INTERVIEW: Chandra and “Lighters To The Sky”
Interview by: Alexie Jung
On 28th April 2023 Bristol-based indie-rock singer-songwriter Chandra released his new single ‘Lighters To The Sky’, a guitar-fuelled, sing-along anthem that encourages people to be true to themselves and strive for their dreams. We got to chat with him around the release about his artistry, inspirations and upcoming plans.
-Hey Chandra! Can you start with a quick introduction?
Hi everyone and a huge thank you to the Manor 208 crew for having me! My name’s Chandra. I’m an indie-rock/pop-rock singer-songwriter based in Bristol, UK and I sing songs about being making the world a nicer place to be in. That probably raises some eyebrows, right? Doesn’t make a great tabloid headline, does it? But it’s important to me that I’m singing about something positive, encouraging and uplifting.
-What was the starting point of your career in the music industry?
It all started out at my local Open-Mic night; I was 16 and used to go there and jam with my mates from school. One thing led to another and we started an awesome band but it wasn’t until we took a coach-load of people from Poole to London and put on a packed show at Sound in Leicester Square that we all realised… “wow, we could actually do this”. That magical feeling never leaves you.
-You’ve just released “Lighters To The Sky” – what can you tell us about this track?
Lighters To The Sky is basically a love song to all the people who have a dream but are struggling to stay on track. Most of us have something we want to achieve during our lives; it could be as relatively minor as cutting back on alcohol or doing more exercise or it could be a long-term ambition like becoming a professional dancer. Whatever the size and scope, it can
be a struggle to work hard at changing things up and this song is supposed to be an uplifting antidote to the blues that kick in when you wonder why you’re it and how you’re ever going to achieve it.
As bystanders and observers we also have the power to lift people around us. If someone is having a bad day one positive comment can be the fuel that drives somebody on for the next week. On the flipside, one negative comment can have a really damaging effect and be on their mind for weeks on end.
-Was it important for you to have a music video to accompany this song in particular?
Absolutely. The song needs 10 verses to really explain the full message so I struggled with that a bit. The music video allows me to focus on 2 really great examples of the struggles that people face in their every-day lives and how one single nasty message can knock someone down. Friends and family can lift you back up but what if you don’t have that around you? I really hope the song and the video make people think for a second about their own dreams but also how they can support others with a few words.
-Who are your main musical influences?
There are so many artists and songs that inspire me to want to be on stage and be a song-writer. Generally speaking it’s live shows that make me tingle. Seeing R.E.M. at Milton Keynes Bowl as a kid was the spark that led to a raging inferno inside. Radiohead, Prodigy, Underworld at Glasto… I’ve lost count of the number of insanely good live acts that have topped up my inspiration meter so many times over that it’s all I ever want to do for the rest of my life.
In terms of pure music, I’m a sucker for a great melody and that’s why my music has vocal melody front and centre. Bowie, The Carpenters, Elton, MJ, The Beatles, R.E.M., U2, Radiohead, Suede, Blur, Oasis, Coldplay but also great pop like Britney (yes really), Miley, Marina, Dua Lipa, The Weeknd… the list goes on. There are countless songs and artists that inspire me keep writing every day.
-What’s coming next for Chandra?
I’ve got a lot of festival appearances line up over the Summer, which tie in with the release of the next single ‘Pretty’. I’m really excited about everybody hearing that song and the video is going to be pretty out there.
Right this second I’m working on putting a full band together to take these songs on the road over the next few months so if you think you’ve got what it takes get in touch!