Q&A with vocalist, writer & sacred community curator Chanda Rule - powerfully, peacefully and bathed in Spirit

“It can be challenging and also fulfilling. Women have always been a force in music. More people are beginning to acknowledge it.”

Chanda Rule: Like Water Music

Vocalist, writer and sacred community curator Chanda Rule brings the energy and discipline of a performer to the leading of music and story in ways that encourage all people to use their voices powerfully, peacefully and bathed in Spirit. An interfaith minister and graduate of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, Chanda has shared music, story and community song with groups, audiences and communities around the world. Her innovative integration of music with sacred text, liturgy, and story-telling opens up new vistas for congregations and communities. As a storyteller—sometimes with words, sometimes with ritual, and other times with song and collaborative arts, Chanda listens to the heartbeat of a community and helps it to sing its own song.                                      Chanda Rule, 2019 / Photo by Daniel Meier

With feet rooted in gospel, a heart filled with soul, and a voice touched with jazz, singer and songwriter Chanda Rule has been weaving stories through song, humming melodies, and bending words since her childhood. Gracefully mesmerizing audiences nationally and internationally, Chanda's genre-defying voice has been featured in a variety of musical projects. Chanda has also performed as an opening act for India.Arie, Kamasi Washington, Amel Larrieux, Angela Bofill, Regina Belle & The Whispers. 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 (Martin Reiter, 2018), and Hold On (2020).

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Gospel and Jazz music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Both music styles are heavily improvisatory and I've found that they are a great model for life and relationships...no matter where I am in the world. The listening, creativity, passion, and faith required to perform these styles often act as a reminder as to how I want to live.

How do you describe your sound and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

Heartfelt! My creativity comes from my spiritual life, my wild imagination and from a love or a need to be happy and help other feel happy as well.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in music paths?

The most important thing I continue to learn and relearn is to be present, or to live in the present moment.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I miss simplicity! I love folk music. Voice and one instrument. I love stories, and I am glad to hear so many artists who still value a good story at the center of their music. I know that music will evolve and I hope that I will never get so stuck in my love of music from yesterday that I won't appreciate it.

"Both music styles are heavily improvisatory and I've found that they are a great model for life and relationships...no matter where I am in the world. The listening, creativity, passion, and faith required to perform these styles often act as a reminder as to how I want to live." (Chanda Rule / Photo by Pia Fronia)

How started the thought of Like Water Music? What characterize your philosophy and mission?

I love a phrase from the Tao Te Ching that says, the best way to live is to live like water. It goes on to speak of the versatility of water and that it is always in the flow of the universe. Isn't that great? That's how I want to live and how I want to make music...like water.

If you could change one thing in the world/people and it would become a reality, what would that be?

That singing would be universally held as a health requirement.

What does to be a female artist in a Man’s World as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?

It can be challenging and also fulfilling. Women have always been a force in music. More people are beginning to acknowledge it.

What is the impact of Gospel, Blues and Jazz on the spiritual, racial, political, and socio-cultural implications?

In my opinion African-American art forms influence our world with a special integration of mental, physical and spiritual awareness and intelligence. These genres model a way of being that honors the whole self, is fluid, and continues to develop and thrive - even in the bleakest circumstances. The "soul" at the core of this music is its inspiration - or "in Spirit," which can only inspire and influence all who are exposed to it.

"I miss simplicity! I love folk music. Voice and one instrument. I love stories, and I am glad to hear so many artists who still value a good story at the center of their music. I know that music will evolve and I hope that I will never get so stuck in my love of music from yesterday that I won't appreciate it."

(Chanda Rule / Photo by Pia Fronia)

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day? 

I'd like to spend a day with my son in 2063. He would be 50. I'd love to see and enjoy hopefully, the paths he decided to take in life and discover what his next steps would be.

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