Interview: L.A.-based indie artist CHIANNE shows others how to live out their dreams

CHIANNE wants her indie music to inspire others to live their dreams.
Image: YouTube | CHIANNE

LA-based indie-pop artist CHIANNE has lived many lives. Born in Ankara, Turkey, she went from being a fashion designer to a wedding planner to, finally, a singer. She moved from Italy to Istanbul, to New York City, to Amsterdam, to Los Angeles, working her way across the world and following her dreams.

What’s Your Dream?

“I come from a family with many musicians, so it’s always been in my genes. But I’ve never invested myself to pursue this until later in life,” CHIANNE tells The Burn-In. “My musical education was limited to the classical piano training I had when I was a child, and my singing was limited to singing in the car or the shower. When I decided to pursue music as a career and moved to L.A., I studied at the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood and met the people who would go on to help me write, record, and release my first original songs.”

Image: Joe Gonzalez

The Burn-In: You call your music, “conscious pop?” What does that mean to you?

CHIANNE: To be very honest, I guess deep down, a part of me judged the mainstream pop world and how it mostly talks about material things like money [or] sex. I do enjoy listening to traditional pop music; it’s fun, and I totally accept and appreciate all kinds of expressions. But I wanted my music to stand out somehow, to bring fresh air into mainstream pop. It’s not like I only talk about love, light, and butterflies, but I care that my music is authentic and has a certain depth and meaning.

TBI: I’ve heard it dubbed as “feel-good music that aims to enliven the masses.”

CHIANNE: I’ve always been into spirituality and philosophy; I’ve been asking deeper questions since I was a teenager about the meaning of existence and [things like] God. My journey is ever-evolving. Part of me has always wanted to blend this curiosity and wisdom into music and spread messages of consciousness, unconditional love, and empowerment in the mainstream media.

TBI: It’s fascinating to me how many careers you’ve had. Tell me about your passion for fashion and wedding planning, and what made you decide to put everything into your career as an indie artist?

CHIANNE: I don’t like to limit myself by getting too identified with certain roles or identities. I have an open mind looking at the world, so I go after whatever inspires me. That’s my driving force in life. If one day I feel that singing doesn’t feel right, then I’m open to changing gears, but music and writing have been the most truthful, fulfilling expressions of everything I’ve tried in life so far.

TBI: How hard is it to shift gears like that?

CHIANNE: It’s not always convenient following your heart; it definitely calls you out of your comfort zone. You’ll be tested. People may judge you, not understanding what you are doing; maybe even think you’re crazy. You may risk certain comforts in life, such as finances or lifestyle. But you’ll be rewarded if you hold on to your seat as you go through the rollercoaster of life and allow the changes to happen through you rather than resisting. Life took me to the direction of expressing myself as an artist, which I’ve always dreamt of but never knew was possible. As I followed the breadcrumbs of my excitement and passion, life always guided me and keeps guiding me along my journey.

TBI: Do you feel, as a creator, that inspiration for each of your careers comes from the same place? Or does making music inspire you in a different way?

CHIANNE: Absolutely. The best creations come from the flow state; when you are not in your mind but surrendered to the present moment fully, when you are in the midst of creation energy. It feels effortless, as though you are a channel for God, or your higher self, to create through you.

TBI: You sing in English, Turkish, Italian, French, and Spanish. Which is most comfortable for you? And do you ever imagine incorporating every language you speak into one song?

CHIANNE: I’d say the language I’m less comfortable in is Spanish, as I don’t really speak the language. I’m comfortable with all the rest, though, and I love expressing myself through different languages. And yes, incorporating a couple of languages into a song is absolutely something I’d like to explore, it just hasn’t happened yet.

TBI: Music is the universal language. It speaks to everyone. What do you think it is about music that allows us to transcend every language barrier?

CHIANNE: Everything is made up of energy, and so is music. Music is the most influential art form, in my opinion. It has the power to change people and energy in a matter of seconds to make a lasting impact. Sound waves pass through the barriers of the mind and penetrate right into your core. Sound vibrations can heal you; words can reprogram your neurological system and help create new neurological connections. Whether you understand the language or not, your body absorbs the energy and knows the intention behind the music. Music can change the world because it can change people, like [U2’s] Bono famously said.

TBI: Let’s talk about your new song, “Flames.” What is the message behind it?

CHIANNE: It’s about how we all want that deep, unconditional, real love, yet we tend to run away from it and choose comfort and safety instead. Eventually, we have to find the courage to walk through the flames, let the past crumble, and let something new and beautiful rise up. It’s about the dilemma of lovers burning with desire to be together but scared to be burnt at the same time. Once they find the courage to walk the path together, all their fears, baggage, and ego shall turn into ashes and unconditional love, and oneness shall arise like a phoenix.

Image: Official “Flames” single artwork

TBI: Your album is set to drop in 2020. What can people expect to hear from you?

CHIANNE: It would be my debut EP, but we are still deciding whether to release each song individually instead. So, people can expect to hear more songs from my heart to theirs.

TBI: Overall, what do you hope listeners take away from your music?

CHIANNE: Besides music, I’m a certified Reiki practitioner. So, when I record, I infuse high vibrational Reiki energies into my music with the intention to bring healing and uplifting vibrations to the listener. I hope they find something in common in my own personal struggles and find connection, love, hope, inspiration, and empowerment through my music. I hope that they feel something.

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Sari Cohen is a journalist based in the Greater L.A. Area. She began her career in the entertainment industry as a stand-up comedy writer/performer and over the years has developed scripts for both the stage and screen. She currently covers music and live entertainment for AXS, reviews movies for Hollywood First Look Features and writes for InLove Magazine. She also pens funny stuff for popular sites such as Cracked and Screen Rant. You can often find her at concerts or on a red carpet somewhere, talking to someone about something. From on-the-scene reporting to exclusive interviews, she tackles every topic from music, movies and television, to fashion, lifestyle and politics. You can check out more on Twitter at @ask_sari or follow her adventures on Instagram under @thesavvyscribbler.