Billboard Magazine called Brad Colerick “one of a baker’s dozen of acts to watch in the folk community around the world.”
He’s the first musician we’ve interviewed, and I’m delighted that we can share his work and his answers with you. (I love a bit of American folk). I’ve embedded one of his music videos in the post below, so you can listen while you read.
Brad first made contact with WOWH way before we were called Writing Our Way Home, when he had some creativity coaching sessions with Fiona.
Brad hails from Nebraksa but moved to Los Angeles in 1986 and built a successful career making music for commercials. He’s had the pleasure of working with a long list of legendary artists including BB King and the late Johnny Cash. Colerick’s CDs have landed in the Top 5 of both the Folk DJ and Euro-Americana charts.
Hi Brad, great to have you with us. We begin, as always, with a question about motivation. What drives your creative work?
Unfortunately, it’s usually panic and desperation. I observe the world around me, find ideas that resonate within me, then fight like hell to find time to sit and write and bring them to the surface. I feel incredibly fulfilled after finishing a project which is what propels me to the next one.
What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and meet yourself at the beginning of your creative career?
Wow, what a great question. I often think about myself at that stage because that’s where the real drive and the decision to do what I do began. The rest of the journey has been executing what I dreamed back then – refining my craft and finding my way through the economic maze of an artistic life. I guess what I would probably say is, “It’s going to be a challenging journey – have faith in yourself and your ability. Always be yourself. Everything is going to be OK.”
How do you keep creating when things get difficult?
I’ve learned (with help from Fiona) to treat my creative endeavors in a more pragmatic way. It’s just a matter of identifying what needs to be done and finding whatever windows of opportunity I can in order to execute. I got involved in a writer’s group that meets periodically with the intent of lighting a fire under us all to come to a meeting with a new song. Having a deadline and someone else to monitor progress is incredibly helpful.
How does your creative work affect the rest of your life?
Opportunities for being involved in the community and visiting new places are often sparked by my music touching someone who reaches out to me. I’ve developed some of my closest friendships through artistic collaborations and connections.
What is it like to send your work out into the world?
It used to be terribly frightening for me to release a record – like I was about to face a firing squad. Now I’ve come to a place where I view it more like a performance. When I do a show and present my work to a live audience it’s there and then it’s gone. I’m on to the next thing without overanalyzing it. I think about what I could have done better and try to learn from each experience. I realize now that my music doesn’t need to appeal to everyone. It’s a snapshot of who I am at a particular time and it’s there for those who relate to it or connect with it on some level.
What was the best advice anyone gave to you?
A screenwriter friend of mine, Garry Michael White, once told me to “always, always, always write about death.” I don’t often write literally about death but his words seemed to open up a floodgate of ideas from a new perspective.
What helps you to pay attention to the world?
If you want to check out the rest of Brad’s music, log on to BradColerick.com
Kaspa & Fiona