Navigating Shadows and Light: Chiara Dubey’s Journey Through ‘CHANDANI’ – Exploring the Interplay of Empowerment and Self-Reflection in Music

by the partae
Your singles “How To Save Myself” and “30” offer listeners a glimpse into your upcoming album “CHANDANI.” How do these singles reflect the overall theme and mood of the album?
The first ideas for the album started to blossom about a year ago. There was something different about that moment. I felt at ease, just fine, and I’ve never felt “just fine” for such a long period of time, there was always some trouble, some darkness in the background of my head.
That sudden inner-calm felt new and beautiful; I wanted to hold on to it, write abut it, so it ended up becoming the seed from which CHANDANI started to grow.
To me the album is a personal celebrating this fortunate chapter, and at the same time a way to look my shadows in the eye, before letting them go. Like a ritual.
The first single “How To Save Myself” is one of these shadows: the lack of self love, and the inability to put myself first, set boundaries, and the second single “30” (because I turned 30 this year!)  is really about this liberating change I’ve been noticing, in the way I feel in my own skin.
“How To Save Myself” explores themes of self-worth and love, while “30” delves into self-assurance and empowerment. How do these complementary themes intertwine throughout “CHANDANI”?
I feel that the album is like a passage, or a portal, with an old version of me on ne side and a new one on the other side. As if I was standing right in the doorway. So it’s a place with a mixed back and forth of both empowerment and self-awareness feelings and darker feelings, memories, like the ones of “How To Save Myself”.
Each of your singles seems to carry a deeply personal narrative. Could you share how your own experiences and emotions shape the storytelling on “CHANDANI”?
In general, I think writing music and sharing it with others is a wayfor me to elaborate, and process all that I experience. I guess we all have our ownl way to do that. So yes, all of my writing, including CHANDANI, is the rephrasing of a personal story. 
“How To Save Myself” for example, was a way for me to let go of a recent toxic, romantic relationship I was involved in, one where I got hurt. There is always a story behind every track.

Collaboration has played a significant role in your album’s creation, with contributions from notable names like Chris Tabron and Robot Koch. How did these collaborations influence the sonic landscape of “CHANDANI,” especially in comparison to your previous work?

They literarily showed me new worlds of possibilities. I feel like Chris Tabron’s mixing made my music braver, proud of all the emotions I packed it with. He was a precious addition to the project, and I hope it won’t be our last collaboration. The same goes for Robot Koch: I have been a big admirer of his work for a long time, and I still can’t believe he has agreed on making music with me. His additional touch gave our track a new depth, a beautiful new atmosphere I would have never created alone. Many other inspiring artists and musicians contributed to this album, and I am very grateful to all of them!
As a multifaceted artist, you blend modern classical elements with electro/art-pop. How does this fusion of genres manifest across both your singles and the wider scope of “CHANDANI”?
I come from a classical music background, but my heart also beats for electro and pop music, so I decided not to give up on any of these contrasting sides of me, and instead try to make them coexist in my own little universe. I am probably making things more difficult for me – certailnly for my label team! – but so be it. It’s fun, and it’s authentic!
The album ranges from pure string orchestra pieces to edgy and experimental electro-pop songs. These are the extremes, and in the middle are several combinations of these two worlds (some tracks have more orchestral textures than others, and some are more vocals or electronic driven).

“How To Save Myself” and “30” showcase your versatility as a singer, composer, and producer. Can you shed light on your creative process for these singles and how it evolved during the making of “CHANDANI”?
Writing and arranging for strings and vocals is what comes easiest to me. I feel confident with it, even if one can go on learning to infinity. Music production is a newer skill for me instead: I am having lots of fun with it, and I am very hungry for knowledge. CHANDANI was a great music production playground. It gave me the chance to practice, experiment, and challenge myself. The difference between the first and the last demo I wrote is huge!
Especially for  “How To Save Myself” I was helped in the production by one of my best friends, Jakob Eisenbach, who worked with me on several album tracks. I owe him!

Your career has seen support from various media platforms and successful live performances. How do these experiences inform the storytelling and sonic exploration on “CHANDANI”?
I can’t say for certain, but as playing live is one of the most rewarding, extatic feelings I’ve known so far, I guess all past live performances fed more and more my urge to make music, and encouraged my writing and my sharing. Like a (wonderful) drug. Without that drive, there would be no new album.

With the release of both singles, you’ve initiated a significant marketing campaign for “CHANDANI.” How does this campaign aim to capture the essence of the album and engage with your audience?
I wanted the album to like a little microcosm, with a message, an aesthetic, and a visual identity. The marketing campaign is aligned with it and guides the public along the release journey, which started in February with “How To Save Myself” and will end in September with the album, always revealing a little more about its world.
This project will also be my first step into the Meta-verse,  with the creation of a NFT collection and possibly concerts in the Meta-verse. For the visual part, I have to thank the artist behind the beautiful artworks, Adso Piñerúa, an incredibly talented Argentinian photographer, whose visual universe is very close to mine: a blue, dark, dreamy, surreal one.

“CHANDANI” is described as a celebration of a fortunate moment in your journey. How do you translate this sense of gratitude and introspection into the overall atmosphere of the album?
It’s hard to explain… Lyrics help, of course, but I don’t always use lyrics. I guess there just are some soundscapes and some harmonies, some patterns, sounds, textures that sound like “relief”, or “gratitude”, or “euphoria” to me. It’s the way they make me feel. So I try to find them and use them as a tool to translate this femotion and hopefully making someone else feel what I feel. This is the connection I love the most.

Through your music, you aim to convey messages of self-love, empowerment, and acceptance. How do you hope listeners will connect with these themes as they experience “CHANDANI” as a complete body of work?
Even if the album is inspired by my personal experience, I really think we are all more similar than we think, and after all, we all encounter the same monsters along the way. So I would like it to be a message of encouragement and express, in some way, that we are all on the same boat, and nobody is alone.

Can you share any behind-the-scenes anecdotes or memorable moments from the creation of “CHANDANI” and the recording process of both singles?

The months spent in the studio with my co-producer Jakob. It was so intense. We spent together so many hours, I felt like we could understand each other without speaking. We were friends before, but I think it brought us loser. One night (we were pretty tired, that kind of tired that makes you laugh about everything) we started to make up a fake language for “How To Save Myself”. So every time I hear the song I hear the fake words we made up (like “aiwishainü” – I wish I knew,  or “yüdusimee”– you to see me). It sounds ridiculous now, but at that point it was really funny!

Looking forward, what do you envision for the reception and impact of “CHANDANI” following the release of “How To Save Myself” and “30”? Are there any future projects or collaborations on the horizon that you’re particularly excited about?
I am very much looking forward to playing the album live. I am right now planning a little tour, starting from my home town to some European cities!

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