Chandra Currelley: A True Co-Visionary
Behind every success story is a strong team of what I call “Co-Visionaries” who also see and support the vision of THE visionary. It’s very difficult for a leader to pursue their vision without the help of those around them who also support their vision without even witnessing previous manifestation of the vision. Chandra Currelley is one of those co-visionaries that have supported a man whose success has placed him at the #1 spot on the Forbes list of highest-paid men in entertainment over the past year, Tyler Perry.
Perry hardly forgets to mention how Currelley has supported him from the start, and we know that to be true, because we’ve seen her in majority of his productions. She often stars in his stage productions, and always has a cameo singing performance in his films. My first memory of her comes from the live recording of Madea’s Class Reunion, but she informed me that she was in Perry’s first production, I Know I’ve Been Changed which was done before Perry began distributing his productions via DVD.
“There are those people who are there to witness the miracle,” says Currelley, who has definitely witnessed Perry’s miraculous growth, and because she stuck by his side all this time, she’s still growing with him. She went on to say “In the Bible, you always had someone witness the miracle so that they could tell their testimony and make the story authentic,” and she definitely now has an amazing testimony because of all of the hard work she’s invested into the vision of the creative genius that we now know as Tyler Perry.
Younger people from my generation may think that Currelley got her big start as an actress in Tyler Perry productions, but she definitely had a career before that. Currelley is the former lead singer of the legendary recording group, the S.O.S. Band, where she replaced the original lead singer. She continued the band’s string of Top Twenty Billboard hits with the Diamonds In The Raw and One Of Many Nights albums, where she wrote several songs, including thesingle Broken Promises. Chandra also starred in the world premiere of Jesus Christ Superstar Gospel, and portrayed Mother Shaw in Regina Taylor’s Crowns. She’s also starred in a host of other stage productions such as Blues In The Night, Slam, Sophisticated Lady, and Rejoice.
Because of her versatile vocal abilities, she’s able to sing anything from musical theater styled music to jazz and gospel, which has allowed her to perform with the likes of Clarence Avant, jazz legend Roy Ayers, and now, the multi-talented Tyler Perry. She has starred in several of his productions such as Madea’s Class Reunion, What’s Done In The Dark, Madea’s Big Happy Family, Laugh To Keep From Crying,Madea’s Christmas, and currently, Madea Gets A Job. She’s wowed audiences all over the country with her unique jazzy overtones and dynamic ability to scat in the middle of a song. She definitely makes everything that she touches her own, and grasps the true essence of each character that she portrays.
Again, before Mr. Perry was where he is today, she was by his side helping him get there, for she understood his vision. She broke it down, stating, “There are people who are connected to the vision that line up in order for certain things to manifest. Even though they don’t understand, and they don’t see what the visionary sees, they believe in what the visionary says he or she see!” I’m so happy that she was one of those people who believed in what he said he saw, and because of that, she was able to stick along and enjoy the ride with him as he catapulted up the ladder of success. She showed her gratitude for Mr. Perry by saying “I appreciate Tyler Perry, and thank him for being a Godly man who does things in order.”
Being apart of so many great productions, and being the receiver of so many great opportunities resulted in Currelley understanding her purpose. “As I grew as an artist, I began to mature, and understand that there was a purpose attached to my talent. I realized that my talent was not just a talent, but it was also a gift, and through that gift, I was able to seve my purpose.” Because she and Mr. Perry both understood their purpose, “We got the bigger picture, which led to us receiving greater exposure,” said Currelley. Rather than looking in the now, she looked into the future, and measured Mr. Perry’s potential opposed to his current success of the time, and understood what type of returns she would receive off of her initial investment, which obviously failed to return unto her void.
We’ve heard her sing in the various stage productions that she’s starred in, but fans can also hear her sing on her two albums, The Real Me and Love Songs. Her cover of Love Again, which she performed in the film Diary Of A Mad Black Woman, can be found on the Love Songs album. Currelley herself can be found in a city near you on the national tour of Tyler Perry’s Madea Gets A Job, and on Facebook or Twitter @ChandraCurrelley. She was such a pleasure to interview, and super down to earth, and because of her sweet spirit, and a maturity that allows her to measure potential and think long term opposed to short term, she will definitely be flying through the stars for a lifetime.
Check out a scene from Currelley singing in Madea’s Big Happy Family, which was the first Tyler Perry play that I got to experience live.
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