We had the good fortune of connecting with Chandler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chandler, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I have a hard time finding much happiness in anything else. The answer was right in front of me from age 9 forward. I went to a magnet school in Newport News, Virginia for fourth grade — every kid had to “audition” for visual art and enrichment choir. Story goes, according to my mother, that my choir teacher had to steal me from the art teacher after the “auditions”. The rest was history. I still played sports until the 7th grade, but 4th grade enrichment choir turned into school band and then I was introduced to community theatre… things just started to snowball. I didn’t go to the same school for more than one year in a row from the 3rd to the 9th grade — which made it hard to make friends or connect with anyone for that matter — so creativity started to feel more and more like a safe home base with each passing year.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve learned to just be myself. That is so typical and cliche, but I can’t begin to explain how much more success I’ve had since I laid my whole personality out there. As a solo artist, last year, I decided to start going under the name “Chandler” — which, of course, is just my first name. Something clicked as I started working on my latest music that made it apparent that anything I did outside of authenticity was going to be viewed as corny. I have moved through a plethora of genres and mediums in the last 17 years from a kid to an adult and while it had its moments that felt effortless — most of the time it felt like pulling teeth. I’m the first person in my family that has tried to make it in “entertainment”. Not having an inherent example to go off of is difficult. I relied on people I met along the way to play the guiding hand. I made a lot of mistakes along with some of the best decisions of my life. Accepting that it isn’t supposed to be easy is very freeing. I still care too much though.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Depends on where you’re talking about. When I first moved to New York City, and didn’t know where the fuck I was, whenever friends would come to visit I would take them to what we called “the trifecta” in Manhattan. Empanada Mama for dinner and sangria pitchers. Mickey Spillane’s for soft serve margaritas to loosen up before hitting The Mean Fiddler with all the tourists to dance the night away and/or spend way too much fucking money on drinks.
Now we have a 3-piece in Brooklyn that we often arrive at on the weekends. Union Pool. Alligator Lounge. Rocka Rolla… but, boy do I love The Commodore for dinner.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My immediate family — Mom, Dad, and my three sisters Chelsea, Emma and Elle. It would be impossible for me to do any of what I’ve done thus far without that anchor.
Betsy Struxness / Drewe Goldstein