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August 2nd, 2007

EVERETT BRADLEY: THE BIGGEST STAR YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF

by Mr. Norman Maine

It’s a really perfect morning in New York City. I’m sitting outside at a small table with too many things on it, a too attentive waitress, and with me is the biggest star you’ve yet to hear of, Everett Bradley. To say this man is talented is like saying Hillary Clinton is mildly ambitious. Everett’s career encompasses the showbiz gamut, from rock, pop, and soul to Broadway and concert halls, singing jingles and doing voice-overs. He has been on most every TV show taped in New York and LA, early morning to late night. He has toured with Carly Simon, Hall and Oates, Bobby McFerrin, and counts Bon Jovi, Patti Austin, and a host of other better-known performers as close friends.Mr. Bradley also devotes much of his time to charity, The Our Time Theatre Company, an organization that benefits young people who stutter; Everett Bradley does not stutter, he’s just that generous and kind. So who is this un-well known, giant talent, where did he come from and where is he going? We were able to pin him down for a few moments during one of his usually hectic days to ask him.

SoHo Journal: A little background please, Everett. How long have you been living in New York City?

Everett Bradley: I moved to New York in the fall of 1989, so about 18 years.

SJ: Your goal was to become a performer, or was there something else that brought you here?

EB: It was. I was touring with this artist, John Eddie.When he got signed, he was supposed to be the new, young Springsteen. He was a part of the whole Tommy Matolla craziness with CBS, and there was a lot of hype about him. Anyway, he was making his record at John “Cougar” Mellencamp’s studio in Indiana. He was recording with Shawn Pelton, who is now the house drummer on Saturday Night Live. John asked Shawn if he knew of any black guys who could sing and play percussion on the tour. Shawn told him “look no further, I’ve got the perfect guy.” I was living in LA at the time. They called, and I moved to NYC to work with them.We toured with The Kinks, and we were the opening act on The Bangles’ last tour. That’s what got me to New York.

SJ: What was the next step; how did you break off on your own?

EB: After about two years, I started booking shows at CBGB’s. I put a band together and started playing out.

SJ: What type of music were you doing then?

EB: It was sort of Prince-ish pop–funk, it was a little wacky. I was totally celebrating New York, and my freedom, and everything else that comes with that!

SJ: When did you first start to get noticed by the industry?

EB: Well, I got a lot of exposure touring with John. And playing the clubs in New York, you know, every once in a while stars would breeze by and see me perform, or other musicians that I’d worked with that were doing tours would give referrals. Chaka Kahn came to see me a couple of times at CB’s and then called me to do some session stuff and it all sort of snowballed from there.

SJ: And your Bon Jovi connection?

EB: Almost the same way the John Eddie thing happened. Bon Jovi had hired Shawn [Pelton] to drum on his solo album Destination Anywhere. Jon was looking for a percussionist who sang as well, and there I was…again!

SJ: Ok, you’re a huge talent, you’ve been on TV, numerous one-man shows, you’ve toured around the world, sung on multi-platinum albums, you even had a chart topping hit in Europe with the your dance classic, “I Luv U Baby.” How is it you are not a big star?

EB: Well, I also do theater too, which is even more confusing for everyone. I did SWING on Broadway, which I starred in and cowrote. I was in STOMP II for a while and then I really started to do more theater. So I have a foot in each world, which is bizarre, and often I don’t think people know what to do with me. I have this sort of rock and roll edge, and at the same time there’s like the theatrical thing going on as well, so I don’t get the big gigs because they don’t know how to define me. Unless someone really embraces my thing and wants me to bring that to their art, I’ll do my own thing, create my own events.

SJ: Well, your shows are just amazing. HOLIDELIC, your sold out Christmas show which ran almost a week at The Cutting Room, was brilliant, and a huge undertaking. What goes into something like that?

EB: I start planning the Holiday shows in the summer. Contacting the guest performers, scheduling around everyone, and then the actual staging takes about a full month, including rehearsals and getting my costume(s) together, especially when you have to do things like weave Christmas lights into a white afro wig.

SJ: Yeah, that wig was quite something! Everett, there is never a shortage of celebrity guests performing with you at your bigger, event shows. Most people would be lucky to have one or two people help them out but it seems like you had about 20 special guests– how does that happen?

EB: It’s interesting isn’t it? You know, these people want to have a good time, and they know I’m all about that. I love to celebrate people, and who they are, and I must admit, I think that’s a big attraction, why they want to come and hang out with me.

SJ: As much as you are about having a good time, and having fun, you do a lot of really good and noble work, like being the Musical Director for the Our Time Theatre Company. This is an organization that benefits children and young adults who stutter. How did that come about?

EB: Taro Alexander, the Artistic Director and I met when we were in STOMP ll together. One night over Indian food, he told me he wanted to start this theater company. He announced to me that he was a stutterer; I didn’t even know. He told me how he overcame his fear of talking to people (a common fear shared by most or all who stutter) through theater. He said he wanted to give this same gift to kids and asked me if I was interested in being the musical director. Taro is just this force of love and energy, and it was a no-brainer to say yes to him.

SJ: The organization has continued to grow. This year’s benefit was again a star-studded event. Was that all your doing?

EB: No, no, both of us, especially Taro using his connections and resources. He finds these artists who stuttered, and their friends and connections and the people who love them all help out. It’s a sort of six degrees of separation thing. It’s just great.

SJ: You mentioned at the benefit that you and Taro are working on a CD. When will that be available?

EB: Yes, we’ve been writing songs with the kids. They sing their words, lyrics to me, and I underscore them, basically.What we’re doing now is securing big artists to sing the kids’ song for a benefit CD. It should be available spring 2008. You can always check the website www.ourtimetheatre.org for the exact release date, or to make a much needed donation.

SJ: You also have your own CDs for sale, where can they be purchased?

EB: www.everettbradley.com

SJ: What’s next?

EB: EVOLUTION, my one-man show. Truly a one-man show, and an evolution in technology as well. I’m using new software that allows me to multi-track myself on the spot. I’m creating tracks, and walls of sound that become a backdrop for songs, or poetry, dance or stories. I’ll be performing this all summer, and into the fall at The Cutting Room and other venues around the city. Check my site www.everettvradley.com or www.myspace.com/everettbradley for the dates, please!

SJ: Very good…Everett Bradley, Thank You.

EB: THANK YOU!

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