sleeve, CHANDLER creates music we can all relate to, much like LAUV or FINNEAS with a twist of Ed Sheeran.
With 3 EP’s set to release before the end of the year, CHANDLER continues to expand his artistry and push himself creatively. The final EP will be paired with a tasting menu, creating an intimate experience that transcends listeners deep into the throws of his mind.
Who is CHANDLER and how do you identify?
I am first, human. But, I am also an artist, a son, a brother… We are all many things. I’ve never been a fan of labelling because I believe we should all be on a constant path of growth and change. I do not want to be defined by any title related to my art, or genre, or sexuality, or otherwise. A bird is a bird until you call it a bird. Then it loses it’s wander because it’s just another bird. I don’t want to be just another “fill in the blank.” I believe queer is a spectrum, and we’re all on it. No matter how we have defined ourselves or have been labeled by others, we are all beautiful and should be seen with wander.
When did your music career start?
Music has always been a forefront in my life – a means of emotional and artistic expression. I started creating and really delving into it as a form of therapy and release and joy around 16, but it wasn’t until I dropped out of college and uprooted my life to Los Angeles about 5 years that I really nose dived into it as a way of life.
What can new listeners expect to hear in “Brent” ?
This EP is a release of all things I’ve ever been insecure about. The cover art is the close ups of that in the physical. “Brent” is my middle name – a name I dropped when I moved to LA in an effort to “rebrand” and “conform” to what I was told “people wanted to see and hear.” I started going by my first name, Chandler. I took back my name. I took my body. I’m taking back my art in the form of music. “BRENT” is indie pop. It is honesty. It is the first bridge to where I’m going musically.
Who are the people you admire?
I admire anyone who is chasing a dream in any field. It’s not easy to keep going and pushing and driving every day, but there is power in it. I admire those who are striving for something greater than the usual, bigger than themselves.
Have you ever faced any issues related to your sexuality or identity?
I’m from a small town in Alabama. I grew feeling the need to hide various parts of me and my personality in an effort to fit in and not be outcasted or looked down upon. That internalization though, led me to music. I think it’s sad that lack of exposure has led to misunderstanding and in some cases hatred to marginalized groups of people. I am happy to say that my small town is changing, and I hope the rest of the world can do so as well. Lead with love, and this will be a better place for everyone.
What advice would you give to young LGBTQ+ artists who look up to you?
Back in Alabama, I hadn’t had the opportunity to truly explore and get to know myself as every child should get to do. They should be free to play with hairstyles and clothing and sports and hobbies that feel most authentic – that bring them the most joy. It wasn’t until I got to Los Angeles, that I felt that I could do that. I bleached my hair. I wore some hideous fake glasses for a while. I played with my own aesthetics and eventually came back to myself – I guess who I was all along. But I needed that experience. My advice is don’t be afraid to experiment. Find out who you really are. Play with the concepts that you think define you, and let go and settle into your own skin. The one’s who love you will still love you. The one’s who stop never loved you in the first place, and you don’t need them. And, along the way, you’ll find a multitude of people who love you for exactly who are you.
You have already collaborated with very big names. Which moment do you cherish the most?
Every writing session is bliss to me, as long as I don’t hungry. Snacks are a must. No matter if I’m in the room with other artists or writers or producers with high accolades or a random guy I met down the street who wants to get into music, it is the creation of art and the expression of authenticity that I love. Recently, I was connected with Tokyo Smoke – an edm, house, dance style of producers. By the time this article is published our EP will be out, and I am so excited for the world to hear what we created. They allowed me to explore a different side of music that I’ve only recently come to know, and I have really enjoyed being able to more freely release the words and imagery from my head without having to box it into “my” current genre or style of music. I loved our process and I love what we created and I hope you get a chance to listen and feel and dance to it.
What are your future plans?
I have two more EP’s coming out this year – 2 more bridges to where I’m going artistically. I’ll be combining my worlds of music and food in an effort to immerse you in a full body experience. Taste and touch and sounds and visuals that enhance the music and transport the listener to my mind, a sometimes cool and interesting and sometimes dark place to be. Should be a fun ride.