Posted On 17 Mar 2016
Tag: 9-5, Alex Munson, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, allaccessmusicnicole, Artist Interview, Bay Area, Beatles, Costa Mesa, David Elecciri, Dolly Parton, Gabriel McNair, Gwen Stefani, Hollywood, Interview, iTunes, L.A., Lakeside, Los Angeles, Mondrian, Mondrian Hotel, music interview, Musician, No Doubt, Pacific Ampitheater, Queen, Rappers Delight, Reggae, Rogers & Cowan, San Francisco, Skybar, Skybar Mondrian, Solarium, Soundcloud, Southern California, Spotify, Steel Pulse, Stevie Wonder, Sugarhill Gang, Sunset Strip, The Beatles, Tony Kanal, trumpet player, Valley of the Kings, Working 9-5, Ziggy Marley
20-year NO DOUBT veteran and trumpet icon STEPHEN BRADLEY has been taking the Mondrian Los Angeles and Skybar by storm with his four-month residency during Solarium at Skybar at Mondrian Los Angeles, the iconic sunset strip boutique hotel known for its breathtaking cityscape views and its lush backyard environment, snuggled in the clouds of the Hollywood hills. Solarium at Skybar invites Angelenos and celebs to escape from the elements and wander into the lush oasis insulated from outdoor elements, weaving a wonderland of garden parties, tea dances and sophisticated libations for the perfect El Nino escape.
STEPHEN BRADLEY of NO DOUBT has been creating an atmosphere where fans and listeners can lose themselves in a sublime musical journey. During each set, Bradley plays over a series of beats and modern songs, adding his own unique personal flavor to mainstream hits and popular classics.
For 20 years, multi-instrumentalist Stephen has recorded and performed with the legendary Southern California band NO DOUBT. Throughout the years he was exposed to many different musical styles ranging from jazz and classical to contemporary and reggae. Always fascinated by the possibility of merging musical palates, he dreamed up the idea of combining the traditional timbre of the trumpet with modern electronica and jazz creating what Bradley describes as a “modern, sophisticated, jazzy chic sound.”
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa had a chance to catch up with the talented musician between shows. Enjoy Nicole’s chat with Stephen below!
Hey there Stephen! Where does our interview find you and what’s on your agenda today besides our interview?
Hey there Nicole! I’m actually trying to get my life organized…at some point I also need to practice today!
For those that are not as familiar with you as a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and trumpet icon, who or what was the catalyst for you to want to live the life of a musical gypsy?
Haha…musical gypsy! I like that! I guess I cut my gypsy teeth when I started touring with No Doubt so many years ago. I was 23 then and I suppose those formative years made an impact on my life. I knew then that music and that lifestyle was meant for me.
For 20 years, you recorded and performed with the legendary Southern California band, No Doubt. How did that all come about?How was that experience collaborating with the band?
It’s actually a funny story. I got a phone call from a friend of mine who was good friends with Tony Kanal (bass player of No Doubt) and he told me they were looking for a trumpet player to sub for a gig in San Francisco.
At the time, I was living in the Bay Area (where I’m from) and I was meant to play one show because their trumpet player couldn’t make that gig and was quitting. I somehow didn’t get the music in time and had to transcribe it myself. I later learned that the music they sent ended up at the neighbors house! Ha!
So, the day of the show, I was rehearsing with the trombone player (Gabriel McNair) at the hotel up until the time we hit the stage to perform. I actually had a music stand on stage!
“After the show, they asked me if I wanted to go on the road with them and the rest is history!”
Throughout the years, you have been exposed to many different musical styles ranging from jazz and classical to contemporary and reggae. Who have been your biggest influences over the years?
That’s a tough one! When I was younger, I definitely went through a huge Beatles faze. I also went deep in Stevie Wonder too. Listening to the radio in the 80’s was also a treat because there were so many great bands making great songs.
I understand you are in the middle of a 4 month residency at Solarium at Skybar Mondrian in Los Angeles. How has that been going?
It’s been going great! The feedback had been really amazing and the atmosphere couldn’t be more ideal. I love talking to people and hearing how they respond to the music. So many people always comment on how ‘cool’ and ‘different’ it is.
“Sometimes in LA it can be a bad thing to be different, but I prefer to do something that I can put my own fingerprint on. People seem to enjoy it so I must be doing something right!”
During each set, you mix mainstream hits and popular classics. How do you curate your set? Does it change nightly depending on your mood?
I usually decide what I’m going to play on the night.We have a big group of songs to choose from and I definitely play it by ear.
Nowadays, everything is so instant…you press a button and it’s yours ala Spotify, Soundcloud, iTunes etc. What was the first album you saved up your hard earned money as a kid and bought for yourself?
Haha! I remember buying a bunch of albums for a penny from an offer in a magazine. In those a days, there were record clubs where they would offer 10 albums for a penny. Of course, signing up meant you were obligated to continue buying more, but I didn’t read the fine print.
I specifically remember putting a penny in an envelop and sending it off. I had to get my mom to write them a letter to get out of the contract. In that batch I remember getting a Lakeside album, 9-5 buy Dolly Parton and a live Queen album.
What was the first song you fell in love with (or made a lasting impact) on you and why?
“Hmmm…that’s a tough one. I would say probably “Rappers Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang. We had a babysitter buy us that when it came out and were addicted to it! It was so different than anything we heard and it was so fun!”
Who is in your current playlist? What artists or bands are in current rotation for you?
I actually don’t have a playlist like that. I just listen to whatever mood I want to be in.
What’s on tap next for you Stephen? What are you most excited about for this year?
Well, I have a reggae album that I have been working on for the past year with my friend David Elecciri who has been writing, performing and producing with Steel Pulse.The name of the band is Valley of the Kings and the music is dope!!!
We are opening up for Steel Pulse and Ziggy Marley at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa on August 14th. Come on out!
Stay connected with STEPHEN BRADLEY by visiting his socials below!
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Soundcloud / Instagram