Everett Bradley takes ’Holidelic’ to Joe’s Pub, Philly & New England
Head straight for your goal by any means,
There is a door that you have never opened.
There is a window with a view you have never seen,
Get there no matter how long it takes.
-- from "Throw it All Away," lyric by Everett Bradley
It would be difficult to fit all of Everett Bradley's talents and professions on a business card. But for all of his varied accomplishments, it appears that he has found his most successful groove with his Holidelic Christmas show at Joe's Pub (now in its tenth year and following the release of last year's CD of the same name), led by his alter ego Papadelic.
Inspired by the funk sounds of '70s bands like Parliament, Sly & The Family Stone and the Ohio Players, Bradley describes the show as "the most exclusive, all-inclusive holiday party in the universe . . . we celebrate all shapes, sizes, colors and beliefs." This year, "Holidelic" plays four dates at Joe's Pub (likely to sell out) and dates have been added in Massachusetts and Philadelphia.
Sports at gunpoint
It has been quite a journey for Everett, born in Greenwood, South Carolina and raised in Indiana, among a family of educators and sports fanatics. His father was a football coach and his brother played professional football.
"We were forced to play sports at gunpoint," Bradley laughed in an interview about his wide-ranging career.
Bradley went on to say, "But a battle emerged because my mother knew I had a love for music." She ultimately got him access to a piano and voice lessons on the sly, which infuriated his father when he found out. "He eventually let it go, but my mother won that battle, for which I’m forever grateful."
Indeed. After graduating from the prestigious Indiana University School of Music, he made a brief pilgrimage to Hollywood, before moving to New Jersey in 1989 to play percussion and sing backup for John Eddie, who was to become the "new Bruce Springsteen."
Although that did not happen, Bradley ended up recording and touring throughout the ’90s and beyond with such acts as Joey Ramone, Chris Botti, Cyndi Lauper, Jon Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Carly Simon, Bobby McFerrin. This month, he is touring with Hall and Oates.
Natural born performer
In 1995, he had a smash dance single in the United Kingdom with "I Luv U Baby." A producer had written a track and called Bradley in to finish writing it. "I was flown all over the world to perform it," he said.
A follow-up single failed to ignite and then there was bad blood with the producer over writing credit (Bradley sued and eventually won), but Bradley still hopes to come back one day and make a dance record.
In 1998, he co-wrote the musical "Vices," which played in Chicago, and then was cast in the Broadway show "Swing," for which he won a Theater World Award for Outstanding New Performer in 2000.
Soon after, he was the first American cast in the London company of "Stomp." He later directed and oversaw touring companies of the show.
A YouTube search reveals that, as a vocalist, he is adept at singing jazz, heavy metal, dance, and show music.
Whether it is playing instruments, songwriting, directing, choreographing, or singing, Bradley told me, "I’m a natural-born performer. There’s a performer that comes through even when I write; I’m interested in seeing how it lands on the stage."
Yet for all of that, Bradley admits to having learned from his more famous headliners. "One time I was hired by Bobby McFerrin and I wanted to know what to learn for the first rehearsal and he said, ’Just show up with an open mind and heart.’ There were twelve singers on the stage and we all learned our parts in that moment! I learned so much about spontaneity and invention and trusting in myself."
He learned about the business of branding and how to treat his people from the positive energy of Jon Bon Jovi; how to put heart into songwriting from Carly Simon; and from the creators of "Stomp," how to be himself on stage.
Asked if he thought being so eclectic and multi-talented might have had an adverse effect on his career, Bradley said, "I used to get really freaked out by that, but what has emerged is the idea of performance and asking myself how I can spread joy with what I do."
Turning Christmas on its head
As for managing his time to do all he needs to do-just last month, for example, he appeared in the City Center Encores production of Wynton Marsalis’ "Cotton Club Parade", and he has produced three videos for "Holidelic", plus his touring work for headliners-Bradley says he does not schedule anything before noon so he can exercise, do yoga, and write a little.
"The older I get, the more I have to put boundaries on my time," said Bradley, 48. "But eventually, you have to eat and watch something stupid on TV."
Mikiodo, a friend and songwriting collaborator for twenty years, as well as Creative Director for the "Holidelic" show and CD, added, "Everett challenges me to keep up with his energy level and is constantly putting a fire under my ass to finish creative work."
For his part, Mikiodo helped mold the concept for "Holidelic" and had creative control over photography, design and direction of both the live show and CD.
"Holidelic" began with Bradley’s first holiday recording, "Toy," in 2002. "That was in response to 9/11 and searching for a way to heal myself," Bradley revealed. Eventually, fourteen new songs were written (several with Mikiodo), the stage show continued annually, and the new recording was unveiled last year.
"I think people are looking for something different," Bradley said of the show and recording. "Classics are nice, but I come at it from a funk perspective. I turn Christmas on its head, but the warm and fuzzy aspect and the joy remain intact."
Royal Flush of musical talent
"Everett is the single most talented person I know or probably will ever know, hands down," Mikiodo said. "He has truly been dealt the Royal Flush of musical talent. He embraces life and pulls that into all his creations."
The creation of Papadelic happened early on. "I wanted to add grit and funk," Bradley related. "I came on stage in a conservative green sweater, then I went into a gift box and changed into a fur, boots, wig and glasses and the audience went wild. They witnessed the live birth of Papadelic on stage!"
One of Bradley’s goals is to make Papadelic a year-round phenomenon and record some all-out funk records. "It’s time for that kind of music to make a comeback," he insisted.
As for "Holidelic," Bradley simply says, "Bring an open heart, an open mind, and a promise to shake yo rump!"
Holidelic will be at Joe’s Pub, New York City, December 16th (7:00 pm), 17th (7:00 & 9:30 pm), and 19th (9:30 pm)(www.joespub.com); at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA, December 20th (7:00 pm)(www.iheg.com); at Club Helsinki in Hudson, December 22nd (8:00)(www.helsinkihudson.com); and at World Café Live in Philadelphia, PA, December 23rd (8:00 pm)(www.worldcafelive.com)
The "Holidelic" CD is available on iTunes and at www.cdbaby.com.
Visit www.holidelic.com for more details.
10 Questions for Papadelic
EDGE: Since it’s all about diversity, which male and female celebrities would you like to unwrap this year?
Papadelic: Missy Elliot, where you at? She has disappeared and we need her back. And I’d like to unwrap the 2008 version of Barack Obama. Where is he?
EDGE: Where do you do your holiday shopping?
Papadelic: Goodwill. I’m kind of ghetto so I shop on the cheap and downlow. But I will spring for something glittery I see in the window if I think it has longevity.
EDGE: What is the fashion faux-pas this season?
Papadelic: Anything that does not express my inner feelings.
EDGE: Do you have a favorite holiday cockail?
Papadelic: I do like Jack Daniels, although because I’m a holiday freak, I can rock some eggnog pretty hard.
EDGE: What did you think of one of this year’s biggest movies, The Help?
Papadelic: I have not seen it but I need to see it ASAP.