Following the release of his brand new single last week, Love Made Me; we sat down with the incredible Country singer and songwriter, Cole Bradley, to chat about his amazing new track, what it’s been like as an artist and creative during this crazy year, and what we can expect from him next! A rising star on the North American music scene, Cole’s unique vocals and edgy country sound make his music fresh, original and difficult not to love. Definitely one of 2020’s “one’s to watch”; keep on reading for the full conversation with Cole Bradley!
From opposite sides of the world, as evening begins to approach in London and the day’s only beginning in Nashville, we manage to catch up; with our conversation still starting in a way that has become eerily familiar over the last several months, as we delve into talking about Covid 19 and the impact of this crazy year.
COLE: So how have you been? Have you been safe and everything’s been good during this pandemic for you?
TSU: It’s been crazy but I’m all good and safe, how have you been?
COLE: Yeah, it’s been absolutely bizarre, and obviously being artist and musician in these crazy times is definitely a challenge but I think we’re all we’re all trying to adapt!
TSU: I can imagine! So you are you in Nashville at the moment or are you back in Canada?
Cole: No so I’m in Nashville now, I got back to Nashville almost a week ago and i’m back here for the time being. So right when everything hit in March I went back to Canada and spent the majority of the year up there which is crazy cause I’ve been down in Nashville for four years. So I spent almost five months up in Canada when this was really unpredictable and just wanted my family and that kind of thing, but yeah now back in Nashville. It’s good to be back but definitely a few things have changed for sure!
TSU: So where abouts in Canada were you?
COLE: So I’m from Alberta so it’s on the West side of Canada about 12 hours from Vancouver which is probably the biggest city that you guys might know. But yeah on the West side of Canada and it’s a town called Calgary, that’s where I was born and raised.
TSU: No way, I’ve always wanted to go to!
COLE: No way! Yeah it’s quite the place, every July for 10 days we do this big thing called the Calgary stampede. It’s this famous rodeo with a bunch of live music and massive parties, I think that’s what we’re most famous for. On top of that we got the beautiful Rocky Mountains in our own backyard so it’s good for skiing and all that kind of stuff. I think it actually snowed there yesterday so it’s crazy it’s already snowed; winter is already here!
TSU: I really wanted to do some travelling this year and head up to Canada; I’ve really wanted to go to Montreal.
Cole: Ah that’s too bad, and obviously you’re going to have to wait a little bit till this pandemic rolls over, but I mean yeah Montreal is a great town too; I have been a couple of times and I always have a good time there.
TSU: Have you got any travel plans for as soon as all this is over?
COLE: I don’t know, I hadn’t really thought about it! I mean obviously, the plan is once this is all over to kind of get touring and be doing live shows everywhere, so I don’t know when that’s going to be but hopefully soon! I think for the most part I’ll be I’ll be kind travelling down here in the in the US once this thing lifts a little bit! How about yourself?
TSU: I was meant to be going to New York earlier this year which got cancelled, so hopefully re-planning New York would be amazing and travelling around the US as well!
COLE: New York’s a good time! I was there for a radio tour a couple of years ago and we had a blast!
TSU: So where has been your favourite place to tour?
COLE: Oh man that’s a great question. I mean I think I’ve been lucky to play a lot of great cities, but even just thinking about it now, I think obviously being able to do a little bit of a radio tour and playing in New York is pretty fun; I think that’s definitely on top of the list. And I mean even just playing your hometown that’s fun. But even just being able to live in Nashville and play around here the last four or five years, and continuing to kind of grow the fanbase and play some cool venues in Nashville. I mean it’s Music City here so it’s kind of hard to beat, so I think even my own backyard I’m pretty lucky to play here.
TSU: I can imagine, especially for Country music, there’s just something so special about playing in Nashville!
COLE: I mean obviously being a country musician, country music is my favourite; but being able to play in this city, in venues where my heroes played and were getting their start, it’s definitely pretty surreal and I feel very fortunate to do that.
Talking more about Nashville and Country music, we began to discuss Cole’s musical journey so far, and what initially got him into Country music.
TSU: So what got you into country music, and what really inspired you to move to Nashville and start that journey?
COLE: Yeah I mean I loved country music since I was just a little kid. So back in the day, my first country music memory – I always tell people this story – is me sitting in the back of my mom’s car and I was about three or four years old and I was just singing along to the Garth Brooks greatest hits record. And my parents were obviously big country music fans and then my sister and I we became country music fans from there. But throughout the years that I’ve been playing music; I started singing when I was five, and then sort of started writing songs when was 10, and then did my first little EP when I was 14 and it kind of grew from there. And when I was a few weeks from my 19th birthday I was like “you know if you want to be serious about something you should do it when you’re young”, and I figured that if I’m serious about country music and I want to be as good as I can be, the place to do that and to pursue that is obviously in Nashville. I was fortunate enough that I had a pretty supportive family and they supported me in my decision of moving to Nashville, and now I have been here almost four years. I mean it’s a crazy town and there is a lot of great talent here, but I feel like I’m figuring it out day by day and exploring it day by day. So yeah, it’s been a pretty fun four years and I hope it continues!
TSU: There must have been some really crazy changes moving from Canada to Nashville?
COLE: Yeah, I mean when I was younger actually my family was lucky enough to live in Nice France for six months which was my first taste of change. But it’s surprising, people said it must be pretty drastic. Like it was; there’s somethings that were, and somethings that weren’t really. I think that for me, the people here are just so friendly and kind; and I mean Canada usually has reputation of being pretty nice, and people down here in the South – especially in Nashville – have that southern charm and southern hospitality, so I felt right at home right away. Obviously there’s other things are a little bit different; I mean I definitely love the Nashville community here, and they’re a city of tradition almost too, which i find pretty cool with their with their American Football and church on Sundays and that kind of thing. It’s definitely been fun to kind of watch and just meet a bunch of people that have been living here for a while and just hearing their stories, and I’m a big football fan now too. And just kind of getting into some of those traditions too as well. But I think for the most part it’s all about the people; and the people are super kind here, they are very welcoming so it feels just right at home.
TSU: So have any of those traditions, and the stories and the people, influenced your writing at all?
COLE: Oh 100%! I think obviously as a songwriter you find that you draw inspiration from everyone and everything; all your surroundings and that kind of thing. And for me I’ve written with a lot of people down here, and I’ve had a lot of co-writes over the last four years, and some people are from Tennessee and some people are from around the other parts of the US; but everyone is different, and I think that it’s definitely made me grow as a writer – just being around people with different like beliefs and traditions and cultures. But yeah, I’d say the scene here definitely inspires a few things for sure whether it’s sports on Sunday or southern hospitality. But for sure, I think as writers we adapt and we write about anything that’s around us.
TSU: So with that, how has everything that’s happened this year influenced and changed your whole writing process?
COLE: I mean for me it was interesting. I learned to write more by myself which is which is pretty cool. Before Covid hit, I’d been doing co-writes with other people, and was in the room with other people, and sometimes I felt like “man like it’s so hard to write a song by yourself” because you need other people to do it. I’ve written songs by myself but I always felt like they’re not very good. But not always being able to be in the room with somebody else, and spending more time by yourself in isolation, it definitely pushed me to higher limits. I actually just wrote way more by myself and I feel like it just allowed me to be a harder critic on what I was writing. And I feel like it’s kind of led to me writing some of my best stuff, so I think that this whole pandemic challenged me in a good way and I think it was actually a good thing for my writing.
TSU: I feel like so many people have said really similar things; the fact that they were forced to spend more time kind of by themselves, or at least getting rid of a lot of those distractions of life, they became a lot more introspective and it forced them to learn about themselves in a way they never really had before!
COLE: For sure! And yeah, I think specifically for songwriters, I think you think more critically about everything and it just leads to stronger writing if that makes sense.
“I think that this whole pandemic challenged me in a good way and I think it was actually a good thing for my writing.“
With the release of Cole’s latest track, Love Made Me, which he dropped last week; we got to talking about Cole’s newest single, and delved into the creative process and story behind the song.
COLE: Yeah it’s a fun track for sure! I mean as I mentioned, these last three four years I’ve been writing a ton of new material, and I kind of almost took a hiatus from releasing a lot of music. I felt like during Covid actually, I was just like “it’s time, life is short” kind of mentality, and it’s time to start releasing some of the stuff. Love Made Me is the first song that I’ve released in 2020 and I felt like it was the perfect song to release first. Its super fun, upbeat and energetic and I think that’s the flavour of the rest of the music that’s coming. I’m super stoked about it and we’re going to release a music video for it sometime soon!
TSU: That process must have been so different to anything you done before; making a music video in the middle of the pandemic, trying to social distance and stay safe and everything.
COLE: Exactly! I mean obviously the most important thing during this whole thing is that you know everyone stays safe and nobody gets sick and that kind of thing, so there’s definitely a lot more precautions and stuff! But in this particular video there was the director, and then I was in it obviously, and we had a lead girl who’s a good family friend of ours and a couple extras. But it was funny, the lead actresses fiancée was one of the extras, and then my sister was one of the extras too, so we’re all in our own bubble. It’s definitely more safe when you have limited people on set, but also when the people in the video were also living with you too it definitely helps you make sure those precautions are in order. It was definitely interesting, but I think that people will see it and they’ll still love it and feel like it’s a normal music video.
TSU: So where did the inspiration behind the track come from?
COLE: It’s funny; I think it started when I was sitting here one day with my co writer Eric Malone, he wrote this song with me. He had this idea and we were kind of just going through song titles, it was actually the first time we’ve ever written together which is pretty cool, and he was going through his phone and he had the title Love Made Me. It was just one those things, I mean obviously inspiration comes from anywhere – sometimes you write the music first and then you find the title after – but this is one of the songs where he had the title already. I don’t know, when I heard it I was just like “damn, love made me”; and I feel like anybody can kind of relate to that song title. The moral of the story is just, everyone at one point has fallen in love and it’s kind of one of those songs about the beginning stages of a relationship almost. And usually at the beginning is the honeymoon phase and you’re kind of jumping right in and you’re full of this passion and love. I think for me it was one of those stories about being head over heels for somebody, they consume you or make you feel crazy in the best possible way. Eric had that song title and it kind of just ran from there.
TSU: So when you’re deciding what tracks to put out, or deciding say “I want to release this as a single, or this track is going to be perfect for the EP”; do you have a process of how you make those decisions, or do you just go with the gut feeling of what feels right to release at the right time, or what tracks work well to put on an album or an EP together?
COLE: That’s a good question, I think a little bit of both! Obviously as an artist I feel like we are very picky almost when it comes to to our songs, and we want to release what we want to release. But I mean the artist at the same time isn’t always right, there’s so many people that have different opinions. So for me I like to talk to a bunch of my trusted people in my circle whether it’s you know someone as simple as my parents, or my management team, or some of my music mentors, or my other writers and producers; that kind of thing. If you can get a big collective agreement between a lot of people, like if a lot of people like the same song, then usually that’s a good sign that the song should go on the EP. For this particular EP I think it was a little bit of both. There is a theme that will come with this EP that I’m releasing, including Love Made Me, on there.
Talking about EP’s and future releases, Cole gave us a little hint of what’s to come, and what we can expect from him, musically, on his next releases! So for those anxiously awaiting the follow up to Love Made Me; there is definitely more incredible music on the horizon!
COLE: There are certain tracks that are going to follow the same vibe as Love Made Me, but it’s going to be fun and upbeat, and there’s going to be a few songs too that are going to be a little bit more slow tempo and a little bit deeper. But I think once everyone sees the EP, and the title of the EP, you’ll understand the theme behind it and why each song is there!
TSU: Can we expect any features or collabs on the EP?
COLE: For this one it’s actually going to be just me. But I think in the next year there’s going to be quite a bit of music next year, and I think there might be an EP and there might be something more – I don’t know. But for this one in particular, it’s a very me EP; a very Cole Bradley focused and reflective EP. So there are no collabs on this one, but hopefully something a little later on.
TSU: Are there any artists you’d love to collab with?
COLE: Ohh, I mean everyone has their dream artists and their heroes for sure. I mean for me obviously, like in a dreamworld mine would be Kenny Chesney or Garath Brooke, those guys are superstars. I mean maybe I’m still dreaming or my head in the pillow but, it’s good dream! There’s obviously some good friends in Nashville and so many good upcoming artists too, so I think if it was the right song it would be good to do a little collab with them as well!
And of course, talking about some of our favourite artists, we couldn’t help lament the loss of all the live shows that were scheduled to have happened this year. And this got us talking about all the people we can’t wait to see when concerts and festivals are back up and running!
COLE: I mean the live streams are great, I’ve played a couple of them too, but there’s still nothing like being at an actual show and being there and experiencing the music. I hope that live music comes back soon! I mean it will, I mean I’m a pretty positive guy; I know that that one day it will all come back so we just got to be patient!
TSU: So is there one particular show, festival or person who you are particularly excited to see when live shows come back?
COLE: Oh man, I don’t know! I mean obviously I’m excited to be back personally and to be going and playing shows of my own, and being back on stage and seeing all my buddies back onstage too, down here. I would say Kenny Chesney cause as I’ve mentioned a couple times he’s my hero. He’s doing a big stadium show and I’d love to go see him; but maybe even Ed Sheeran! That’s actually a name I’ve been thinking about, and I watched a couple of Ed Sheeran documentaries lately over quarantine and I’m just mesmerised by his song writing process and what he can do. And I’ve never seen him before live and I’ve heard great things.
TSU: Has there been a particular artist you’ve been listening to a lot lately?
COLE: There’s a guy named Patrick Droney! He’s this cool – I wouldn’t even know how to explain his music – he’s more pop but he’s got a bit of a rock influence, but he’s a great vocalist. I’ve listened to him a bit throughout quarantine. The new Taylor Swift record, I’ve been listening to that as well. Country music terms, I think the Racal Flatts, they released a new little record as well.
Such as pleasure to chat to the lovely Cole Bradley, definitely make sure to give his brand new single Love Made Me a listen; and keep your eyes peeled for a brand new music video for the track, coming soon! To keep up with Cole, and all his latest music news, find him on all his socials – @playitCole – to be the first to know when he’s back with more new music!
An abridged and edited interview with Cole Bradley; Photo Cred @playitCole