"It would be one of those house cats that just loves to be pet to the point of purring and closing its eyes, only to all of a sudden bite and kick with it’s back legs.
Sweet but with a dark side!"
Cindy Bradley is and has been taking the Smooth Jazz world by storm for quite some time. She was named "New Artist of the Year" in 2011 by the Contemporary Jazz Awards - Her latest project "Bliss" will be released May 27th and after the success of her last album Unscripted, which reached #1 on Billboards Album Chart for 2 weeks straight... I can't wait to hear what she's got for us now. I caught up with her earlier this week... she's a busy lady so it was great to catch her quick for a short interview. She has a full performing schedule this year in addition to her CD Release. For more information check out her website:
How long have you been playing the trumpet?
I have been playing the trumpet since I was in 4th grade. I started out playing the piano when I was 5. When it was time to sign up for a band instrument at school I forgot to bring my permission slip home to my parents. The teacher actually sought me out the day they were due because she knew I played the piano and liked music. She told me that I could be in the band but I had to circle the instrument I wanted to play right then and there. I circled the trumpet randomly because I wasn’t sure what most of the other instruments were!
What made you decide to go into music / how did you start out?
I played trumpet all throughout school but always wanted to go into medicine. When I got into middle school I joined a swing band that was outside of school and involved lots of kids from throughout the community (the group was called “Sugar & Jazz” and still exists in Buffalo to this day). That group made me fall in love with the trumpet. I loved swing music and loved to improvise. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I decided I had to go to school for music though. When faced with the decision of what to study in college I felt I should do what I really loved.
If you weren't a trumpet player... which instrument would you play and why?
I actually play a few instruments and studied double bass from 7th grade on. I went to college and was going to be a jazz double bass minor. The college work was too rigorous for me to keep up on two instruments though, so I stopped playing the bass. I absolutely love it and would definitely want to be a bass player if I didn’t play trumpet.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I love hard bop trumpet players and have studied their playing quite extensively. Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Brown, Blue Mitchell, and especially Lee Morgan. They have had the biggest influence on my trumpet playing. I’ve always been a huge Oscar Peterson fan as well.
Is music your full time job? Do you want it to be?
Besides the performing and recording I do as a musician, I am also a full time band teacher in an elementary school in New Jersey. I love teaching music as much as I love playing it. As long as I can continue to balance my two careers, I would never give up either.
Tell me your thoughts about being one of the highest profile women in the "boys club" of trumpet playing.
Whenever a woman is in a male dominated field it comes with a unique set of experiences. Being a female trumpet player has both helped and hindered my career at different times. There have certainly been gigs that I was given that were then taken away when someone found out the horn player was a woman (usually because they were convinced a woman couldn’t play hard enough or well enough), or gigs I couldn’t get in the first place because someone was not willing to hire a woman. However, I have also been seen as a bit of a novelty due to the fact that there are less woman doing what I do. I know it helped me to get a record deal, and I know there are promoters that book me on their festivals because they believe people will buy tickets to see a woman play trumpet because they may have not seen that before. To be successful I believe women have to prove themselves a bit more, and work very hard. There will always be people that will treat someone like me unfairly, as well as those that embrace a woman that plays well. I’ve found there are many more people that embrace me and I’m happy for that.
Do you write a lot of music?
I do write a lot of music at this point in my life, mostly due to my recording career. In the past I used to feel like musicians either spent most of their time mastering playing their instruments, or composing for many hours a day. It’s people that naturally do both well that I find amazing. Playing was something I always worked at and enjoyed. Writing took me longer to improve at and I found it takes just as much dedication in order to learn to do it well. I still work very hard at getting to be a better and better writer.
What type of performing are you doing right now?
Most of the performing I do at this point is with my own show. I play at a lot of smooth jazz festivals and different jazz clubs around the world.
I know you have a new album coming out ... your last album “Unscripted” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Album Chart... what can we look forward to with your new album "Bliss"...
Unscripted was recorded during a very difficult time in my life. I was dealing with a lot of illness within my family, and the loss of people I loved. I poured a lot of that emotion into Unscripted and I think it explores a certain mood that I couldn’t turn away from when I was making the album. Things in my life are wonderful at the moment and “Bliss” is a reflection of that. There are still fun, funky tracks as well as more moody and beautiful ones, but they are more in the spirit of life and love. It’s being released on May 27th of this year and I’m really excited about it!
I see you just got back from the Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival... tell me about it.
The Palm Spring’s Women’s Jazz Fest was quite an experience. I love to see female musicians playing together and doing it well – and this was a full weekend of exactly that. I performed with some friends of mine in the group “Jazz in Pink.” It was a really unique experience that I think was wonderful for people to see and for me to be a part of.
What else is in the works for you in the coming year?
Since my new cd is about to be released, I will be focused on doing a lot of touring to promote the album. There are still many places I haven’t played and I look forward to checking them off of my musical bucket list. I’m also currently recording on several other artists’ cds, including a track for Paul Hardcastle. Besides music, I’m doing a lot more volunteer work for different animal causes, including working at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary when I have free days during the summer. That’s another one of my loves in life.
What's your current gig schedule like? Where can we see you play?
More and more shows are coming in for 2014 but I am currently scheduled to perform in Sacramento, Winnipeg, Panama City Beach, San Antonio, Atlanta, and some others. You can always stay up to date on where I will be by visiting cindybradley.com
Musical highlight of your career?
It is difficult for me to pick just one, but the one that comes to mind would have to be my first big solo jazz show. I had just gotten signed to Trippin’ N’ Rhythm records and my first cd was finished. I got booked to play at the Catalina Island Jazztrax Festival and the record label president, Les Cutmore, along with the vice president, were coming to see my show. My parents also flew across the country to see me perform and they hadn’t seen me play in a very long time. I felt so much pressure and hadn’t really done a show full of my own music before. The show turned out great and I was so relieved that I always consider that a highlight of my career. All the people that believed in me were there in the same room, and I really didn’t want to disappoint them!
If your trumpet were an animal which animal would it be?
It would be one of those house cats that just loves to be pet to the point of purring and closing its eyes, only to all of a sudden bite and kick with it’s back legs. Sweet but with a dark side!
Where do you hope your music will take you in the future?
Music has honestly taken me more places than I ever dreamed of. I always worked towards a career as a solo trumpet artist, but never thought I would experience the things that I have at this point. I’m very thankful to those that have believed in me and gave me a shot. Now I want to keep playing and traveling and meeting more people. I hope to never stop growing as a musician, writer, and performer.
I am the PR, Advertising, Marketing, Web and Social mind at Harrelson Trumpets. When I am not at work- I paint: