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.
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!