|Who is it?||Actor|
|Birth Place||Orange County, California, United States|
|Age||55 YEARS OLD|
|Origin||Willmar, Minnesota, United States|
|Genres||Contemporary instrumental Soft adult contemporary Smooth jazz Classical music New age|
|Occupation(s)||Composer arranger record producer musician|
|Instruments||Piano keyboards saxophone trombone guitar|
|Labels||Robbins Island Music Narada/Virgin|
|Associated acts||Dugan McNeill Yanni Sheena Easton|
Bradley Joseph was born in Bird Island, Minnesota and raised in Willmar, Minnesota, graduating from Willmar Senior High School in 1983. He learned how to play piano from a how-to piano book he found in the piano bench. One morning his father taught him how to play a boogie-woogie blues tune and by nightfall he could play the entire piece. He started playing classical piano at age eight, taking lessons for a year and a half but was self-taught thereafter. While in junior high, he took a concert field trip where he saw Buddy Rich perform. He recalls, "I sat in the first row and when Buddy's sax player stood up to take his first solo something just clicked — the world closed in around me. I felt the power of music and knew that it was something special, a gift to be shared." Joseph played piano for the jazz band and choir in high school, and trombone through high school and college. When he picked up the horn, he got a whole new perspective on music, gaining insight into all the different timbres available, which was invaluable to him when he started working with orchestras. The first band he was in was a wedding dance band which allowed him to gain experience in every different style of music from polkas to rock and roll to jazz classics. After attending Moorhead State University as a music major, he led some of his own bands around the area that toured Midwest nightclubs. He played sax and guitar in some of these earlier bands but left them to concentrate on just the piano/keyboards. Later, he started performing with Guitarist Dugan McNeill, whose U2-like group was signed to Polygram. McNeill and Yanni had once played together in the technopop band Chameleon in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
In 1989, Joseph recorded his first demo tape and sent it off to Greek Composer Yanni, who was looking for someone to replace keyboardist John Tesh, as Tesh was launching his own solo career. When Yanni heard Joseph's compositions and arrangements, he was hired over the phone to join his core band, without ever meeting.
Joseph's musical style and direction have varied over time, having released more than two hundred original compositions and arrangements since 1994. "When I write it, it just kind of moves, because where I am in life is different", Joseph said. "So as I get older, it kind of changes."
In a 1995 interview, he said that after five years of touring with Yanni and working on his own debut album, he needed a break. Yanni was still building his career and maintained a hectic concert schedule. Working with Easton, on the other hand, was "the best of both worlds". "She just adopted a baby and is pretty settled in", said Joseph. Tour venues with her included Japan, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, and the United States, as well as routine appearances in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. In March 1995, he appeared with her on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno when she performed her new single at the time, "My Cherie".
Joseph's style attracted the attention of Narada Productions, a Virgin Records subsidiary, via the World Wide Web. A representative for Narada came across his website and downloaded some music. This sparked their interest and resulted in signing Joseph to a multi-record deal, according to Peter Spellman of the Berklee College of Music. The outcome was Rapture, containing intimate piano pieces, quartets, and full orchestral works. It reached ZMR's "Airwaves Top 30" at No. 15 in July 1997. This album was recorded at a number of different studios including Captain and Tennille's studio in Los Angeles, and Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. In addition to a core band including Charlie Adams on percussion, Charlie Bisharat on violin, and Steven Trochlil on clarinet, Joseph brought in a 50-piece orchestra, and conducted and wrote all the scores. Ken Moore of the Naples Daily News cites, "Joseph's music is backed by 15 talented Musicians, some playing three or more different instruments, that make up a symphony of sounds ranging from quietly pensive mood music to a rich orchestration of classical depth and breadth." Wind and Wire Magazine contributor, Michael Debbage, recalls, "It was the year 1997 and New Age music had already peaked commercially as the interest and exposure seemed to lag. The genres main labels – Narada, Windham Music, and Higher Octave – were beginning to explore worldly themes versus the warm, earthly, acoustic themes that prior artists had established. It appeared that the abundance of new artists was becoming a dying breed. An exception to the rule was Bradley Joseph, who released his first mainstream album Rapture to glorious reviews, and to this day it remains his tour de force." One of Joseph's compositions, "The Glen", was written solely for the album Stories, a Narada Artist Collection, and is now also featured on 20 Years of Narada Piano. His works are included in other Narada compilation projects as well.
Although Joseph said that working with Narada was a great experience music-wise, he did not like the lack of control over the end product, and asked to be released from his contract. He started Robbins Island Music in 1998, composing, producing, and distributing his own recordings. Solo Journey was released and consists of eleven soft piano compositions that are based on mood and not on melody. It is characterized by Debbage as being a "scaled down introspective, ... and while simplistic was still breath-taking".
For the 2002 album One Deep Breath, Joseph combines "structured melodic pieces and free-form ambient compositions", which "departs dramatically from the previous more explosive and dynamic music on his first two recordings, Hear the Masses and Rapture". Binkelman writes, "It is an album with two distinct 'feels' to it: the more serene new age/ambient soundscapes that bookend the inner tracks and the more radio-friendly and mainstream music in-between." For instance, the song "Dance of Life" was inspired by Antonín Dvořák's opera, "Rusalka". It is a bit more straightforward in its piano presentation, and will probably appeal the most to hardcore fans of solo instrumental music, says Instrumental Weekly. Then the album closes with its title track, "One Deep Breath", that "floats and meanders for more than ten minutes, bringing in ocean sounds". It is "far and away the most ambient of everything else to be found here", and is "stunning, both in its execution and how radical a change it is from what has come before".
Joseph returned as a featured instrumentalist during Yanni's 2003 Ethnicity world tour, and wrote his sixth album on stage after sound checks. The Journey Continues, a sequel to Solo Journey, features Joseph on solo piano. Debbage writes, "The magical world of movies has a knack for exploring sequels. There is the beauty and beast effect when taking this pathway. The creative beauty allows the viewers to see the continued growth of its characters. The beastly aspect of this exploration is the Hollywood exploitation of an almost guaranteed return on its investment with no regard for its creative progression that usually sees diminishing returns. Bradley Joseph has decided to walk this tightrope by following up with Solo Journey that was released back in 2000. I am glad to report that The Journey Continues is entrenched in beauty, holding up well to its predecessor."
Joseph was named one of the "Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans" (TOYM) of 2004 by the Minnesota Jaycees. In April 2008 he was presented the "WPS Foundation Arts and Academics Hallmarks of Pride" award for outstanding achievements by an alumnus. His music has been on Billboard charts, #1 on Amazon.com, #1 on ITunes, and top 40 for Sirius satellite radio.
Joseph's music has been heard in regular rotation in the United States and Canada by more than 160 major radio networks including XM and Sirius satellite radio, DMX; in the United Kingdom including RTÉ lyric fm; as well as airwaves in Japan, Spain, China, South-East Asia, Thailand, Germany, Switzerland, and Russia. Airlines such as Aeroméxico, AirTran, Frontier, JetBlue, and ExpressJet feature his music in their in-flight music programs. The Weather Channel also utilizes his compositions during the "Local on the 8s" segments, and the song "Friday's Child" is included in their 2008 compilation release, The Weather Channel Presents: Smooth Jazz II.
Joseph has also produced numerous CDs that include cover arrangements for piano and orchestra. The 2009 release of Suites & Sweets features compositions by Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and other classical composers. Joseph told Fredericksen that he, "took the best parts and movements out of those classical songs … and made it soft and calm all the way through."
Binkleman goes on to say that the song "Into the Big Blue" should instantly call Aaron Copland to mind – it has the same BIG orchestral/cinematic sound to it, along with Copland-esque western rhythm and melodic motifs. Similarly, Debbage states that this song brings to mind the musical opening theme of that old western television show The Big Valley.
Generally, Joseph's music gets airplay in the adult contemporary, smooth jazz, easy listening, and beautiful music radio formats, and while some is Classified in the new age genre, he considers contemporary instrumental to fit his style of playing the best. In discussing Rapture, John Blake of The Atlanta Journal notes that often new age music sounds as if it should be played in a supermarket. The songs can sound like musical cotton candy — soft, airy and ultimately uninteresting. "For the most part, Bradley's music doesn't make that mistake." "The music is cinematic, filled with introspective piano solos, swelling violins, and a hypnotic song pacing that allows the listener to daydream." Along the same line, Michael Debbage of Mainly Piano says that Rapture almost single-handedly gave a sense of hope that there was much more that the New Age genre could offer. Cicily Janus remarks that, "Although Bradley has been, at times, pigeon holed into an offshoot of jazz, his message through his music is universal in its appeal and soothing qualities."
In reference to the song "Secrets of the Sun", Binkelman describes "lush strings and gorgeous new age synths with the piano melody here brimming with a blend of the ethereal and the romantic with a dash of wistfulness besides". The synth sounds remind him a little of Ray Lynch. Parsons details this as "much calmer and more graceful with a piano melody and keyboard enhancements". Debbage writes that "the remainder of the album is filled with Joseph’s uncanny ability to compose elegant and emotive ballads. Back track to 'Secrets Of The Sun' that gently sways in the piano and string arrangements with similar results found on 'The Edge Of My Heart'.