With a voice described as having an “old soul”, Chloe Dolandis has strong vocals reminiscent of greats like Aretha Franklin and Michael Buble. Dolandis has been a finalist in the Florida Grammy Showcase and the National Society of Arts and Letters Musical Theatre. She was raised as a vegetarian, volunteers for Musicians on Call, and has a fondness for pigs.
YA: Where did you grow up? I heard you have your own day in your town. What’s that like?
CD: I grew up in South Florida. My family moved from Aventura to Boca Raton when I was eight, and I stayed in Boca through high school and most of college. During my time at Florida Atlantic University, I won a local singing competition called Rising Star, which the mayor attended. He approached me about getting my own day to celebrate my win and my community service efforts. It was such an honor to receive a proclamation on January 13, 2004. Both then and now I'd say it's a bit surreal, I guess. My family and I smile at each other when the anniversary rolls around...
YA: What are five interesting facts about yourself?
CD: 1. I'm a born and raised vegetarian.
2. My pig craze began when I got my first lead role in a play, Piglet in Winnie the Pooh.
3. I can do very strange tongue contortions and touch the tip of my nose with my tongue.
4. If I love a song, I can listen to it for hours and hours, over and over. I dissect it, analyze it, and get pumped to write something that would move someone else the same way it moved me.
5. I do a lot of character voices. Voice-overs are one facet of my entertainment career, and I definitely tap into different literal "voices in my head" to create soundscapes.
YA: When did you decide that you wanted to be a singer and a songwriter? Why?
CD: I knew I wanted to perform for quite some time, but the recording/touring idea came about when I was in 6th or 7th grade. I started going to live concerts and knew that I wanted to be on the stage rather than in the audience! The songwriting started developing later on in my teens, and when the bug bit me, it bit me hard. Songwriting is my favorite thing to do.
YA: Where do you find inspiration for your music? Who are your greatest influences?
CD: Inspiration is a funny thing because sometimes it comes out of nowhere. I could be driving and I see something out the window that triggers an idea. The cool thing about songwriting is that it's like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it is -- so now I can turn "inspiration" on, rather than wait for something to strike me as song-worthy. The list of my influences is pretty endless: Brian McKnight, Chet Baker, Mariah Carey, Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Salem Al Fakir, Aretha Franklin, Sigur Ros, Jamie Cullum, Queen, and so many more...
YA: You seem to be a very “green,” peaceful person—yoga, volunteer work, vegetarian. Would you mind telling us about that? Why do you choose to live this way?
CD: Funny you positioned the question that way. My first name means "green" in Greek, so it's kind of been engrained in me. (Hah!) My mom raised me as a vegetarian, so that's something I've maintained. The desire to promote animal rights kept me into it, too. Yoga has helped me to maintain mental/emotional balance over the past several years and has kept me in shape. When I eat well, and do good things for others, I feel well. Happiness is always key!
YA: How has your journey as a singer and a songwriter been so far?
CD: This ride has been crazy, with lots of unexpected twists and turns. I'm still developing my career as an artist and figuring out which steps to take next. It's definitely not what I thought it would look like, but I'm grateful for all of the opportunities I've had and continue to find along they way. I'm really excited to see how things progress during the next several years.
YA: Of all your songs, which three are your favorites and why? What motivated you to write them?
CD: 1. "Learning To Let Go" was motivated by a tough breakup I endured, as well as watching someone deal with the death of a loved one. I explain it in depth during this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocFVS0lf5EU
2. "Solid Woman" was inspired by the idea of a girl owning the power that she has. I have one friend who really tells it like it is, and thinking about her strength definitely helped me shape this one. The idea of what a straight-talking woman would say to a guy who's a jerk fueled the lyrics for this song!
3. "Soft Place To Fall" was written by me and my parents. It's our family lullaby and means a lot to all of us. Also, My best friend lived in Africa last summer and had a really hard time over there. The living conditions were really tough and she was so far from home. She told me that every night she'd listen to this song to help her fall asleep. Earlier this year, she was killed in an accident so "Soft Place To Fall" is especially meaningful to me now. I sing it for her.
YA: If you could go on tour with any three musicians/artists/bands, who would you choose and why?
CD: 1. Stevie Wonder: He's the man!
2. Jamie Cullum: Jamie has such amazing energy onstage and is really creative with his arrangements. I'd love to play alongside him and I think his audience would really appreciate my music.
3. Queen (you said ANY, right?!): They're the one disbanded band I'd like to see live. Playing with them would be epic.
YA: What do you hope to accomplish in your music career?
CD: My goal is to be a successful touring and studio artist as well as to write for other people. I really enjoy writing country, so that's something I'm currently exploring.
YA: Do you have any advice for people that are trying to be musicians?
CD: If you're going to make music a career, be sure you're fully committed to it. Practice, dedication, and being tech-saavy are essential. Also, being realistic about your talents and limitations, your market, your personal financial situation, and the music industry in its current state, is imperative. Sometimes you have to sleep on couches and make sacrifices that you never thought you'd have to make. Just be prepared for a crazy roller coaster, but love it as you move along!
YA: Do you have a favorite book, or what are you currently reading?
CD: I love "Love Is A Mixtape" and "Juliet Naked" (2 music-related books), and The Catcher in the Rye is a classic. Lately I've been reading about music and social media, so I tend to read a lot of blogs including The Lefsetz Letter and Mashable.