The Atlanta-Native and former Boyband-er Breaks Out on His Own
By Chad Conroy
Photos by Tyler Weerges
The road to pop stardom has been long and hard for Atlanta-native John Chandler. Much of his struggles, he realizes today, stem from finding success as a teen. “Being discovered by Maurice Starr, the man behind New Kids on the Block and New Edition, was a blessing and a curse.”
On one hand, it was an amazing opportunity to open for NSYNC on the Pop Odyssey Tour and share the stage with acts like Alicia Keys, Jagged Edge, and Trisha Yearwood. On the other, it gave John a false sense of how the world works.
“I thought dreams were just handed to you at 16, and then you lived happily ever after.”
John Chandler was born in Alabama and lived on a cattle farm in Ozark with his parents, both pastors, and little sister, until he was 4. The family relocated to Atlanta for the Church, where John attended Christian schools.
He met Maurice Starr in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton in Atlanta. At 17, John and his new band, 6PIECE, were signed to No Limit Records/Universal Music Group and they released their first single through a national promotion with McDonalds, appearing on Nickelodeon and MTV.
Unfortunately, they entered the pop scene at a precarious time for the music industry. A new craze called digital streaming was taking over teendom and labels didn’t quite understand how to navigate the new marketplace. 6PIECE fell victim to the uncertainty.
John went back into the studio to begin work on his solo project, ’24 HOURS.’ Drawing inspiration from artists like Prince and Bruno Mars, the EP detailed a 24-hour period in his life: going out, drinking with friends, and ending up in a one-night stand. John’s R&B baritone vocals shined over funky beats with electric synths and live guitars, but the EP didn’t grab the traction from 6PIECE fans that John hoped it would.
He is taking a different direction with “Missing,” the first song off his next EP that chronicles John’s road to self-discovery. The working title is “Running, Missing, Changing, Growing”; literally, the EPs track list. Each single has sad but hopeful lyrics, set to real piano and guitars, mixed with 808 drums and some vocoder, that each tell a story all their own.
“2020 has changed my life forever, and this EP reflects that,” John says. “I’ve been wrestling with the end of a relationship, being fired from my job, living in a new city, raising money for my Mom’s stage 4 Cancer treatment, and all during a global pandemic.”
Because of the pandemic, John couldn’t shoot the music video in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, as he had intended. He shot it in Nashville, the city he calls home now.
“This year the universe told us all to take a seat,” John Chandler reflects. “It didn’t matter who you were or where you lived, we were all forced to put things on pause.”
“When COVID passes, and we start reintroducing things back into our lives, my hope is that we don’t just go back to life as normal,” he continues. “I hope we let go of the things that never really mattered and allow room in our lives for what has truly been missing. We have the opportunity to find a new type of happiness and way of life. That’s what my song and upcoming EP are all about.”
John Chandler’s “Missing” is being released independently and is available now on Apple Music, Amazon and all other major retailers, as well as for streaming through Spotify. Its video is on YouTube. For more information, follow John Chandler on Instagram @ johnchandlerofficial and Facebook @ johnchandlerr. Visit Johnchandlerofficial.com.