Sheila Chandra author biography


Chandra is one of the most distinctive, imaginative and unbelievable vocalists you’ll ever hear.
What’s On

Sheila Chandra made some of the most beautiful and innovative recordings in the World Music category − beginning with her band Monsoon’s 1982, ground-breaking Asian Fusion, Top Ten hit around the world, ‘Ever So Lonely’ − until voice problems forced her to retire in 2010.

Since then, in an unlikely twist, she’s gone on to become a best-selling author with Banish Clutter Forever (2010) outlining her own system for home organizing, which she says makes it possible to “pretty much, never tidy up again”.

I’ve read other books on clutter but nothing really seems to work. Sheila Chandra’s system is so simple and effective it even worked on an inveterate hoarder like me. Absolutely brilliant.
Amazon reviewer

She also began mentoring the (then homeless) street artist Stik in 2008, writing a version of Organizing for Creative People just for him. Stik has gone on to become one of the most famous and collectible street artists in the world. This is an expanded version of her artist advice to him on how to build a strong foundation for his career.

Sheila Chandra singer biography


80's



In 1981 Sheila Chandra met Steve Coe in London and became the lead singer of Asian fusion band Monsoon which then signed to Polygram.
Monsoon had a UK Top Ten hit with their first single "Ever So Lonely" when Sheila was 16.
After Monsoon disbanded, Sheila signed Steve Coe’s Indipop label in 1984 and went on to make her first four solo albums in two years.
Sheila retired when she was 20 to take a sabbatical that lasted 4 years and re-emerged with her fifth solo album on Indipop.

90's



In 1991 Sheila decided to give concerts for the first time and developed her distinctive solo voice and drone approach — drawing on vocal cultures from around the world — so that she could perform alone on stage.
Sheila formed her own music production company and went on to write a trilogy of albums in this style, each of which she licensed to Real World as one-offs, in order to retain creative control.
In 1999, to mark their 10th anniversary, Real World put out "Moonsung" — a retrospective collection drawn from the trilogy.

00's



Sheila signed to Indipop for a one-off album "This Sentence is True" (The previous sentence is false) which is released April 2001 by Indipop/Shakti (Narada).
Jakatta, fresh from their success with 'American Dream' used Sheila's 1982 'Ever So Lonely' vocals and completely reconstruct the track underneath. The resulting single is released in January 2002 and reaches Number 8 in the UK charts.
Sheila sang ‘Breath of Life’ on ‘The Two Towers’ soundtrack by Howard Shore – the second in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ Peter Jackson trilogy of films.
In 2007 Sheila returned to live performance after a gap of 14 years, but developed Burning Mouth Syndrome (which causes pain for hours after she sings or speaks) which curtails her singing career.
Sheila signed her first book to Vermilion Books (Random House) entitled 'Banish Clutter Forever - How the toothbrush principle will change your life' published in 2010.

Sheila Chandra - UK Chart Placings

April 1982
9

Ever So Lonely
Monsoon

Phonogram/Universal

June 1982
39

Shakti
Monsoon

Phonogram/Universal

Feb 2002
8

Ever So Lonely
Jakatta

Rulin’ Records/Ministry of Sound

Shortcut Recommended Listening

Moonsung
A Real World Retrospective Real World 1999


The Indipop Retrospective
Indipop/Narada 2003

These two together cover all of Sheila's solo career. If you are sourcing material to play, the only 7" version available of Monsoon's "Ever So Lonely" is on the compilation 'World Moods'. Cat no VTDCD201 (Virgin/EMI)


Description of Music

Asian influenced World Fusion. Strongly melodic, ornate vocal, often lyricless starting in pop and moving album by album to more lateral cutting edge soundscapes. As an artist has ignored trends, (most albums at the time of release had no contemporary comparison) and has tried instead to define the boundaries of world music and her own voice. Highly distinctive vocal approach. A pioneer.

Career Path

Worked exclusively in Asian Fusion in for almost three decades. Was the only full-time artist in Asian Fusion in the 80's. A self-taught musician and writer. Made her writing debut in 1984 on her second solo album 'Quiet'. Apart from her start with 'Monsoon' (signed to Phonogram) has worked with independents or small labels in order to retain artistic freedom. Has not generally favoured remixes (a few illicit ones have slipped through) and has never released a single as a solo artist. Manages herself. Only played live for 2 years in the early 90's, but returned briefly to live performance in the mid noughties until vocal stamina problems and pain issues forced her to retire . In 2001 'Billboard' stated that 'In the past five years a new round of second generation British Asian Musicians have emerged · all owe a debt to this 36 year old singer's pioneering work'.

Concerts

Typically sang completely alone onstage with the occasional taped 'Drone' (a constant note) as her only accompaniment, drawing on the 'fusion within a single vocal line' material found on the Real World trilogy of albums.

Voice problems/disability

Developed vocal stamina issues after an emergency operation in 1992 to save her sight as a clumsy intubation during the procedure scarred her vocal chords. Then developed Burning Mouth Syndrome in 2009 for which there is no known cause or cure. The result of these two conditions together is pain that lasts for hours or days if she speaks or sings.

Communicates largely by email, instant messenger, text and handwritten notes, although she has developed RSI from relying on written communication so heavily. Despite the pain, she does speak sometimes to ensure that her vocal mechanism does not completely atrophy. Describes the condition as being “like having a really bad PAYG mobile with hardly any credit on it” and plans the amount of time she talks around the amount of pain she thinks she can bear that day/week. On the upside, she can now write notes really, really fast.