We’ve had the honor of connecting in the past with Mrs. Chandra Currelley and It’s always been a good time. We’ve connected again, this time for the upcoming second run of the hit stage play, Strength of Love. Currelley will be starring alongside Sean Baker and Meelah Williams in the modern day love story that centers around the everyday struggles of relationships, and the processes of healing and forgiveness. The play kicks of Friday, February 10 in Griffin, Georgia, and extends throughout the weekend with 4 shows.
Chandra talks with us about the play, what everyone can look for this time around, and the other projects she has in the works.
U.G. Digital Mag: I’m so grateful for you and your time today. The last time we connected was for Making Moves, which was back in October. How have things been going?
Chandra Currelley: Things have been going great. It really opened the door for me with film. I have a new agent I’ve connected with, and I have a lot of auditions coming up. I needed a big machine (laughing). I have a few things coming up, and I’m excited.
U.G. Digital Mag: Would you say getting to this point in your career was something you always wanted?
Chandra Currelley: Actually, It’s gone beyond my dreams. When I started, I just wanted to sing in front go millions. As I connected with people like Tyler Perry, my outlook became broader.
U.G. Digital Mag: It’s amazing because so many people know the depth of your music, and your history. I still feel as though you being a part of these productions, especially with Tyler, it introduced you to a larger audience.
Chandra Currelley: Yes. When I recorded with Roy Ayers, and then became the lead vocalist for the S.O.S. Band, it was a huge experience. As it went on, the DVDs did it. The tours were good, but by him recording the DVDs, it gave me such a huge exposure. I could get to people in a short amount of time. It re-introduced me to a whole new audience. People who knew me before knew me from S.O.S., and they saw me reinvent myself with a whole new generation. My demographic is pretty broad now.
U.G. Digital Mag: I love that you realize how large your audience has grown. You’ve reach a lot of different age groups. I remember bringing a new camera guy for Making Moves, and he totally fanned out over you. He knows everything you’ve done. That showed me how wide your audience is and how many people you’ve touched. It’s pretty amazing.
Chandra Currelley: That’s awesome. I had no idea it would be that way. As time goes by, it’s more and more. I’m still meeting young actors who have watched me. I’m thankful for that because I’ve always been a student of the arts. Hopefully when they saw me, they saw quality, and how things should go. I’m thankful for learning my craft and for the people around me.
U.G. Digital Mag: We see the quality, and it takes me back to Strength of Love. It’s such an amazing story. You and I both know how good The Baz Brothers are. How did everyone come back together?
Chandra Currelley: I just think everyone was available and it worked out. Others were trying to secure me, but by the time they asked, I was already committed. I wanted to start the year off acting. When God puts you in a place where he extends a promotion in your talent and gift, then you recognize where you are and where you’re supposed to go. Sometimes you have to leave what you do best for your future. I wanted to start off that way. My experience was good. This time, I get to do things I never thought I would be able to try on stage. Now I have a better understanding.
U.G. Digital Mag: I think of The Baz Brothers, and the professionalism that comes with everyone. Anytime I come out, I’m coming all the way from Cleveland, Ohio, and in a heartbeat, I drive out to their events because their professional.
Chandra Currelley: It’s their integrity. Some people have professionalism, but no integrity. Everybody thinks they can write a play, but with Tyler, God had a mission for him. He gave him the ability to be able to look at something and suck it up like a sponge. I tell young people to learn their craft. When I read the script for this, I knew they understood what they were doing. You have to give people their respect for that. When I saw them, they reminded me of Tyler when I first met him. He was just trying to get people to read his script. When i read his stuff, I said I never had the chance to do those types of characters. And it was stuff people could implement in their lives. It gave the material a true purpose. The way they handle their business is a reflection. They’ve thought about it and sacrificed for it.
U.G. Digital Mag: Some of the characters have change a bit. What has the change been like for you?
Chandra Currelley: For me, I like things that change. It’s something new and fresh. It has an effect on what you do. Meelah, I worked with her in A Mother’s Love by Kandi Burruss, I saw how talented and serious she was. It wasn’t about her being a reality star. She wanted to grow as an actress and artist. I saw that from the work she put in. I’m looking forward to working with her. She’s honest, and just try to be. It’s better this time because I think the magic is going to happen as intended.
U.G. Digital Mag: I think you’re spot on. She’s got so much integrity in all she does. She works hard to learn her craft. I’ve heard nothing but great things about A Mother’s Love. I look forward to this play so much now.
Chandra Currelley: That’s one of the few plays they were presenting on the urban theater circuit. Back in the day, they called it the chitlin circuit. It rose above that. I thank Mr. Perry, and another director who just did Almost Christmas. He was another one who took it past that, and they had to respect it. That play was going to bring something that had never been brought. It was a full-fledged musical. It was incredible, but it couldn’t do what it could do for whatever reason. That’s how I met Sean Baker. The second time we did it, they rewrote it. He was part of a singing group but they wrote that out. We stayed in touch, and it was because of his integrity. He really worked at his craft and was serious. When you get with your kind, the occasion is not the only time you’ll connect with them. You end up in similar situations where integrity is involved. We’re about the same thing. He new people, the fresh blood, it’s just awesome.
U.G. Digital Mag: I think it’s a great thing to have that new blood. It freshens things up.
Chandra Currelley: Yes, and the music is good. They were every particular about the songs in the show. Some plays, it’s song after song after song. The songs are to forward the story line. If you have too much, the message gets all muddied up. They were very particular about the number and the type.
U.G. Digital Mag: Not giving too much of the story away, what are some of the things we can expect different since there’s new cast members?
Chandra Currelley: The material never changes. It’s like if you see A Raisin in the Sun. The lines never change, but it’s different when different people do it. If you have a good script, you don’t have to change it. The way the cast sees it makes it different. From the director’s point of view, what they got a chance to see before will be different in translation this time. I think this will be felt more. Earlier, it was in the head, but now, it’s in the heart.
U.G. Digital Mag: I agree. It’s in their hearts because it’s been perfected, and they know the story.
Chandra Currelley: That was the emphasis. Making sure the audience feels it. We want them to feel something, and cry. We want them to feel this and relate to it. I ran into a lady while getting my eyebrows arched, and we were talking about Valentine’s day. She and her husband had been having problems, and I was able to tell her about the show. The story is a match to their lives. That’s what we do. It’s therapeutic, but not clinical. This is just life, and we adapt our changes and things we experience to our relationships.
U.G. Digital Mag: It’s amazing how much these stories touch people’s lives. I remember with Making Moves, and how Sean Baker’s character really related deeply to my life. It was like looking at my own life, or looking in a mirror. You connecting with the young lady is going to help her.
Chandra Currelley: Right. That’s how we learn stuff, and know stuff. It doesn’t make sense to me to experience things and not pass them on.
U.G. Digital Mag: It goes back to your own personality, and how you connect with people. It says a lot about you and how down to earth you are.
Chandra Currelley: It’s how I’m built. I did think about it, but I felt like I needed to say something.
U.G. Digital Mag: It’s natural to think twice because you never know how people receive stuff like that.
Chandra Currelley: Right. But it’s the way God works. Nothing is by mistake. We have to take those opportunities. Those things come back to bless you. You do it just from the heart.
U.G. Digital Mag: I would love for readers to know more of what you have going on, and other projects?
Chandra Currelley: I’ve been focusing on my acting. I have a lot of auditions coming. I’m working on more music. I’m in that mode of creating new material. That’s where I am. I still want to do that. I want to do a small tour, but it will be mores on the midwest and west coast. I had my hands full. I’m working on my films career, and then I still have to do my live thing. At the same time, I want to be stable. I don’t want to do so much that I’m running ragged. I’m finding a way to get everything to connect.
U.G. Digital Mag: You’ve definitely done some powerful work, and everyone knows the phenomenal work you have done all over. We just need to get you on The Haves and the Have Nots…
Chandra Currelley: It’ll be great if he got me my own sitcom. You never know. I do have a desire to do something he writes for me as a motion picture. I think I’ll call and tell him (laughing). He’ll get a kick out of that. He’ll do something, and every time he does, it’s better than I can imagine.
U.G. Digital Mag: In terms of final comments, what’s left to say?
Chandra Currelley: Never ever give up. Never, EVER, give up (laughing). Thats in any and everything. Sometimes, your head can rule over your heart. It’s about your belief system. Don’t believe someone telling you what you can’t do. They can say what they want, but it’s up to you.