Bradley Gaskin Chats About His Quick Fame, Family and First Single
When we spoke with Bradley Gaskin, he'd just heard his debut single, 'Mr. Bartender,' on the radio for the first time only days before. But that morning, he heard it three times. At 2-years-old, the Alabama newcomer was belting out his big voice for his family. Now, at 30, he's the center of his own 2-year-old's world -- but his young daughter may never know that her dad once put up drywall for a living.
A very humble Gaskin shared with Taste of Country the touching story of how he found himself in Nashville after a lifetime of determination. The 'Mr. Bartender' family man dished about the whirlwind he's been in recently -- and how Nashville is molding him into tomorrow's face of country.
You're in Nashville right now, but you're from Alabama, right? Are you still living out there?
Yes ma'am, I'm from Duck Springs, Alabama. I'm still living in Alabama -- I drove up this morning. It's about a 3-hour drive. Nice and rainy this morning.
So you were actually discovered on MySpace -- is that right?
Yes ma'am, back in 2008. I was working with my dad on a drywall job and sheet rock job. I came home -- me and my wife hadn't been married long -- and I walked in the house and my wife said, "Bradley, I heard a commercial today. John Rich from Big and Rich is doing a Get Rich Talent Search at 12th and Porter in downtown Nashville." She said, "Bradley, I think you need to send some of your songs to their address and submit some of your songs, and maybe, if they like them, they might invite you to play the show." And I said "Adrienne, you know I have done things and been to Nashville and tried to make them send my songs places and nobody ever gave me a break." I thought, '"Why would this guy? Why would John Rich give me a break?" So I told her, "I don't want to hurt your feelings, I just don't want to do it. I'm fine."
Well the whole time I took a shower to get that sheet rock, mud, and dust off me I thought about that. When I got out of the shower she said, "Bradley, also, if you don't want to send your songs there's another way that people might get to hear you" She said, "There's this thing called MySpace."
Well, I was 28-years-old and I had no idea what MySpace was. I put a song on MySpace that I wrote back in 2005 called 'Mr. Bartender,' and three weeks after I put 'Mr. Bartender' on MySpace, John Rich and his partner heard that song and invited me to Nashville to play the Get Rich Talent Search. I was able to play that show that night, up with five or six other artists. A month later I came back to play another show after winning the first show, and John started talking with me about some business stuff, and wanted to hear more songs that I had written. A couple of weeks after that, I signed a publishing deal with him and his company and started meeting people in this town: Great writers, great artists that I grew up listening to as a kid, and just recently -- just a couple weeks ago actually -- we put ink on a major record deal. It's been a crazy thing. I've spent my whole life trying to get where I'm at right now, and finally the doors have opened wide. Now, I'm getting to taste what I've always wanted.
You got a great reception at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville.
Yes ma'am, I just had found out what CRS week was about a week before I played the boat show.
What was that like?
I met more people on that boat than probably I've met my whole life. Meeting so many people, and to be able to be on that boat with some of the greatest talents that are on radio right now, to be able to be a part of that is a real humbling experience.
Do you like performing live?
I love to play live. I love to walk out and sing for folks. I've been doing that since I was a little kid. My mom said I started singing when I was 2-years-old, and now I'm 30, and I don't remember a time where I haven't been in love with singing -- and especially country music.
Watch Bradley Gaskin Perform 'Mr. Bartender'
Well you're in the right place then, for sure. Your life has changed quite a bit in just a few short years.
Yes, my life has been … well, everybody told me, "It's gonna take you forever to make it in that town," and some folks said, "Well, you'll try, and there will be many years that you'll try this, but it won't happen." Well, I don't like the word no, and I never have. People also told me that, "Bradley, when you finally knock the doors down, things will take off very quickly for you." Well, I have found that out in the last couple of weeks. I have done things that I never imagined I'd do -- I've met people and played places -- and it's been a crazy life just the past couple weeks. Not to mention the past couple years. Really, to be honest with you, it seems like this has happened in just a couple of weeks -- from the first time I posted songs on MySpace to playing the Opry, to playing the CRS boat, to putting a single on radio. It seems like it's just happened in a couple weeks for me.
So you have a daughter now. How old is she?
She turned 2-years-old back in December, and she already knows all of my songs. Matter of fact, when 'Mr. Bartender' came on, I heard it at 6 M that morning, and again at 6:30. She had woke up and was playing around, and the song came back on at 8:40AM and my little girl ran over to the stereo and put her arm around the stereo and hugged it and said, "I love you, Dada," and started singing my song.
That's so cute, and her whole life she's going to only know you as having been on the radio, you know?
Absolutely. And I remember when I played it back at the Opry, I played the Ryman Auditorium on Country Classic night and I played two songs that night, George Jones' 'Tennessee Whiskey' and Keith Whitley's 'Don't Close Your Eyes.' My wife and all of my family, and my little girl Madeline -- she was sitting in the crowd. I remember after I played the Keith Whitley song, it was a really cool night -- the response from the crowd, they were very nice, and I remember the clapping ceased and my little girl said, "Hey, Dada!" while I was standing onstage. It's just really crazy that she has no idea what's going on. Life has really changed a lot in the last couple years, and not only that, in the last couple weeks life has really changed.
What inspires you?
What inspires me? Since I've been married -- I'll be married four years this coming June, and my little girl, now she's 2 -- they inspire me. They make me want to be a better person. They make me want to work harder. And I owe them everything, so they really inspire me.
When can we expect your debut album?
We're working on things right now. We've been working on songs. We've got several songs recorded. I guess somewhere probably close to the end of the year, I guess we should have everything taken care of as far as a CD and all that stuff.
What do you hope that 2011 brings for you?
That I get to go out and share with the world and the country music world what I dig and what I grew up loving as a kid. Now to be 30-years-old, to be able to walk out on the stage and to play for people, that's what I hope: that 2011 allows me to play for more people and meet more people. I've met great songwriters and singers in this town, I've met fans who have fell in love with the song and what I do, and I just want to be what everybody would fall in love with.