I’ve followed Bradley’s composition journey from across the world and we decided it was time I picked his performer and composer brain! I stumbled upon his music for an original adaptation of A Little Princess about a year ago and fell hard! It was only fitting that he sent me these answers from spotty wifi service whilst on a cruise contract!
AF: I always have to ask… how do you drink your coffee?
BM: Normally I’m a long black with hot milk on the side guy but if I am feeling a little blue or REALLY want to enjoy my coffee I go with my first love… Cappuccino. I try not to drink too much milk but some days you just need it.
AF: Delicious! So tell us, what is your backstory? How did you get into performing, composing, etc?
BM: Early on, I fell in love with 90’s, R&B, and American Hip Hop music. I didn’t hear much music growing up so at about thirteen I started writing songs that sounded like Boyz2Men and Babyface. They were… interesting. At twelve years old I told my mother I wanted to sing and she supported me from day one. As a single parent, my mother was tremendously supportive given we really didn’t have the means for me to attempt such a career… but here I am! She signed me up for piano lessons which only lasted a few months. I wanted to be creative and I wanted to try different things and not spend time studying the music of the past. It took me ten years to understand why scales are important! Now looking back at my early days I realize I was always exploring and imagining and creating. I discovered musical theatre in my teens and fell IN LOVE! I would sing Falsettos and Rent on the bus to school, singing along as Roger of course. In 2006 I got the chance to perform the role with the Queensland Premiere Cast, which is basically the first company in one of our states to perform the show. In 2010, someone heard my music from playing in rock groups… and they asked me to write a musical score! I had never considered it before but I gave it a shot and the show sold out, got a standing ovation and suddenly I had a new dream; writing musicals. Nine years later that story of being asked to write a musical is the plot of my show Becoming Bill which will have its world premiere production in Australia this August!
AF: That’s so exciting! Congratulations! Which of your pieces is your favorite and why?
BM: Typically it’s the piece I’ve just finished. The time we spend refining something, the purest example of realization of an idea – is something I find so exciting. I feel proud when I listen back. Sometimes I am excited by the lyric or the melody or just the accomplishment of not giving up! So that pride gives me a sense of satisfaction and I listen to the demo of that piece several times. Currently it is “Next Time” from Any Moment. That was a tough song to write. The melody was so delicate and pure, I couldn’t make the imagery or story work. I had to find a happy balance, which I eventually found and am really proud of until we do the next development and I’ll want to change it! My favorite score would be The Oasis. I feel it’s some of my most inspired compositions I’ve done to date.
AF: Who would you compare your style to? What composers do you look up to?
BM: In a nutshell I’d say the feeling of Jonathon Larson with a splice of theatrical rock and gospel from Jason Robert Brown, held together by Andrew Lloyd Webber. I am also greatly inspired by Adam Guettel, Marsha Norman and the entirety of She Loves Me!
AF: What are you working on right now?
BM: I’m close to launching Season One of a podcast about writing musicals called MAKING MUSICALS with Bradley McCaw. I had ten days in NYC and tried to uncover the mystery of what it takes to create a great musical. The idea is to document my journey to understand the form from talking to writers, producers, buskers on the street, to try to tangibly outline some things we can do around the world to make great musicals. It’s a terribly large and ambitious project and I’m so excited to share it. You can actually find an introduction online now – follow us wherever you get your podcasts!
AF: Is there a concert or reading coming to NYC any time soon?
BM: We’re talking about a possible concert for Little Princess currently, but nothing I can confirm or deny right now. I’d love to start collaborating with U.S. based artists on a project that starts in NYC so if anyone reading is interested – or has an idea they feel I’d be right for – say hi! 🙂
AF: Where can people stay up to date with your current and upcoming works?
BM: My socials is @bradleyjmccaw
My website is bradleymccaw.com
AF: What are your words of wisdom?
BM: Something I’ve been reminding myself of lately is, it’s meant to be challenging. Don’t be put off by the journey and the resilience it takes to realize these projects. Enjoy the road to making the art.