Chandra Currelley is an actress and singer, who is known for her work with director and writer Tyler Perry, as she’s played many roles in a number of productions and stage plays. On July 28 and 29, Currelley will perform live at the Velvet Note, an award-winning listening room in Georgia, showcasing her musical talent for the Soul of Jazz event.
Currelley spoke with rolling out about her singing career, and her upcoming performance at The Velvet Note.
How does it feel to be a part of The Velvet Note?
I’ve always done you know jazz and I’ve always been soulful. I was like, “They finally named what I do.” I got an award for Lady Soul of Jazz, from the Black women in the arts. So I finally got a label. I am the soul of jazz.
What is it about jazz and soul that speaks to you as a person?
The soul part is like our spirit and things that we can feel. We can’t see them, and sometimes we can’t physically feel them, but we feel them inside with our hearts, our minds, and our spirit. That’s where the soul comes in being able to touch people in that kind of way, not just what they’re hearing, but what they’re feeling. The jazz part is I love the freedom, the improvisation, and being able to self-express yourself without the walls. That’s what I love about jazz.
How have you seen jazz evolve over the years?
I’ve seen some really talented people, and what they have to understand is you have to be skilled to do jazz. That’s just what it is. You have to be able to explore and go places, and you have to know the foundation. I see a lot of people coming up with that foundation, like Samara Joy, and that’s why she’s such a phenomenon when actually, it’s an old take on something that we’ve had before. We’ve had this gap between the music and now we have to bring it together. When I was younger, I listened to my parent’s music, and at the same time, I could listen to mine, but somehow we lost that connection of listening to each other’s music. I can see this generation understanding that and reaching back and saying, “This will evolve this, I’m evolving in this music.” That’s part of the structure.