Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to show the world who you really are- every part of it. I’ve learned people like authenticity. They want to see your true self.
As a part of our series about Nashville’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Chandler Stephens.
Coming from a large family of 16 that included 14 siblings from a variety of ethnicities gave singer- songwriter Chandler Stephens a unique perspective on life and instilled in her the importance of love, family, and unity. “I grew up understanding and knowing we are all human beings deserving of love, kindness, and equality. It is definitely something I draw from for my songwriting and a firm platform for my life.” Since moving from Florida to Nashville to pursue her dream, Chandler has achieved over 6 million streams collectively and is currently releasing songs from her upcoming six song EP. Her distinctively soothing yet poignantly powerful vocals and her real life truthful and vulnerable lyrics shine on such tracks as “Bet on You,” released last fall and the upcoming, “Would’ve Gone Home” releasing January 29. “I want to create music that people can relate to. I want to share my life experience through my music. Music helped me through some tough times and it made the good times even better. I want my music to be able to have that type of impact on others.”https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/f9c7131f66bc7e2d2950f22faaef9145
Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?
I’m from Lake Mary, FL, and I’m one of 16 children. 14 of my siblings are adopted so you could say it was a pretty crazy and exciting environment growing up. My siblings ages range from 38 to 12 so needless to say there was never a dull moment and always someone to talk to.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Music has always been my passion, but I didn’t always see it as a career option. At first I made the choice most people are told to make when they graduate high school. I went to college and started studying psychology to be a counselor, but after my first semester I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to pursue music. I was afraid if I didn’t go for it I would look back one day and regret that I never tried.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I would say the most interesting and exciting was getting to write and record a song with Kane Brown. It’s called “Can’t Stop Love” and it is still one of my favorite songs I’ve released.
Can you share with us an interesting story about living in Nashville?
It’s really cool to live in a town with so many talented singers and songwriters. You can go anywhere in Nashville and here great music. It’s so nice to live in a place where you can connect and write with other people that have the same love and passion for music as you do.
Can you share with us a few of the best parts of living in Nashville? We’d love to hear some specific examples or stories about that.
There’s just so much history here! It’s amazing to be able to go to the places the greats played. Walking through the Country Music Hall of Fame and seeing all of the exhibits is definitely an awesome experience.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I would say looking back at the old stuff I wrote and recorded. I used to look back and not want anyone to hear it or almost be discouraged by it, but now I realize every singer/songwriter starts somewhere and it’s a process. I look back now and am proud I had the courage to start.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My dad. He always believed in me, and always encouraged me to keep going and not give up. He’s the reason I’m still here today. I think as artists we can get really down on ourselves. I know I can because deciding to chase your dream is not always an easy path. There was one time I remember I was in that place, and I called my dad and he just kept telling me- “This is what you love, this is your passion don’t give up on your dream. You have what it takes and don’t ever doubt that.” When I feel myself going to that place, I remember his words.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m releasing my first single of the year on Jan. 29th. It’s called “Would’ve Gone Home” and I have 3 more songs in the works that I’m planning on releasing this year. I’ve been working on them for about a year and a half so I’m really excited to share them with everyone!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Number 1: Trust the process. When I first started, I needed a lot of development. I would get really discouraged because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted or the type of artist I wanted to be, but it takes time and experience. I feel like as artists and as people we are constantly developing and changing so naturally our music will change with us.
Number 2: If someone in the industry tells you no, keep going. There have been people who have listened to my music and it wasn’t their cup of tea, which is going to happen. Not everyone is going to like what you are putting out, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for it.
Number 3: Make sure you have the right people around you. You want people who are going to give you constructive advice but also lift you up.
Number 4: Don’t doubt yourself. You have a passion and a dream. Believe you can do it and keep pushing forward.
Number 5: Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to show the world who you really are- every part of it. I’ve learned people like authenticity. They want to see your true self.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I would say to trust yourself and your artistry. If you are doing this because you love it, and you love music, don’t let anyone take that away from you.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 😊
Kindness and compassion. I think if we as a whole had more of that, the world would be a better place
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Boldness: the willingness to shine bright with radiant fearlessness even when you do not know what will happen.” -Morgan Harper Nichols
Everyday I’m still trying to live by this quote — to not be controlled by my fears. It’s really hard to do, but when you do, it can be so freeing.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 😊
Adele. I have loved her and her music since she started. She’s an incredible writer with an amazing voice, a true artist.
How can our readers follow you online?
Instagram and Facebook- @chandlerstephensmusic
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!