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BLAZING A TRAIL: Country Artist Cole Bradley Discusses His Blossoming Career!

BLAZING A TRAIL: Country Artist Cole Bradley Discusses His Blossoming Career!

Cole Bradley is a true star on the rise in the world of country music.

Country singer and songwriter, Cole Bradley, is an up and coming contender in the North American music scene. Growing up listening to the likes of Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw, Bradley first graced the stage at the young age of five. Since then, Cole has fostered a passion for performing and sharing his music with others. Much like Bradley himself, his songs are upbeat, positive and full of life. He is a natural entertainer with an infectious energy. His unique vocals and his edgy country sound, make his music fresh and original. Whether he is belting out a rowdy party anthem or a heartfelt ballad, he is able to captivate fans of all ages with his sense of humor, warmth and honest songwriting.

Bradley has had the privilege of working with world class producers and writers in Canada, Nashville and Los Angeles and has opened for various country music entertainers including Thomas Rhett, High Valley, Chad Brownlee, and Brett Kissel. Prior to making the move to Nashville, Bradley was chosen as a finalist in the inaugural year of Project Wild, one of Canada’s biggest artist development programs and was also nominated for Fan’s Choice at the Alberta Country Music Association Awards. Since his move to Nashville, Bradley has continued to work on the craft of songwriting while playing at local venues including the historic Bluebird Cafe where he made his debut in September 2017 and played again in February 2018, happily returning to play for the attentive audiences for which the The Bluebird is famous.

Cole Bradley just released a brand new single — “Happy Hour.” Written with co-writers Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, Sandy Chila, and Alex Dezen, the track serves as a great introduction to his captivating voice and positive vibes and is sure to be  the party anthem for the summer of 2018! If you’re in Nashville for CMA Fest, you can catch him performing live on June 7th at The Local and at The Bluebird Cafe on June 8th. 

Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Cole Bradley for a quick Q&A. In the interview, he offers up an inside look at his blossoming career, his passion for songwriting and everything he has cookin’ for us in the months to come!

There is no doubt that music is your true love, so let’s start at the beginning. What are you first memories of music?

My first memory is dancing around the living room at the age of two with my grandad listening to “Penny Lane” by the Beatles. He passed away not too long after so it’s very special to me; it’s one of my first memories of him and my first memories of music. The other memory is singing along in the backseat of my mama’s Toyota at the age of three listening to Garth Brook’s Greatest Hit’s record.

What can you tell us about the process of finding your creative voice as a young artist?

I’m not going to lie, it took some time. I think it’s all about experiencing life and trying to tell your story in a unique way. I was lucky that I had some music mentors growing up that helped guide me on my path.

Dedicating yourself fully to your art is a big step. Did you ever have any reservations about taking the plunge?

Oh, for sure! Any artist who didn’t is definitely lucky. Anything you do in life is a risk, especially in the music industry. But the “highs” overpower the “lows” so I wouldn’t change my path because every success story and failure has shaped me into the artist I am today.

Cole Bradley

Who were some of the performers and people behind the scenes who helped to shape the artist we see today?

I love this question. Two performers that helped shape me into who I am today are Michael Bernard Fitzgerald and Andrew Allen. Both of these artists have had great success in North America playing big venues, selling tons of records etc. These men saw something in a fourteen your old kid and gave me so many opportunities and taught me so much. Other people behind the scenes are of course my family and friends who have been there from day one, my producer Sandy Chila and manager Leslie Mitchell.

You are clearly very driven when it comes to your career. What has kept you inspired throughout the years as an artist and fueled your creative fire?

The music. Good music. Great songwriting. There are so many talented people in this industry and they just make you want to push harder and improve your craft. You can never stop learning in this business and I’ve been lucky to have surrounded myself with people who also want to be better.

For those who may be reading this before hearing your work, how would you describe the sound you have created?

We have a country music sound that isn’t afraid to go outside the boundaries. All our writing is honest and comes from the heart (which is country music) but we aren’t afraid to do different things on the production side. Whether it be a unique bass groove or percussion, we want to be unique in the way we’re telling our story.

Where do you find yourself looking for inspiration when it comes to the music you are making?

From real life experiences. If I can live what I’m writing about, the song will be special.

What can you tell us about the songwriting process for your music?

It differs on every song and who I am writing with. Sometimes we will start with a lyrical idea or melody and other times we’ll start with the music. There’s no real structure in a songwriting session and that’s what makes writing songs so fun!

What was the first song you ever wrote?

First song I ever wrote was one called “Can’t Stop.” I was ten years old and I wrote it about my first crush. Looking back, it’s kind of embarrassing but it’s also pretty cool to see how far my writing has come!

You’re originally from Western Canada but relocated to Nashville. How did making that transition impact you as an artist?

It was a big transition yet small in some ways. Obviously, in Nashville everyone is trying to be an artist so in that way it can be a little overwhelming. Yet the people are so kind and the city itself has a great atmosphere so it’s very similar to where I’m from in Canada in that way.

You’ve come a long way in a short time. What do you consider your biggest milestones along the way?

Well, thank you. I’ve been lucky enough to open for some super great acts along the way including Thomas Rhett, and High Valley so to share those stages was definitely special. I’ve been lucky enough to play some very historic venues like the Bluebird Café. But the biggest milestone would be the first time I heard a big crowd sing my songs back to me when I was on stage.  This journey has been so much fun, but I understand that there is still a LONG way to go!

I’m sure you have a busy summer ahead when it comes to performances. Going all the way back to your early years, what do you remember about the first time you steeped on stage to perform to a crowd?

It started at singing recitals and I always knew I had a love for performing. I remember just wanting people to hear me and the story I was trying to tell. It’s funny because I still have the same goal performing today as I did back then: to make people happy through my music.

What excites you the most about being a part of the country music scene in 2018?

What I love about the country music scene is how there’s room for all kinds of artists in the business. Whether it’s a down-home, soulful country act like Chris Stapleton or a guy like Sam Hunt who isn’t afraid to try something new – I like how country music is inclusive!

What are you currently listening to for inspiration and what songs are your guilty pleasures?

For me, I’m always looking to my heroes for inspiration. That includes Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks, and U2. Man, there are so many songs but “The Good Stuff”, “Just To See You Smile”, and “Standing Outside The Fire” have to be my guilty pleasures.

You have been a busy guy this year. What can we expect from you musically in the months to come?

We just started releasing new music a month ago and you can expect a new record sometime soon! It’s exciting – we started working on this new record in 2016 so I’m so glad to finally be sharing these new songs with my fans.

What is the best way for fans to help support you at this stage in your career?

Two things: to listen/share the music and show support on social media. It means the world to have people listen to my songs and to spread the word. Social media following is also key in today’s music world so if people can follow the social’s – that helps out so much.

You’ve got a great social media presence and we can get little glimpses into your world there. What do you think people would be most surprised to find out about you?

When I am not doing music, I just love doing the “simple things” in life. Whether it’s having a beer with my friends, watching a hockey game with my dad or working out – I enjoy just hanging with the people I care about most. I’m a pretty normal guy!

You can serve as a great inspiration for so many aspiring artists and young people. What is the best lesson we can take away from your journey so far?

A musical mentor of mine once told me “Take care of the music and the rest will sort itself out”. It’s easy for an artist to lose sight of their “craft” by getting too stressed out by the business side of things and that whole whirlwind. But if an artist takes care of the music, the writing and the live show – I believe all the other stuff will work out.

I always like to ask if there are any special or organizations you might be involved with that we can help shine a light on. 

I’ve done some work with an organization called Community Kitchens of Calgary back home in Canada. The people at this organization work to tackle hunger thorough a series of great programs in the community. The work they do is inspiring!

Visit Cole Bradley’s official website at www.PlayItCole.com. Connect with him on social media via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

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The Journey So Far: Rachele Lynae Discusses Her Career, Influences And New EP!

The Journey So Far: Rachele Lynae Discusses Her Career, Influences And New EP!

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Rachele Lynae’s first memory of music was running around her Alaskan home as a young girl singing all of songs from ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Aladdin’. Along with those epic masterpieces, Rachele was greatly influenced by her father’s post dinner country music sessions. Thanks to her father she was introduced to and instantly fell in love with the likes of Willie Nelson and other country greats. Rachele would eventually go on to discover the music of Reba McEntire, Shania Twain, and Leann Rimes. It was these artists who inspired her to put pen to paper and begin developing her own musical talent. By age twelve Rachele had successfully written numerous songs and by age seventeen she would take those songs out on the road and perform them to riveted audiences. In what would prove to be one of the best moves of her budding career, Rachele packed up her bags and headed to Nashville to attend Belmont University. It was there that she would impress musician Jimmy Murphy with a five song EP, which he immediately shared with his well known daughter, country music singer Jamie O’Neal. The pairing of Rachele with Jamie ignited a fire that shows no signs of slowing down. Armed with a new EP and her new single ‘Fishin’ For Something’, Rachele is poised to explode upon the country music scene. Steve Johnson of Icon vs Icon recently sat down with the golden throated singer-songwriter to discuss her influences, what keeps her inspired, the success of her new single ‘Fishin’ For Something’, and her recently released ‘Party Pack’ EP.

Rachele Lynae

Rachele Lynae

Tell me a little about your first memories of music and how it came into your life.

I was told I started singing about the same time I started talking. It was really early on. I’m not exactly sure! [laughs] From a young age I started singing all of the Disney songs. That was probably the first memory. I would sing the music from Aladdin word for word. The Little Mermaid and things like that. When I was a kid, after dinner my dad would pull out the guitar and start playing country songs. He would sing Willie Nelson, Dan Fields, and so on. From a very early age, it was a huge part of my life.

You just mentioned a couple of great artists. Who would you cite as your greatest influences?

When I was younger it was definitely Reba McEntire, Shania Twain, and Leann Rimes. Leann was a big influence just because she was still young and I was young. I was like, “Hey! If she can do it, I can do it!” [laughs] That was really inspiring to a young girl. As I got older, people like Gerry O’Neill. Jason Aldean and people like that who took country and added a bit of rock to it.

Why did you decided to pursue music as a career instead of going a different route?

I always wanted to be a singer since I was very little. I think when you’re really little you don’t necessarily understand why you have one career over another. Sometimes I would be like, “I want to be a singer and a policeman!” [laughs] When you get older you realize you have to pick one career. That was an easy choice.

What has kept you inspired as a musician through the years? Is there something in particular that fuels your creativity?

I don’t know if there’s any one thing. As a songwriter, I can get inspired by anything. You could be walking down the street and see something that inspires you. I have a song… A friend of mine had a Jeep and it was the summertime. It was hot and my hair was sticking to my lip gloss. That ended up being the beginning to a song. It’s the little things that you see, the stories that I experience in my life, or my friend’s stories. It can be almost anything.

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For people that haven’t heard your music, how would you best describe it?

I’m a country rocker. It’s country with a little bit of that classic rock feel. I’m a songwriter, so a lot of my songs are stories that come directly from my life or from my friend’s lives. When someone comes to a live show they are going to see a really energetic show. There will be a lot of jumping around and skipping around. It’s really energetic and fun!

Do you think you have evolved any as a musician since starting out?

[laughs] Definitely! The first time I was in a studio, I was ten years old! So, I certainly hope that I have evolved! [laughs] It’s kind of a never ending process. I hope that when you ask me in a couple of years from now, I certainly I hope I have! Every time that you put out an album or you’re on the road for a certain amount of time, you’re growing and evolving. You’re constantly growing. I pull things directly from my life for songs. I’m going to have different stories to tell and I’m going to have a different perspective to put on them as the years go on and as my life story evolves.

You recently released your ‘Party Pack’ EP. How has that been received so far?

So far, so good! We’re working on a full album that is to be released. It’s been really cool to see people sing back lyrics at shows and to get the comments on Facebook and some reviews on iTunes. There’s one song that has been put up on iTunes that they tell has had the second most downloads next to my single. It’s called ‘Loaded Gun.’ It’s funny because that song, for whatever reason, I’ve been like, “Everyone’s going to love this song!” For some reason it’s taken some stirring to get some other people at the label excited about it. Even my co-writers thought it was cool and they were happy and proud of the song, but I was really excited about it. It’s been really cool to see that my instincts were correct on that. It’s been exciting to see how people receive it.

Tell us a little about the writing process for the EP. How did it initially come together and play itself out?

When I first came to Belmont, I was used to writing by myself. I was very happy writing by myself. [laughs] I had a professor that was like, “You really need to start co-writing. That’s how you network in this town and you’ll also pick up tricks from other writers. It’s a good thing to do.” I was like, “That’s really going to throw off my schedule.” I was really ornery about it. He finally pushed it enough to where I started co-writing a little bit. I have come to absolutely love it. You get two sets of ears, two sets of eyes, and two brains working on the same song. It’s really cool. You’re connecting to other, you just don’t have to go out! [laughs]

Rachele Lynae

Rachele Lynae

What can you tell us about your typical songwriting process?

Normally when I sit down to co-write, I have three or four ideas I am looking at to pitch to whoever I am writing with. They will usually has a couple of ideas as well. You kind of start out like, “What kind of mood are you in today?” You kind of feel each other out. We may feel like writing something upbeat that day or you could be in a really moody place where you want to write a ballad. Then we will narrow down the ideas that we picked and say, “I have this idea. It goes like this so far.” Then I’ll play what I have or explain the concept. They’ll be like, “That’s cool. That’s cool. Well, I have this.” You then figure out which idea you are both in a place mentally and emotionally to write on that day.

Jamie O’Neal produced your EP. What’s it like working with her and what does a talent like her bring to the table?

What does she not bring to the table is the question! [laughs] Jamie is an amazing writer and singer. I was a fan of Jamie before I ever got to meet her personally because of her album Shiver that had ‘When I Think About Angels’ and ‘There is no Arizona’ and many other songs. Every song on that album could have been a single. That album came out right when I was getting serious about songwriting. I studied that album. She was the first person I was a fan of as a singer and a songwriter. I stood in the fan line. I got the picture. I got the autograph. Years later when I graduated from Belmont I was looking for my next step. I made a list of people that I knew in the industry and one of them happened to be her dad. So we sat down and I had an EP I worked on in college. I was like, “If you listen to this and you get it and you believe in it, then help me out.” He called me right after that and was like, “Rachelle I had no idea!” He set up the meeting with Jamie. From the time that I stepped into her house, I was nervous that I was going to be nervous! [laughs] I was so excited to meet her and to be able to play music for her. She welcomed me with open arms. I’ve always been sort of fearless and she brought out a new level of that by being so encouraging of my creativity. We just clicked right away. As far as the writing process, there’s this fearlessness that she bring further out of me. Whether it’s in the recording studio where she hits the playback button and is like, “Hey! You should probably do something like this.” Then she sings this ridiculous lick. I’m like, “Oh my gosh! I don’t know if I can do that!” [laughs] She hits a cord and you’re like, “OK!” [laughs] She pushes me vocally to do things that I didn’t realize I was able to do and I was. In the writing stage she really taught me how to be comfortable just throwing out ideas. Honestly, when you’re writing you can’t be afraid of something being stupid. Half of the things you say are going to be stupid, but the other half are going to be brilliant. If you don’t just say them, then you’re never going to know which it is. So that’s been amazing. Jamie has really been a mentor to me on pretty much all levels. She taught me how to go shopping and do the girly artist stuff. [laughs] She’s been helpful in every aspect.

Were there any challenges to putting together the music on this EP?

I’m so close to all of the songs that I can’t pick one song over another. That’s another place where Jamie came in and was really helpful. I have so many songs that aren’t even going to make the album. I would not have been able to pick one song over the other. For me that was the hardest thing, letting go of the songs that didn’t make it and picking some songs over other songs.

You’re new single, ‘Fishin For Something’, is doing amazingly well. Tell me a little about how you put the song together and are you happy with the success that it has had?

It’s still early on for ‘Fishin’. I’m really excited and hopeful that it continues to grow. I wrote that with one of my best girlfriends, Hannah Bethel. We enjoy writing together because we know each others thoughts in our writing process so well. It’s just easy to write together. We had scheduled to write one day and she came in with this idea of combining fishing with being out and being hit on. [laughs] You know, fishing for something that ain’t in the water. It was perfect for us because she and a number of our friends like to go out line dancing. We like to have a girl’s nights. We’ll get all dolled up and what not. We’ve found that it’s almost inevitable that at least one person in the group is going to be approached by some random guy that we don’t know around midnight or something. [laughs] He’ll be like, “Hey! Whatcha doing later?” [laughs] They’ll be like, “Thanks, but no thanks!” [laughs] So we were like, this is a funny way to respond to that.

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I know it’s relatively early on for that song, but how has it affected your career? Do you see it pulling in a lot of new fans?

I do. It’s cool. I try to be really active on social media and respond as much as I can to fans on Facebook and on Twitter. Some of them are like, “I just heard you on Sirius/XM! Oh my gosh, you’re amazing!” Some of them will follow up and learn more about me and be like, “Oh my gosh! I love this song too!” I see a lot of fans that are coming in from hearing the song on the radio and being excited about it there and then doing their research and discovering who I was. That’s so cool, when your song is connecting with someone so much that they want to figure out who you are. That’s really cool!

You’ve mentioned a full length record. When might that see the light of day?

We’re hoping to get it out by the end of the year, but we don’t have a solid timeline. That side of things isn’t really up to me. I do my side of it, than kind of rely on the label. It’s a matter of how ‘Fishin’ does and where everything in the market is, but we are hoping to have it out by the end of the year.

What can people expect when they come to see you perform live?

A lot of energy, fun, and sass! [laughs] For some songwriters it’s really important for them to stand out in front of the band and be distinctly different. Everyone kinda stands in their own places. With my live show, I like the guys to be rock stars. It’s their show too. All of us are having a great time on stage. There’s the running around. There are guitar wars going on sometimes. [laughs] It’s a lot of fun.

Rachele Lynae

Rachele Lynae

Would you consider that the best part of playing live or is there something else that you would consider the best part of being live on stage in front of people?

I love every aspect of performing live, well aside from technical difficulties! [laughs] The most powerful thing is when you see your songs affecting people. When you see people singing the words back to you, it’s amazing! As a songwriter, I am writing down my stories knowing and hoping that those stories will connect with other people who don’t necessarily have a means of communicating themselves. Not everyone can write songs. Not everyone can sing. I want to help give them a voice, so they can communicate their story. To be able to see people singing back to you and you are all sharing this connection, it’s really magical.

Where and when can people catch up with you on tour?

The best way to figure that out is to look at my website. As things get closer I post them on Facebook, but the best place to look is my website. Right now the focus is radio tours. I go around and I visit radio and we sneak in shows wherever we can. [laughs]

Country music has changed quite drastically throughout the years and many people claim it has become to pop driven. What are your thoughts on that and what would you say to people who claim the genre isn’t what it used to be?

It’s not. Country music isn’t what it used to be, especially some of the newer stuff. Every genre of music is going to evolve. I fall somewhere between. I don’t like it when things are too extremely pop. When you’re like, “Where’s the country in this song?” [laughs] At the same time something really cool has been happening. Country music has been drawing in a lot more listeners because they hear something a little more like what they are used to hearing and they’ll start checking out the rest of the genre. Even stuff that may be more straight up obvious country. They’ll be like, “Oh! I actually do like country!” While I understand the complaints with that change, I think it’s been really positive to expand country music.

Is there anything that you consider the defining moment of your career so far or are you still waiting for that moment to happen?

I guess I would lean toward the second, but there have been a lot of little ones along the way. The moment where Jimmy and Jamie approached me and said that they had a dream of starting their own record label, and they’ve been waiting for somebody that they could believe in and push, and they thought that was me. That was huge! Getting to open for a legend like Leon Russell was mindblowing. Sitting down with John Marks over at Sirius/XM and having him tell me that they decided to add the record. That was life changing. There were so many moments along the way. [laughs] I’ve had a lot of those little moments, but I haven’t experienced one ultimate moment yet.

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Do you have any advice for anyone who might like to get involved in the music industry?

It depends on what part of the industry they want to get involved in. First of all I tell everyone you have to be passionate, whether its on the business side or you want to be an artist or a musician. If you eat, sleep, and breathe it, then I encourage you to step forward. If you don’t, you should find something else. It’s not easy. It’s very challenging. There’s a misconception about that out there. So that’s the first thing I say. If someone’s like, “No! This is all I really want!” I’m like, OK! You have to jump in with both of your feet!” If you go into the business side you are going to have to be looking for internships and things that don’t necessarily pay a lot, but places where you can start to get to know people and start networking and building relationships. If you’re willing to be the go to guy, then you are going to start to become the go to guy. That’s how you get involved on the business side. As a musician or a singer you need to take every opportunity that you can have to perform. If someone asks you to sing, sing. No matter where you are, if the gig is ten people or ten thousand people. The point is that you’re getting your name and your music out there. You never know who’s in that crowd. There could be five people. If one of them is the head of a major record label and they are excited about you, that’s all you needed. You never know.

That’s all I have for you today Rachele. Do you have last words for your fans out there?

I call all of my fans Rachele’s Rebels. I just look forward to meeting them all at shows. I’d like to thank them for all of their encouraging comments and their efforts to share my music with other people. They have been amazing to me and they continue to encourage and inspire me every day.

We wish you all the best out there and hope your career goes well! Maybe we’ll catch up down the road to see how you are doing.

That sounds good! Thank you so much!

For all the latest news and dates for Rachael Lynae, visit her official website at www.rachelelynae.com!

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