Staying true to the stories
Jazzy sound and emotional songs characterize Bradley’s new album
Cami Bradley doesn’t write songs so much as stories.
And while the stories are not her own, they are true.
On her sophomore self-release, “SEAS,” Bradley collects a series of nonfiction vignettes from the lives of the people around her and offers her observations of the events that unfold.
“Almost every song I write is a personal story about someone in my life, a family member or a friend, so they are very dear to me. A lot of people listen to my music and think, ‘Oh she must be super-sad or depressed,’ and that’s not true,” Bradley said. “I write emotional music because I’m an emotional person, and that’s a picture of what I see other people feeling.”
Some of those song-stories remain private; others are shared with the people she writes about, Bradley said.
“I try to write them in a way that respects their story,” Bradley said. “My brother is a really great example of that. He lives a tough life, and his journey is one that I follow closely because he is dear to me. His struggles have become my struggles because he is my brother and I love him. The song ‘What I’ve Done’ is about him and one of his struggles. I don’t want to be specific, but the song is specific.”
A singer and pianist, Bradley writes her songs from a perspective of folk, indie-pop and jazz, drawing on influences both contemporary and classic, from Adele to Aretha Franklin.
“The jazz part comes in from the vocals because I absolutely love jazz music, especially old-school jazz. What they do vocally inspired me to put some of that into folk songs, although it doesn’t always seem to naturally fit, I like to throw it in and give it that flavor,” Bradley said.
She chose “SEAS” as the her second album’s title because it reflects a vast spectrum of music she is trying to capture, as well as the recurring water elemental themes that surface throughout the record.
Although the songs on “SEAS” show how she sees others, Bradley said this album is more true to herself, something she admits to falling short of on her first release.
“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 afterword. I hadn’t figured out who I was as an artist yet,” Bradley said. “This one is me all the way.”