May 18, 2006

Chantal Chamandy: Ethereal Desire, Timeless Soul

This is an excerpt of an interview for a forthcoming article

(Montreal) Attempting to find a label to attach to the music of Chantal Chamandy is no easy matter. Throwing out a catch-all phrase such as "world music" is meaningless, because Chantal's music defies such a simplistic categorization.

Her evocative voice is unlike mainstream Western singers, as she draws on traditional Middle Eastern and Mediterranean styles and blends these influences in pop music forms ranging from upbeat dance to heartbreaking ballads. Her music, however, is very accessible to Western ears, and the passion that flows from deep in her soul seems to strike a universal chord.

Chantal was born in Alexandria, Egypt to parents of Greek and Lebanese descent, and has lived in Montreal since she was a child. She is fluent in five languages, and her lyrics frequently display this multilingual ability.

Chantal Chamandy's first single, "You Want Me," was a Top 5 track on the UK dance charts for the much of 2005, and in early 2006 the song was a Top 4 “breakout” on Billboard’s US dance chart.

Chantal and I discussed her upcoming album release Love Needs You, slated for release this summer, as well as life, love, and Toledo.

Chantal believes that new artists can achieve fame while maintaining independence by utilizing non-traditional media such as the Internet.

"I was in the music business a few years ago on a major label, and I really prefer working with an independent label," she said. "I can control my own destiny, and I am able to write and develop my music in the way that I envision it."

The key to success using the emerging medium of the Internet, said Chantal, is developing a solid grass-roots group of volunteers.

"I only want to work with people who enjoy the music – I don’t want to work with people who have just been hired as promoters," she said. "I am so lucky to have people backing me who believe in the same things that I do."

Chantal agrees that her music is difficult to categorize.

"Some people like to group me with Shakira, but I don't think I sound much like her," she said. "I like to think of my style as "pop music meets the neighbors," because you might have all sorts of different types of people living in your neighborhood."

The music has been well-received in the areas that Chantal and her organization have targeted.

"We of course did quite well in London last year, but I have been surprised at how people in places like Texas and Ohio have responded," she said. "The Internet has allowed us to reach people in very unexpected places."

Among the unique ways that Chantal has reached out to fans is a relationship advice feature on her website, as well as an interactive MySpace blog.

"I am a true believer in love, and the idea that there is someone for everyone if you wait long enough," she said. "I answer my own mail, and offering advice on matters of the heart has allowed me to connect with fans in a way that I could not do if I was employing publicists."

Chantal's advice to aspiring musicians and singers is direct.

"Find people who believe in what you do and make it happen," she said. "Go out there and just find ways to get heard, and most of all - stick to it!"

Music samples, videos, and much more are available at Chantal Chamandy's website, as well as links to ordering her album.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip, Mike. Chantal's clips are terrific, and she is a hottie.

Petrograde said...

I am in love! She is absolutely beautiful.

Lisa Renee said...

Wow, you've become the blogger to the stars.


historymike said...

Anonymous: C'mon, it's about the music, right?

historymike said...

Congratulations, Petrograde.


historymike said...


The 'Net offers many opportunities, and people can connect in a lot of interesting ways. One of Chantal's PR people found my blog and emailed me, and then we arranged an interview.

I was most intrigued with Chantal's use of Net-based strategies to build her audience.

One thing I didn't mention in this short excerpt was that Chantal was the first (or one of the first) recording stars to hook up with Google Video.

The world is changing, and I continue to be amazed at the power of the Internet to redefine the ways that we conduct business, communicate, and interact with others.

Anonymous said...

Whoa - what a dish!

Anonymous said...

She has two of the finest...ummm...songs I have ever seen...I mean heard...

Dariush said...

Since everyone seems to be commenting on her physical charms rather than her music, I'll go ahead and give my opinion.

She's attractive, but far too skinny. Shakira, whom she says she's compared to a lot (probably at least partially due to both of them being of Lebanese extraction) has the curves.

As for her music, I'll give it a listen. I'm generally not a fan of pop music. Pretty much wherever you go around the world it's all crap. You can listen to Russian pop, Japanese pop, French pop... it all sounds like the same shit sung in different languages.

The only exception is pop music which incorporates elements of traditional music drawn from the culture of the artist. You can hear this in some Latin American artists. But by and large, such pop music really only comes out of four corners in the world: Ireland, the Balkans, the Mediterranean/Middle East and South Asia. So it's no coincidence that these are the only regions of the world producing pop music with soul, pop music that's actually worth listening to.

Mind you, even in these regions you'll still have to wade through a lot of cheesy, greasy-haired techno-disco bullshit to get to the good stuff.

I'm going to go ahead and plug an album that I fell in love with several years ago. "Antidoto" by Greek Cypriot songstress Anna Vissi.

The perfect blend of the traditional and the modern... and I suppose I could throw in words like "soulful" and "haunting" as well.

McCaskey said...

Well, a great pair of legs. The music? Ugh......

Dariush said...

I can't actually check out her videos from work (where I'm posting from now) 'cuz we don't have Quicktime installed on our systems.

And I can't really judge any song based on a 20 second audio clip.

So the only song I can really comment on is the one that automatically starts playing when you go to her site. I think it's called "You Want Me".

Overall it's okay. She's certainly got a terrific voice.

I'd probably like it more if it wasn't for the little Gypsy Kings-esque flourishes that pop up throughout the whole thing.

Really, that thing went way beyond "cliche" years ago. It now just makes me instantly grind my teeth when I hear it.

Honestly, I don't understand why so many of my kinsmen have never been able to get over the whole Gypsy Kings/fake flamenco thing.

Guys that was 18 years ago. It was a good album at the time, that now deserves to be buried by time and dust. Cut off those damn ponytails, wash the grease out of your hair and get on with your life.

-Sepp said...


Hooda Thunkit said...




Anonymous said...

Just the fact that she is an amazing human being makes her even more spectacular in everything she does!

Yogi said...

Mike,since you last wrote about Chantal she created an amazing concert that is now being broadcast on public broadcast television stations across the USA.
The concert is the first concert to ever have been filmed at the foot of The Sphinx at The Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.
Go to :
to see the trailer and to get airing dates and times.