Cami Bradley

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Cami Bradley
Cami Bradley crop.jpg
Cami Bradley in 2016
Background information
Birth nameCarmen Jane Miller
Born (1988-05-26) May 26, 1988 (age 30)
Spokane, Washington
Genres
Instruments
Years active2013 (2013)–present
Labels
Websitethesweeplings.com
camibradleyphotography.com

Carmen Jane "Cami" Bradley[1] (born May 26, 1988)[2] is an American singer-songwriter and keyboardist from Spokane, Washington. She won a local singing competition in 2006, then self-released two solo projects in 2009 and a third in 2013. Bradley gained fame later in 2013 as a contestant on season eight of America's Got Talent, during which she advanced to the finals by performing her arrangements of popular songs including "Believe". Bradley finished the season in sixth place.

Afterward, Bradley was contacted by the wife of an Alabama singer-songwriter with a proposal to form a musical duo. Bradley declined at first, but Whitney Dean's wife persisted and, following months of online collaboration, Bradley and her husband invited the Deans to their home in April 2014 for a weekend meeting that produced eight songs. As the Sweeplings, Cami Bradley and Whitney Dean self-released the full-length album Rise & Fall (2015); songs including "Carry Me Home" have since been used in television series and promotional videos.

The duo joined Nettwerk in 2017 for their third EP, Sleepwalking, and released a deluxe version of Rise & Fall on their new label. A second full-length album was scheduled for late 2018.

Background[edit]

Carmen Jane Miller was born in Spokane, Washington,[3][4] into a musical family. Her father, Paul Miller,[5] was the worship leader at the family's church; he was practicing vocal scales in the car while on the way to perform services when four-year-old Cami started singing along. Her mother, Amy Miller, said that was when they knew she had both singing talent and an ear for music.[6]

Cami Miller began learning the piano by age seven,[7] and started writing songs at ten, though she later called those efforts terrible.[8] Her early style was influenced by a wide range of music, including artists Christina Aguilera and Natalie Cole, and soundtracks to Disney films.[9] Miller began performing her songs during her teen years;[6] the week before she turned 18, she won a car by finishing the Spring 2006 season of the local Gimme the MIKE competition in first place.[10] When it was suggested that she should try out for national, televised singing competitions like The Voice, she declined because she didn't find the idea to be appealing.[6]

Eric and Cami Bradley were married three months later, on August 25, 2006.[11]

Career[edit]

2009: Anomalous and Unhinged[edit]

Cami Bradley's first effort was the full-length album Anomalous, released in April 2009 and featuring 12 songs.[12] Bradley later said she was happy with the album, but it didn't really represent her because she was still trying to find her artistic voice.[13] In June 2009, she released the four-song EP Unhinged, including a medley of the traditional hymns "Amazing Grace" and "'Tis So Sweet".[14]

2013: Seas and America's Got Talent[edit]

Bradley self-released her sophomore album Seas in May 2013,[15] featuring her husband Eric on drums.[16] A Kickstarter campaign in April to fund the album's release concert raised nearly $4,000.[17] Seas comprises seven songs including "This Ocean", a duet with younger brother Ryan Miller,[18][a] one-half of the indie duo the Rustics.[19] For this album, Bradley said she wrote emotional stories based on the experiences of people close to her, to create "a picture of what I see other people feeling."[13]

Early in 2013, Bradley got a telephone call from a scout with America's Got Talent suggesting that she send a video. The show's producers then sent her to Chicago to audition for the variety show.[b] Her performance, an a cappella version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", prompted the judges to put her through to the Las Vegas round, where she advanced to the live shows.[6]

At the quarterfinals, Bradley accompanied herself on piano in a stripped-down performance of "Believe", earning praise from the judges. Mel B lauded the brave arrangement and suggested that Cher might consider a similar approach. Howard Stern agreed,[20] and said it was like hearing the lyrics and their meaning for the first time.[21] Howie Mandel said Bradley had a haunting style and a "star quality ... that could possibly take her all the way."[22] The performance propelled Bradley into the national spotlight.[23]

Bradley continued into the finals of the competition with rearranged versions of pop songs including "Can't Help Falling in Love" and "Livin' on a Prayer".[6] Her sixth-place finish left her happy and newly confident,[24] having been given the opportunity to "get out of my comfort zone."[25]

After America's Got Talent wrapped, Bradley joined her fellow finalists on a two-month tour.[24] She appeared on FORTE's debut album as the featured guest on "The Prayer",[26] and performed the song live with FORTE at Carnegie Hall.[27]

2014–present: The Sweeplings[edit]

The Sweeplings
The Sweeplings (l–r): Whitney Dean and Cami Bradley

Singer-songwriter Whitney Dean was working on his music while at home in Huntsville, Alabama, when his wife suggested that they watch a Bradley performance on America's Got Talent. Afterward, Bethany Dean said her husband and Bradley should write music together.[c] Bradley declined on first contact, but Bethany Dean persisted; the two musicians began collaborating via Skype a few months later.[29] In April 2014,[28] the Deans were invited by the Bradleys to visit their home in Spokane, Washington, and the meeting was both pleasant and productive.[30] Within their first weekend, Cami Bradley and Whitney Dean had co-written eight songs.[28]

A self-titled, four-song EP was released in September 2014,[31] but the new duo did little promotion at first, because Bradley did not want her fans to be confused if the pairing did not work out. Instead, she released videos of cover songs as a solo artist so people would not forget about her. Bradley also wanted to make clear that she and Dean were not to be considered a romantic couple.[28][d]

In August 2015, the Sweeplings released their debut album, Rise & Fall, on their own label.[e] NPR had premiered the song "Carry Me Home" the month before,[33] and iTunes later placed the song on its list of the 25 best singer-songwriter tracks of 2015.[29]

In February 2016, Billboard premiered the video for "Under Your Spell", a song about the struggle with life's choices.[34] Albums to follow included Covers, Ch. 1; the EP Winter's Call;[35] a Christmas album, Merrier Days;[36] a deluxe version of Rise & Fall;[37] and the EP Sleepwalking. A second full-length album was scheduled for release in Fall 2018.[38]

Critical reception[edit]

People magazine praised Bradley during her appearances on America's Got Talent. "There’s something about this 25-year-old’s voice that pulls you in as she takes on classic songs and makes them her own."[39] Of "Believe", entertainment editor Avery Thompson wrote, "with just a piano and her incredible voice, Cami stole the show and perhaps the competition."[40]

A readers' poll conducted annually by Inlander named Bradley the Best Singer/Songwriter of 2015 and 2016. She placed second in the same poll in both 2017 and 2018.[41]

AllMusic wrote that Bradley's and Dean's songs reveal "a penchant for haunting, tender harmonies and a roots-inspired sound that bears similarities to The Civil Wars."[42][f] PopDust rated Rise & Fall No. 15 on its list of best albums of 2015,[43] on which "Dean and Bradley float across vast landscapes of dusty tones and shadowy figures."[7] The Birmingham News called it "an uncommonly focused, polished and big-stage-ready debut from an independent band".[29] Elmore Magazine said the album's songs tend to "blend together because of similar sounds, but the chemistry is concise and makes the album whole, not all over the place like many debuts seem to be."[44]

In its review of Sleepwalking, Atwood Magazine wrote, "Cami Bradley’s breathtaking voice leads with pain and passion, charged with a poignant edge that is as biting as it is bitten."[45]

Personal life[edit]

Eric and Cami Bradley live in Spokane, Washington, and work at her father's church there.[28] They bought a small second home in Huntsville, Alabama, to facilitate Cami's career with the Sweeplings; their home search was featured on a 2016 episode of Tiny House Hunting.[46]

Outside her music, Cami Bradley is a professional photographer,[34] as are Whitney and Bethany Dean. All three chronicled Nikki Reed's wedding to Ian Somerhalder.[47]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

As a solo artist
  • Anomalous (2009)
  • Unhinged (EP, 2009)
  • Seas (2013)
With the Sweeplings
  • The Sweeplings (EP, 2014)
  • Rise & Fall (2015)
  • Covers, Ch. 1 (2016)
  • Winter's Call (EP, 2016)
  • Rise & Fall (Deluxe Edition) (2017)
  • Merrier Days (EP, 2017)
  • Sleepwalking (EP, 2017)

Singles[edit]

As a solo artist
  • "Come Around" (2013)
With the Sweeplings
  • "Snow May Be Falling" (2014)
  • "Cannonball" (2015)
  • "Carry Me Home" (2015)
  • "In Too Deep" (2016)
  • "Hold Tight" (2016)
  • "What We Once Were" (2016)
  • "Fool" (2017)
  • "Losing You" (2017)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ For a 2008 appearance in Spokane with Ryan Miller, she was billed as "Cami Miller Bradley".[3]
  2. ^ Bradley later called this "a blessing ... I may have been really intimidated, if I had walked into a room of singers."[6]
  3. ^ "[Whitney Dean:] I told [my wife], 'Good luck with that.' I told her she could reach out to Cami if she wanted, but it wasn't going to be me."[28]
  4. ^ "Although they are a duo, their spouses help them write, travel, dream & create with the same goals in mind", reads their official website, which calls the Sweeplings "a four-person team".[32]
  5. ^ "Sweeplings" means a small grouping that writes sweeping melodies. Bethany Dean came up with the name, originally as a project title. "I realize as I look back now, that I never really had a say, and I never really cared," Bradley said. "Names are so funny, because they don’t really matter."[4]
  6. ^ Dean toured for two years with John Paul White prior to White's stint with The Civil Wars, which broke up in August 2014 as the Sweeplings were getting started.[28] Bradley was a fan of the band, whose departure left a "giant hole to fill".[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "CamiBradley Photography (Carmen Jane Bradley) Credit report". InterCreditReport. Washington. May 9, 2012. Archived from the original on September 7, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  2. ^ Bradley, Cami [@camibradley] (May 25, 2014). "What do I want for my birthday tomorrow?" (Tweet). Retrieved September 5, 2016 – via Twitter.
       Bradley, Cami [@camibradley] (May 26, 2014). "Your golden birthday only comes one time in your life" (Tweet). Retrieved September 5, 2016 – via Twitter.
  3. ^ a b Moore, Emily (October 10, 2008). "Venues". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Bialas, Michael (August 3, 2017). "See It Here First: The Sweeplings Develop a Fool-Proof Method to Woo You". HuffPost. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  5. ^ Staff (September 18, 2013). "Bradley makes final round on America's Got Talent" (PDF). Buffalo Center Tribune. Buffalo Center, Iowa. p. 3. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Weinbender, Nathan (December 22, 2013). "After incredible run on America's Got Talent, Spokane singer eager to see what exposure may bring". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Scott, Jason (December 5, 2015). "The Sweeplings Piece Together Music's Healing Power On Rise & Fall". PopDust. New York City, New York. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  8. ^ Weinbender. "[Bradley:] I have notebooks of old songs that are just terrible, but you have to start somewhere. I can definitely see the phases of life that I was in. When you’re really young, you write about things that you see, and when you get older, you write about things that you feel. So I can see the progression of who I was as a person."
  9. ^ Cornell, Kevin (June 13, 2016). "Interview: The Sweeplings and the Art of Songwriter Collaboration". TuneCore. Brooklyn, New York. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  10. ^ Staff (May 22, 2006). "Cami Miller wins 2006 Gimme the MIKE". Airway Heights, Washington: KHQ-TV. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
       Cotton, Dave [@KHQDaveCotton] (July 3, 2013). "Cool seeing Spokane's very own Cami Bradley—a former KHQ 'Gimme the Mike' winner ..." (Tweet). Retrieved April 9, 2018 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ Bradley, Cami [@camibradley] (August 25, 2015). "9 years ago today I married this handsome fella" (Tweet). Retrieved September 5, 2016 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ "Cami Bradley – Anomalous". Amazon.com. April 14, 2009. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Jordan, Isamu (May 10, 2013). "Staying true to the stories". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Retrieved September 7, 2016. [Bradley:] To be honest, on the first one I was really young and the end product was great but it wasn’t really me. I didn’t know that until afterward. I hadn’t figured out who I was as an artist yet. This one is me all the way.
  14. ^ "Unhinged – Cami Bradley". AllMusic. June 11, 2009. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
  15. ^ "Seas – Cami Bradley". AllMusic. May 10, 2013. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  16. ^ Staff (September 17, 2013). "Cami Bradley Giving It Her All on America's Got Talent". Christian Youth Theater. Spokane, Washington. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  17. ^ Bradley, Cami Jane (April 1, 2013). "Cami Bradley SEAS album release concert". Kickstarter. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  18. ^ "'This Ocean' – Cami Bradley". Amazon.com. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  19. ^ Lamberson, Carolyn (January 17, 2014). "Rustics' harmonies grounded in folk". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  20. ^ "Live from Radio City Music Hall". America's Got Talent. Season 8, Episode 16. 2013. Event occurs at 50:58. NBC. [Mel B:] Cami—well, that was very bloody brave. But, you know, I have to say, I think you've given Cher an idea on how to actually sing that song." "[Stern:] Right!
  21. ^ "Live from Radio City Music Hall". America's Got Talent. Season 8, Episode 16. 2013. Event occurs at 49:57–50:07. NBC. [Stern:] I've listened to that song a million times, like everybody else has. You took it, and for the first time I heard the words, and the words meant something to me.
  22. ^ Mandel, Howie. "Which singing act does Howie Mandel think could win America's Got Talent?". Parade. New York City, New York. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  23. ^ Hughes, Jason (August 14, 2013). "America's Got Talent: Cami Bradley Stuns With Softer Take On Cher's 'Believe'". HuffPost. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
       Mandel, Howie (August 15, 2013). "Who Made Howie Mandel 'Giggle' on America's Got Talent?". Parade. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  24. ^ a b Hensley, Nicole (September 19, 2013). "Spokane's Cami Bradley misses top prize, gains 'newfound confidence'". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  25. ^ Johnson, Laura (September 24, 2013). "Falling In Love". The Inlander. Spokane, Washington. Retrieved September 10, 2016. [Bradley:] I had never wanted to do a show like this; I’d never been a fame seeker,” she says. “But I thought this was a good way to get out of my comfort zone. Anytime this show airs, it has 9.6 million viewers; the exposure this show gives you is huge.
  26. ^ Jacobsen, Kevin (October 2, 2013). "America's Got Talent 2013 Finalist Forte Signs Record Deal with Simon Cowell Company; Releases First Single". EnStars. New York City, New York. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  27. ^ Simunovic, Rosanne (November 18, 2013). "Operatic Trio Forte Takes Carnegie Hall By Vocal Storm". MasterClassLady.com. Timmins, Ontario, Canada. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  28. ^ a b c d e f Johnson, Laura (October 15, 2014). "Crossing Lines". The Inlander. Spokane, Washington. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  29. ^ a b c Wake, Matt (August 4, 2015). "The Sweeplings: Pretty songs, pretty people, pretty sure to blow up with release of new album". Advance Local Media. Retrieved April 10, 2018 – via AL.com.
  30. ^ Janci, Jenelle (September 10, 2015). "America's Got Talent appearance responsible for music duo The Sweeplings". Lancaster Online. Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Retrieved September 5, 2016. [Bradley:] It was a little scary for me ... we basically invited a stranger to our home for three days." "[Dean:] It should be awkward the first time around, but I felt really at home with the [Bradleys].
  31. ^ "The Sweeplings – The Sweeplings". AllMusic. September 8, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  32. ^ Sweeplings, the. "About Us—The Sweeplings". thesweeplings.com. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  33. ^ Presley, Katie (July 8, 2015). "Song Premiere: The Sweeplings, 'Carry Me Home'". NPR. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  34. ^ a b Titus, Christa (February 8, 2016). "The Sweeplings Premiere 'Under Your Spell' Video: Exclusive". Billboard. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  35. ^ "Winter's Call – The Sweeplings". AllMusic. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  36. ^ "Merrier Days – The Sweeplings". AllMusic. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  37. ^ Podplesky, Azaria (June 15, 2017). "The Sweeplings to tease new album during Kroc Center performance". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  38. ^ Miller, Mark (February 15, 2018). "The Sweeplings". Brave Enough Artist Agency. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  39. ^ Blumm, K. C. (September 18, 2013). "America's Got Talent: Who Should Win?". People. New York City, New York. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  40. ^ Thompson, Avery (August 14, 2013). "America's Got Talent Recap: Cami Bradley Takes A Risk With 'Believe'". Hollywood Life. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  41. ^ Johnson, Laura (March 18, 2015). "Arts | Best of the Inland Northwest Reader's Poll | 2015". Inlander. Spokane, Washington. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
       Johnson, Laura (March 24, 2016). "Best of the Arts | Best of the Inland Northwest Readers Poll 2016". Inlander. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
       Weinbender, Nathan (March 23, 2017). "Best Of 2017 | Music". Inlander. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
       Byrd, Jordy (March 22, 2018). "Best of 2018 | Music". Inlander. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  42. ^ Monger, Timothy. "The Sweeplings – Biography by Timothy Monger". AllMusic. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  43. ^ Scott, Jason (December 18, 2015). "Here Are The 22 Best Albums of 2015". PopDust. New York City, New York. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  44. ^ Hillegas, Brenda (November 11, 2015). "Album Reviews: The Sweeplings Rise & Fall". Elmore Magazine. New York City, New York. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  45. ^ Mosk, Mitch (August 24, 2017). "EP Premiere: The Haunting Allure of the Sweeplings' Sleepwalking". Atwood Magazine. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  46. ^ Johnson, Laura (February 10, 2016). "Cami Bradley's the Sweeplings continue to impress on the national scene". The Indlander. Spokane, Washington. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  47. ^ "Ian Somerhalder & Nikki Reed // WEDDING". Cami Bradley Photography. September 1, 2015. Retrieved February 15, 2017 – via Facebook.
       "Doing some light reading on my way to #NYC ..." Glass Jar Photography. September 8, 2015. Retrieved May 26, 2018 – via Facebook.

External links[edit]