Biob. c.1965, London, England. Born of Indian parentage, Chandra was enrolled at the Italia Conti stage school at the age of 11, where she was taught song and dance as well as acting skills. However, the school's preoccupation with show tunes argued against her personal instincts for jazz, soul and gospel. This inclination saw her instigate her own rehearsal and practice schedules in opposition to the prescribed timetable. The school did allow her to record an audition tape for Hansa Records however, and this was eventually passed to songwriter and producer Steve Coe. He was in the process of forming a new group, Monsoon, to fuse pop music with Indian classical structures such as fixed note scales. Chandra's heritage made her the perfect choice of singer, and three months before she left the Conti school she had enrolled as Monsoon's full-time vocalist. After an independent EP the group was signed to Phonogram Records, for whom their debut single, 'Ever So Lonely', provided a UK Top 10 success in 1982.
Chandra had suddenly become Britain's first mainstream Asian pop star at the age of 17. However, following disagreements between artist and record company Monsoon disbanded at the end of the year. Chandra spent the next two years furthering her studies into Indian and Asian music, which eventually resulted in her debut solo album in 1984. Both this and a follow-up collection, also released in that year, demonstrated her growing technique and fascination with vocal experimentation.
Quiet was the first record to include her own compositions, and her blossoming talent was given further vent in 1985 with two more studio collections. The Struggle was firmly song based, leaning towards the pop dance culture she had known as a child, while Nada Brahma offered a more experimental song cycle, absorbing influences from not only the East but also Afro-Caribbean music (notably the ragga-tinged title-track). However, after four albums in two years some rest and recuperation were required.
A gap of five years preceded the release of her fifth album, Roots & Wings. This accentuated the Indian tradition of 'drone' music at one level, while continuing her fascination with cross-matching cultures. As she stated: 'I am often unaware of the precise joining point between two styles of vocal from different traditions, it seems so natural to slip from one to the other.' In 1991 she signed to Real World Records, through her own production company Moonsong, and provided them with Weaving My Ancestors' Voices. A year later she made her live debut singing at the Spanish WOMAD Festival. 1994's The Zen Kiss was inspired jointly by the spirituality implicit in its title and her new found passion for live performance.