Cami Bradley learned how to work at a breakneck pace during her stint on “America’s Got Talent” last year, and her newest project hasn’t allowed her to slow down, either.
It’s been just over a year since the Spokane native placed sixth on the NBC series’ eighth season, and she has since teamed up with Alabama-based singer-songwriter Whitney Dean to form the Sweeplings, a folky duo that will play its first Pacific Northwest concerts at the Bartlett tonight.
“Talent” exposed Bradley to thousands of new fans, and one of them was Dean. He recalls his wife, Bethany, summoning him into the living room one night to see Bradley perform on TV.
“She said, ‘That’s who you need to be writing with,’ ” Dean said, at which point she sent Bradley an email. They were surprised when Bradley personally replied, although it wouldn’t be until her time on “AGT” ended that she agreed to work with Dean.
“I don’t really know why I decided that it would be a good idea to have a stranger come and write music with me,” Bradley said. “He knew what he was doing and that he had credibility, and (I thought) this could be something interesting. Once we got together and started writing together, it – and I’m not trying to sound cheesy or cliché – was a little bit magical.”
Dean first traveled to Spokane in April, and during his three-day stay he and Bradley wrote eight songs. As soon as they started playing together, the connection was instantaneous.
“There was this musical chemistry, and there’s no way we could write these amazing songs in such a short period of time without it being special,” Bradley said.
The Sweeplings recorded their new self-titled EP in various mobile studios near Dean’s home in Huntsville, Alabama, about an hour’s drive from the legendary R&B town Muscle Shoals. The four songs on the EP are hushed and delicate, the warm vocal harmonies often accompanied simply by Bradley’s piano and Dean’s guitar.
Dean calls the last few months “a whirlwind of confusion,” as he and Bradley have been meeting up to work every two or three weeks. They’ve already sold one of their songs for use on an ABC Family program, and the next step is to record a full-length album. That’s astonishing progress in the course of six months.
“It’s all a little bit ridiculous,” Bradley said. “We’re moving at the speed of light right now.”
Immediately following her success on “America’s Got Talent,” Bradley was working with a producer in L.A., but now she’s focusing strictly on the Sweeplings. It’s the project, she says, that she believes will be the most fulfilling in the long run.
“I had some really cool opportunities and some things that I could have jumped on, but they didn’t feel like a fit for me,” Bradley said. “I really wanted to make sure that the decision I made with music wasn’t based on fame or trying to keep the momentum from the show. I wanted to make a life decision that I’d be happy with down the road.”
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