Sheila Chandra shares free download of forthcoming book in response to COVID-19 crisis

Sheila Chandra has shared a free digital download of her forthcoming book 'How To Live Like An Artist' on her website as a way of supporting fellow artists amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The singer, who released three albums on Real World Records in the 1990s and was a featured vocalist in The Imagined Village project in 2007, is now unable to perform due to a severe vocal condition, but in recent years has written several self-help books drawing from her own experiences in the music industry.

Her latest book, How To Live Like An Artist (Without Ever Having To Become One) is yet to be published, however Sheila felt that by making an early digital download available during this moment in time, she could offer support to the many artists and creative professionals suffering as a consequence of the current global health crisis. She posted the download link on her Facebook page along with the following message:

Dear friends,

I started social distancing/self-isolating on 10th March. I am physically vulnerable and could see what was likely to come. Once the UK locked down on 23rd March, I was wracking my brains to think of what I could do to help people. I knew that not going out, and not spreading COVID-19 was helping those on the frontline of healthcare— but it didn’t feel like enough. Not being able to go out, even to exercise or shop, meant I couldn’t volunteer to help others with errands. And I’m not an essential key worker or healthcare worker.

But I wanted to offer something. Many musicians have been giving live events online. As many of you know I can no longer sing. But my books are designed to help people.

What many people have discovered during this first two weeks of lockdown is that they’ve become so conditioned by externally imposed rhythms (e.g. from timetables at school/work) for so long, that they’ve forgotten how to manage their own time from a place of unforced authenticity, when left alone. Others are extroverts who are suffering from lack of social contact. Some feel the need to ‘use this time’ wisely, but are possibly putting themselves under too much pressure to ‘improve’. Or they’re worrying that their children will fall behind in their learning.

It occurred to me that a book I had written, ‘How to Live Like an Artist – wisdom and life lessons from the artist lifestyle’ (which I was too ill to chase a publishing deal for, last year) might be the perfect tool to help – even though it wasn’t specifically written with this crisis in mind. Artists are used to working largely in isolation and managing their own time for months, or even years, on end. We know most of the strategies that help to make it work, so that we keep our sanity. So the advice is pretty timeless.

So here it is. No pressure to work through it, but I hope it will help those who have the time and energy to look at it, if they feel it’s what they need at the moment. It will be available to anyone in its entirety as a pdf so long as the COVID-19 lockdown lasts.

Please share the link widely on freebie lists, via social media, or with friends. My only purpose at the moment, is that it gets out there to help people, if they like the sound of it.

This is no time to put pressure on ourselves – we are all in shock, some of us are rightly fearful about work and finances, and in the days to come, many of us will be in mourning. However, the world has, and will be changed by this. And it’s time to imagine a new one. That imagining can only come from a subtle sea change within ourselves. And in the gentlest of ways, that’s what the seven artist lessons in this book teach you create – a sea change, a path back into your own authenticity.

The great thing about putting out any kind of creative work is that you never know where it will end up, or who it might help. So I’m sending this out now, to do whatever good it can. It’s the smallest of gestures, but each of us now has to do whatever we’re good at, in order to help others.

Take care everyone! Stay safe. Stay well.

And my love to you.

Sheila Chandra

Sheila started her musical career at the young age of 16 as the vocalist in Asian fusion band Monsoon. Their first single ‘Ever So Lonely’ was a UK Top 10 hit. She released Weaving My Ancestors’ Voices, her first album for Real World, in 1992 after taking part in the first Real World Recording Week, and is widely known for her use of diverse vocal styles informed by musical traditions from around the world.

Download the book

Featured release

  • Moonsung (A Real World Retrospective)

    Sheila Chandra

    Released 05 April 1999

    Starting off with a reprise of ‘Ever So Lonely’, the Top 20 pop hit she had as a teenager with her band Monsoon, Moonsung gathers together the finest moments from the three albums that Anglo-Indian singer Sheila Chandra made for Real World in the 1990s.

By Online Editor

Main image: Sheila Chandra at Real World Studios. Photo credit: York Tillyer.

Published on Mon, 06 April 20

Further reading

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Tree is set for release on vinyl, CD and digitally via Real World Records on 22 September 2023.

Sheila Chandra companion listening release: Out in the Real World

Out in the Real World, is a digital-only collection of remixes, demo recordings and outlier tracks.

Track of the day: ‘We Are Part Mineral’ by Hannah Peel & Paraorchestra

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Sheila Chandra: The pursuit of radical vocal expression

Sheila's trilogy of albums for Real World is being re-issued on CD, and on vinyl for the first time.