When Bradford was a baby, his sister used to rock his cradle with her foot while playing sonatas on their old upright piano. She was always given credit as instilling in him a love of and an ear for music, but who knows, that might just be a tall tale.
By the time he had reached the third grade the music teacher at Village School in Holmdel, NJ recommendedthat he attend Camp Albemarle at the American Boychoir School. “It was this summer camp experience that would seal my fate as a singer”, Bradford recalls. “ I met Anton Armstrong at Albemarle. Dr. Armstrong is inspirational to anyone at any age, but to a kid he is a sort of god of singing. He drew sounds out of otherwise unruly boys and girls that were in a word, transcendent. It was at this little summer camp that my love for singing classical music, my sight reading skills and my talent as a soloist were first revealed. I loved it.”
Bradford was first pushed into the limelight in musical theater performances at the Trenton War Memorial and operas with New Jersey Opera Theater and Westminster Choir College. During these formative years, he was also fortunate to sing with the choir of Men Boys and Girls at Trinity Church, Princeton with John Bertalot. There he was exposed to the great choral music of the English cathedrals. By high school, however, garage bands, rock, blues and funk had invaded his otherwise tame musical mind.
In college, his love for playing classical piano and singing translated almost exclusively into the live band music scene. He played a Hammond organ with a Leslie speaker cabinet, and a Fender Rhodes. He had several outrageous bands mostly devoted to funk and madness. Bradford was certain that the band would never break up, but like most misshapen delusions of an adolescent mind, the band was doomed.
Bradford went on to earn his Masters in Education and taught History in the Boston Public School system. He loved working with teenagers and felt a great sense of purpose in his role as a high school teacher. Though he treasured his work, Bradford once again felt an overwhelming urge to follow his dream of living a life devoted to music. He then made a drastic move and began attending Longy School of Music to earn his Masters in Voice.
Bradford credits his longtime voice teacher for his ability to sing from his most authentic voice. “As my time at Longy wrapped up, I was fortunate enough to meet my greatest mentor, the soprano and voice teacher, Jane Olian. From the first time I sang in her studio on the Upper West Side, I knew that I had found my voice teacher. Jane helped put the final pieces of the puzzle together and taught me to sing from an earthy and grounded place."
Bradford found success early in his performance career with such groups as the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque and Conspirare. “Among the many experiences that I have had, my time with Conspirare and Craig Hella Johnson stands out as some of the most profound and inspirational music making that I have ever witnessed. I will cherish the wonderful recordings in which I participated, including The Sacred Spirit of Russia which went on to win a Grammy.”
Bradford now enjoys teaching voice at Berklee College of Music. “At Berklee I am able combine my passion for classical repertoire and my training as a vocal pedagogue with all sorts of different varieties of popular music. When I’m not teaching at Berklee or singing gigs on my own, I still love to play my Hammond and Fender Rhodes. I would love to have my own band and to be gigging in that scene again, but lest I push the envelope too much, I’ll take it one thing at a time.”