Though Chloe Dolandis is a Boca native who continues to live and make music in her hometown, we first were alerted to her talents while in conversation at the absurdly delicious food counter at Miami's Honey Tree.
After a Wiki search, it became clear Dolandis is someone worth following up on. She's done plenty of voiceover work and even appeared on Nickelodeon's SPLAT! and Friday Night Slimetime. She also started popping up in our inbox as part of a monthly residency at Stache in Fort Lauderdale. And her jazzy sound fits in just fine at the swanky speakeasy.
"The vibe is out of this world," Dolandis says of the lounge. "It's like a modern Great Gatsby, comfortable, welcoming environment. It's quirky. The staff is great, they're so friendly and so accommodating." The crepe-maker there even named a crepe after her. "The Chloe" includes squash, asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, olive oil, and basil. For of you have a hankering for a pretty voice and veggies, she and her band will perform there again tomorrow night.
We'll return to food again in a minute, but what Dolandis excels at is songwriting and performing. Her father was a professional musician and her mom was a ballet dancer who did musical theater. "Music was one of the right creative outlets for me because it was so familiar," she notes. She started doing musical theater at 7 and messing around on the piano and taking dance lessons around the same age.
What really got her hooked was a Robyn concert she attended in middle school. It was "Show Me Love" that helped her decide her path for certain. "From that night," she reminisces, "I was determined to become a professional entertainer with original music."
Dolandis is a prolific songwriter and an audiophile. "Even on set, if we have a break, I'll run to the dressing room and sit down and write lyrics, because I don't turn it off. Why turn it off if I love it so much?" She's involved in every aspect of her sound and performance, and enjoys it all. "Right now, I'm doing pretty much exactly what I want to do," she admits.
Staying local for college was important to Dolandis, since she had some great voiceover gigs and connections in music down here. And though the singer attended FAU, she minored in commercial music and took private voice and music lessons. But it was at the Boca school where she met the big band Rattette (aka Jazz Rats) with whom she continues to perform. Between 10 and 17 musicians play her original music live. "It's amazing! It's like the coolest thing," she says. The band's guitar player, Christian Davis, is now her musical director. She'll be backed by Rattette at Delray Beach's Arts Garage on July 17.
"I think one of the secrets to success, in anything, I assume, but definitely in music is to be really gutsy, ask questions, go up to people, and be bold." This led her to speak to Rep. Ted Deutch, and let him know she was available to perform at any of his events. His campaign manager hit her up to play his election party -- a race he won. Not long after, she was selected to sing the National Anthem for Vice President Joe Biden in Florida. It happened to be at her grandmother's community and she was in the audience. "It was a very special moment for us to share," Dolandis says.
In a different vein, the songwriter remembers some crazier moments with her band. "One of our post-performance rituals is to go out to eat at a nearby spot," she explains. "A few months ago, we played a show on Miami Beach and headed over to a 24-hour place at around 2 a.m. My band and I watched the girl behind the counter defend herself as two customers threw food at her (they were not thrilled with the cost of the 'extra jelly' they ordered for their bagel)." Apparently, the cops arrived and the Beatles' "Let It Be" played throughout the restaurant the whole time.
And since we've returned to food, Dolandis is very into vegetarian cooking and fitness. "I was a pole dance instructor, which was so much fun. I like anything that is physical. And anything artsy and creative," she says. Also, a veggie tip from the artist: She suggests using one cup of apple sauce to replace one egg if you're into going vegan.
Catch her play for the third time at Stache tomorrow, June 21, and Friday nights at the W Fort Lauderdale through July 4.