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  • Smooth Jazz Network

Patrick Bradley: Behind the Beats

Updated: May 4, 2022

Each week we'll take you 'Behind the Beats' to learn more about the artists that play on our airwaves. This week: Patrick Bradley.

We predicted “Exhale” as a “Future Hit” for 2021 back in December and now you’ve hit #1 on the charts! How does it feel? Did you expect it?

Hitting #1 on the charts feels absolutely amazing. Easter week was really an incredible week for me. “Exhale” hit #1 on four charts: Billboard, Smooth Jazz Network, Groove Jazz and Radio Wave. I am so thrilled and excited. When the album was completed I felt we really had some very special songs as well as an overall great album. I couldn’t have been happier with how it all turned out. I knew “Exhale” was very special and hoped for a #1 but didn’t expect it. As you can imagine I was incredibly happy to have my first single #1 on the charts.

Your latest album was released during what will be remembered as the year of the Pandemic. Tell us how you have dealt with its challenges.

This was one of the most challenging years in my lifetime. With that in mind I really wanted the album Exhale to provide a musical escape for everyone. The album “Exhale” has a spiritual influence in hopes of encouraging a hopeful, uplifting peaceful vibe. My faith in Christ really is the bedrock of what gets me through life’s ups and downs.

Darren Rahn and Jeff Lorber played a big part in this new album. Tell us about your connection.

For my fifth release I wanted to venture out and try some new things. This was my first time working with producer Darren Rahn. Darren produced 9 of the 11 tracks and Jeff Lorber produced two tracks. Darren came highly recommended by Jeff Lorber and Dave Koz. Darren and I connected immediately on many levels and the creativity just seemed to flow effortlessly. It was a tremendous experience and I am so grateful and honored to work with Darren. Our collaboration was very inspirational and so much fun!

My connection with Jeff spans over the last ten years. Jeff has produced three of my previous records: “Under the Sun”, “Can You Hear Me” and “Intangible”. Working with Jeff has tremendously expanded my musical horizons. I have learned so much from him and we have created some incredible music together. “Intangible” released in 2018 with two top ten hits “Dear Friend” and “Tailwind”. “Can You Hear Me” a song I wrote for my mom featuring Dave Koz recently hit the milestone of 3 Million streams on Spotify.

Tell us about your musical beginnings and how you found your way to 'smooth jazz.’

My musical beginnings are always a headscratcher for me… I began playing at the age of eight. For some reason unknown to me I was drawn to an organ that was in my neighbor’s house. That Christmas my parents bought me a small Magnus Organ with numbered keys and push button chords. I began to teach myself how to play and the rest is history.

My first musical recollections were seeing Beatle posters in my sister’s bedroom. I can still remember seeing Paul McCartney sitting at the piano singing Hey Jude with the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. I remember having an emotional response at 8 years old. I thought it was so nice they were trying to bring the world together.

Beatles, Elton John and Stevie Wonder were all prominent in my upbringing. When I was about 12 is when my musical journey would change. Deep Purple and specifically Jon Lord the keyboardist blew my mind. From the rock world I discovered Progressive Rock, Yes, Genesis, ELP, Kansas, Styx, Boston, all heavily keyboard oriented bands. Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman are my main musical influences. At this point I moved into the Fusion World loving the music of Return to Forever, George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, Jean-Luc Ponty, UK, Allan Holdsworth, Bill Bruford Brand X, Jeff Beck, Spyro Gyro and Jeff Lorber.

Later on in life Smooth Jazz was blowing up and I really dug the melodies, song writing, groove and overall musicianship. Fourplay, Joe Sample, David Sanborn, Richard Elliot, Dave Koz, Rick Braun, Jeff Lorber, Brian Culberson and Spyro Gyro were all part of my initial introduction into the genre.

It was really during the initial Dave Koz cruises that I really began to see a connection with the music I was presently writing and the smooth jazz genre. My first release was in 2007 with Come Rain or Shine. A few years later I met Dave Koz who introduced me to Jeff Lorber and my musical adventure blossomed into a whole new adventure.

Your music has a spirituality about it. Tell us about spirituality in your life.

Yes, most my music if not all of it has spiritual roots so to speak. For those of you who have purchased any of my physical CDs you already know my liner notes often share stories behind the music. Most of them have roots in my Christian faith and life experiences.

My intent with “Exhale” and in fact with any music I write… I really want to give God the glory and be faithful with the talent and gifts He has given. My desire is always to bring a sense of hope, peace and curiosity into the eternal perspectives found in scripture.

Any favorite TV binges during the past year?

Yellowstone has definitely been one of the shows I have been watching.

What advice would you give new artists who would like to pursue a career in music.

Keep pressing on and stay open to learning. Don’t quit and give up. My musical dream took a long break from 1985-2007 while I focused on raising our family and building a business career. All the while I was still writing, practicing and trying to master my musical craft. There will be plenty of ups and downs but just press through and be true to who you are as an artist.

Plans for the remainder of 2021 and beyond?

As things begin to open up I hope to have the opportunity to support my new record with some live shows. I will be playing Spaghettini in Seal Beach, May 22. I really want to get out and play live and share my new music with the world. I’d love to get out and play in some of the jazz festivals around the country.

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