Remember the name, Chiara Oldano, we’re confident you’ll be hearing a lot more of it. A powerhouse vocalist, artist and songwriter who is making serious waves with her music.
Chiara is a 22-year-old singer/songwriter who is currently enrolled on the MA Commercial Songwriting and Production programme. She blends soulful vocals and gospel sounds into pop melodies with poignant lyrics. From romantic ballads to fiery anthems, Chiara’s fearless way of conceptualising sound allows emotive stories to unfold. Her songwriting is intimate, yet allows for her powerful vocal performance to capture the attention of the audience. The singer/songwriter mirrors the romantic aesthetics of the dolce-vita from her homeland, Italy.
Since being at Tileyard, Chiara has performed a sold-out showcase in collaboration with NYU students, won the first round of Vinyl Scratch (you can catch her at the final this summer) and has been involved in a series of songwriting sessions with different producers and artists including, 220KID, Josh Wilkinson, Andrew Kingslow, and James Hype.
Although Chiara was encouraged to study more academic subjects, at the age of 16 she started performing around London and at 19 she went on to perform at festivals alongside artists including Cascada, Wheatus, Toploader and Example. Last year, she has been invited to perform and headline the O2 Islington Academy in London whilst her single “Nothing to Hide” has been aired on BBC introducing radio.
Chiara has a multi-cultural background and speaks three languages fluently. Born in France, she discovered her love for music after moving to Belgium early in her life. At the age of 5 she learned how to read music and began learning to play piano, which now features as her instrument of choice for songwriting. After growing up in Belgium for 6 years, Chiara moved with her family to Turin, where she joined a 60-people choir named Piccoli Cantori Di Torino. After a 5-year stretch with the choir, Chiara moved back to France where she trained in Opera at the Conservatoire de Nice. In the meantime, she discovered a passion for pop and soul music and started writing her own original material at 14. Though she majored in opera, Chiara says that this was an important turning-point for her music development as she began adapting her voice to contemporary music.
Growing up, Chiara’s vocal inspiration draws from what she calls ‘the 4 divas’ – Céline Dion, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera’ and more recently, Etta James and Ms Lauryn Hill. Her current musical direction takes inspiration from artists such as Jessie Ware, Eryn Allen Kane, LÉON, Amy Winehouse, Lily Moore, Leon Bridges, amongst others.
Chiara later moved to London but remained in the French education system. She kept her dream and passion of music alive by playing open mic nights in London every week; “I was 16 at the time and quite nervous. But I discovered my love for performing live. I printed out a list of all the venues in London that hosted open mic events and made sure I played at as many as I could” She toured the London open mic circuit with her former guitarist Mike Coppa and some of the venues the duo has played together include the Lexington, The Spice of Life and Studio 58.
After graduating high school, Chiara was relieved. She didn’t find her academic system very supportive of arts and found creative subjects to be undervalued. Chiara also wrote her first EP about: “Discovering your true self, and not being held back by any system, I found it liberating, it was kind of my little personal rebellion.’
After high school, Chiara made the decision to go to Exeter University to study Marketing and Management. Prior to starting the course, she spent 5 weeks at Berklee College of Music in Boston where she met current MA Music Business student, Kyarah Boon. Chiara had a great experience at Berklee as she had the opportunity to be part of the Motown ensemble, and performed at the 1,215-seat Berklee Performance centre. It was during her time at Berklee that she discovered her love for Soul and Motown music.
“I always like to use harmonies and layers in my music. I draw a lot of influence from Motown and Gospel music, it helps me define my sound and is a key part of my creative process.”
Although studying a full-time business course, Chiara remained proactive singing music on some of the biggest live stages in Exeter, including the Lemon Grove and Phoenix. She also played at local festivals including Poltimore, Exefest and B Festival.
“Throughout my life, going to endless auditions, exploring various opportunities and dealing with rejection, I learned that if you want something you need to really fight for it and that we make our own luck. That’s just how life works isn’t it?”
Chiara also spent a year working for world-renowned cosmetic company L’Oréal in their luxury division in digital marketing. Upon returning to the final year of her Bachelor, Chiara released her first-ever EP Fluorescently in March 2019. Each single was accompanied by a music video shot by videographer Jonathan Fraser, who she met at a live show she was performing at and, realised their shared creative visions. Since then, Jonathan has been shooting and directing all of her music videos.
Chiara said one of her most challenging moments to date was being asked to headline the O2 Academy Islington in London on the same day as her marketing exam in Exeter. “I woke up, did my exam, jumped on the train to London, played my headline show, and then headed straight back to Exeter ready for my other exam the next day. It was the most challenging moment I’d ever had in music, but I loved every moment of it and I would do it all over again if I had to.”
After she graduated, she decided to continue to follow her passion, and take the next big step in her music career, which is what brought her to Tileyard. “I wanted to find a place where I could network, connect, and collaborate with a diverse roster of artists and producers with different prospective and tastes than my own, and I found that and more at Tileyard.”
Chiara is certainly a powerhouse of energy. She is currently working on her next EP and aiming to be released in 2020.
Watch out for this one, she’s going for gold!