by Bri Kilroy
New Yorker and contemporary jazz artist, Cindy Bradley, is the headliner of this year’s GRandJazzFest. Her charismatic presence and entertaining performance (Saturday, August 20 at 8 p.m.) will have listeners searching iTunes, Amazon and CindyBradley.com for her music. Get to know the GRandJazzFest’s first woman headliner in the Q&A below.
WLM: How do you feel about being this year’s headliner for GRandJazzFest?
Bradley: I’m truly honored. The fact that I’m the first female to be in this position is absolutely awesome.
What draws you to the trumpet?
It was a random choice in that my 4th grade music teacher had me quickly circle the instrument I would play at school because I forgot to fill out the permission slip. I definitely gravitated toward something loud and shiny over something soft and delicate.
How many trumpets do you have?
I have quite a few trumpets that have different things about them that make them special. Two are pink, one has a quote around the bell, and another has symbols engraved in it that are special to me.
What kind of setting does your music transport listeners to?
I think it ignites more emotions than settings. I tend to write music based on what I’m feeling or going through in my life at the time. I’m sure one leads to another as the music plays.
How do you feel when you play alone versus playing in front of an audience?
When I play alone, I’m usually working on something—it’s relaxed and focused. When in front of an audience, there’s so much more energy and it creates more of a feeling of excitement for me.
If you weren’t playing music, what would you be doing?
I enjoy being outdoors, kayaking, being near the lake and hiking. I’m also a huge animal lover and enjoy volunteering my time to help those sorts of causes like working at a farm sanctuary, animal shelters and rescues.
Which performers are you looking forward to seeing at GRandJazzFest?
The entire lineup looks great! I sometimes do shows with Chris Standring and love his playing. Tim Bowman is another artist I love to listen to and would like to see. Note: Tim Bowman (smooth jazz, gospel) performs Saturday, August 20 at 6:30 p.m. Chris Standring (jazz guitar) performs as the second headliner Sunday, August 21 at 7 p.m.
Is there anything about Grand Rapids you’re looking forward to?
I’ve never been to Grand Rapids before. I would love to visit the beaches on Lake Michigan, or see some of the nightlife and museums.
Learn more about GRandJazzFest by indulging our spotlight article, Go Mad for Jazz.
Bri Kilroy is a Grand Valley and AmeriCorps alumna who learned to type through vigorous Mavis Beacon trainings. She also passes as an artist, illustrator and author of this bio.