Born in between the off beats, and bump and grind of the Disco-Funk Era in Chicago, Chanda has been weaving stories through song, humming melodies, and bending words since her childhood. After graduating from Howard University, she took a flight to New York with dreams of using her freshly-earned journalism degree on Madison Avenue. Daunted by rush hour and cubicles, she turned to music for solace and soon after began her professional career in musical theater, appearing in a variety of productions, from New Jersey’s Hudson Shakespeare Company and regional tours, to „Hair, The Musical“ in Amsterdam and Milan.
Her “bewitching voice,”as described by the Baltic Times, has a flexibility and range that has graced a variety of musical projects: from her latest album „Sapphire Dreams“ recorded with the legendary pianist Kirk Lightsey, „Feeling Good: A Tribute to Nina Simone“ where she was featured with sax powerhouse Donny McCaslin, gospel fests and workshops with the Golden Gospel Singers, and concerts with the Outreach Orchestra, to appearing as a featured vocalist on Ö1 „Jazznacht,“ tours with Zimbabwe’s Nobuntu, performing with Russian classical pianist Denis Matsuev’s Crescendo Festival, and sharing her song and sound with digital performance art projects and folkloric dance companies. She has also performed as an opening act for India.Arie, Amel Larrieux, Angela Bofill, Regina Belle & The Whispers, and on live television for ORF’s Dancing Stars.
Chanda’s Langston Hughes inspired concert series, “I Too Speak of a River,” was granted the Harlem Stage Fund for New Works, and “Listening to Roots and Voicing Branches,” a multimedia theater piece she penned and performed with recording artist Somi was presented in New York’s Apollo Salon Featured New Works Series and Lincoln Center.
Her passion for interfaith and intercultural dialogue through music, ritual and story, led her to Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University where she studied as a Hough Scholar, Hudnut Award recipient, and received her Masters degree in Theological studies with a focus on building and healing communities through original sacred story, improvised music and community song. She continues to share her research, stories and music at conferences and organizations internationally, lead RiseUpGospel workshops, and teach song leading as a presenter with Music that Makes Community.
Recordings: Like|Water (2005), I Too Speak of a River (2007), LIVE in Schwaz (2009), Rise Up (2010), Surrender (2010), Feelin‘ Good: A Tribute to Nina Simone (2011), Homebound (2013) Sapphire Dreams (2018), Better Place (2018)