To Chandler Turner, Nashville’s Creative Community Feels Like Family

Barista and intern, Chandler Turner, 20, just moved to Nashville at the end of August.

Originally from Phenix City, Ala., he attended a small private bible college for a year called Urshan College in St. Louis before deciding to make the move to Nashville.

“I realized that school was not what I wanted to do and Nashville seemed cool,” he said. “I always wanted to move here and things just started working out. I got a job at Revelator and then an internship at Weld. It was last minute, but I packed up and headed here.”


Still adjusting, Chandler said Nashville is a big city without feeling like a big city.

“I feel like there are so many things to do here, but you have to look for them,” he said.

Through Instagram, Chandler saw that Revelator, a new coffee shop in Hillsboro Village, was hiring. He applied and got the job, which sealed the deal for him to make the move.

“I love being a barista and talking to people,” he said. “We joke at work saying that if you work in coffee in Nashville you know every one in Nashville, and you really do.”

Along with being a barista, Chandler is also an intern at Weld, a community of freelancers and remote workers that foster collaboration, experimentation and meaningful relationships. He said he has all the typical duties as an intern like making coffee, answering phones, and replacing ink cartridges.

“It’s fun because I get a free membership and I can use the studio at Weld whenever I want,” he said.  “I was on the promotional team for my school last year so I did most of the marketing, photography and the branding. If I could do anything I would do something along those lines.”

For Chandler, much of the appeal of Nashville was in the culture.

“I think the main reason I wanted to come to Nashville was because of the culture,” he said. “It’s a southern feel, but with glitz and glam. I love it, and I really like music, too. I’m not a musician by any means but I really like the vibe and meeting musicians and finding new music.”

Right now, he said he’s listening to Liza Anne, Striking Matches and Penny & Sparrow.

“I like bluesy stuff with a lot of guitars,” he said. “I’m also a freak for old country music, like the stuff my grandparents would listen to.”

Chandler said he also enjoys Nashville’s creative community.

“I get to meet a lot of people through Weld and being here feels almost like a family.”

He said there is a lot going on in the city and that has the potential to be very competitive, but instead everyone wants to help one another.

“If you tell someone what you want to do, they probably know someone and you can network and meet people to help you do that thing,” he said. “It’s helpful and not so much of a competition. I think it’s Southern hospitality thing.”


When Neat Nashville asked Chandler about his concerns for the city moving forward, his response echoed the same as those who have been here for decades. Traffic and affordable housing are at the top of his short list.

“I usually get off work around 5 p.m. and I don’t want to go home because it takes so long to get there. I’d rather walk around for a while than sit in traffic for 30 minutes.”

Chandler lives about 15 minutes west of town, but because of traffic that time can double or triple. He said Nashville is also an expensive city, especially when it comes to the cost of living.

“I’m guessing it’s because so many people are moving here and there’s not that much space,” he said. “Compared to St. Louis, it was less expensive.”

As far as the community aspect, he said it is completely different.

“To me a community is any group of people who are helping each other.”

Chandler said his school last year was a tight-knit community because it was small. He said a part of a community is relying on people when things aren’t going right. He said collectively Nashville has that same tight-knit feel.

“It’s easy to network and meet people and that’s great,” he said.

Chandler said coming from St. Louis, Nashville was a big change.

“There is a community there, but it’s so different and definitely not as big, for sure. There’s probably ten people in it,” he joked about the Missouri city. “I knew a couple of people from coffee shops, Instagram and just meeting people but other than that and school I didn’t really feel a sense of community.”

An introvert and an extrovert all in one, Chandler said it’s fun going out and trying to meet new people and go to fun things like concerts, but said it’s also exhausting. Usually working six days a week, most of his off time consist of reading or sleeping and going to Percy Warner or Radnor Lake with his dog.

“It’s easy for me to go into a shell so sometimes I have to force myself to not become a hermit. It’s hard moving to a new city,” he said.

Right now, he said building relationships is one of the most important things to him, along with making connections and meeting people, keeping up with family in Alabama and staying connected with what matters most.

Thanks for reading Nashville!


Every Thursday at noon Neat Nashville embraces the community by highlighting an individual in a feature article that tells their story and voices their concerns about the city moving forward. It is our hope to inspire good change locally, to be a force of unity, and support the people we all call neighbors.

It starts with community. It starts where you are.