Talented musician Erin Bradley joins us on Close-Up Culture to discuss her love of jazz and her hopes for the future.
Can you tell us about your musical background and where your love of jazz comes from?
Ever since I was little, my dad would put on jazz records and we would both listen to them together. I was especially drawn to Artie Shaw’s clarinet playing and when I was 7, I decided to start playing the clarinet.
I played classical for a few years but then transferred to jazz when I realised how much it allows you to express yourself. My love of jazz also came from going to gigs with my family and hearing the performers. I began to sing jazz and haven’t stopped since.
Who have been your biggest jazz inspirations?
My biggest jazz inspiration is Chet Baker. His playing and singing was incredible, he tells a story through so much emotion and his harmonic language is very advanced; he creates a melody when improvising. I love transcribing his music and whenever I feel happy or sad, I put on his music. I hope to convey this type of emotion through the clarinet and voice.
I am also a big fan of Sarah Vaughan. She was a prodigy and you can tell when listening to her music and transcriptions. Her range is incredible.
You’ve have some big gigs in recent months. How have you found your experiences of performing in front of a live crowd?
I have loved every minute of it. When I am on stage I feel very much at home and the adrenaline is amazing. I love talking to the crowd after the gigs and I feel like through improvising, I am telling a story to the audience and getting them involved.
You share great content on Instagram and TikTok. How helpful is it to have those platforms to experiment and get instant feedback?
I enjoy having both platforms, Instagram more because it is easier to meet other people and work with them. There is so much talent on these platforms and I am so lucky to be able to witness a new talent everyday through Instagram and TikTok. Getting feedback is very important to me and I feel like Instagram and TikTok are very good for that.
Some performers take the ‘X-Factor route’ to success, while others try to build their careers in more ‘traditional’ ways. What do you value most as a performer, and what path do you hope to take in your music career?
I value just having fun the most as a performer. I don’t like to overthink it, I just like to perform with my friends and tell a story to an audience. Music is my passion, so any chance I get to perform, I will take it.
Instead of X-Factor, I am studying jazz singing at Guildhall School Of Music And Drama and I love it – the teaching is amazing and it is a practical course. However, I think that taking the X-Factor route is very beneficial: you learn to perform, meet people, get connections and overall have a great experience.
What are three albums you’d take with you to a desert island?
Chet Baker Sings
Arctic Monkeys – AM
I would create an album consisting of my favourite rap songs too because there are too many to choose from!
What are your hopes and ambitions for the future?
I hope to release a new song in the next few months, and an album in 2 or 3 years. I would also like to travel around the world performing gigs and meeting new people.