Ben Bradford grew up influenced by some of country’s biggest heavyweights — Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, and Kenny Chesney, but the biggest influences of his life were right under his own roof, and they inspired his music in a myriad of ways. His older brother, (who was the first one in his family to graduate college and went on to become a radiologist,) bought Ben his first Ibanez guitar and introduced him to all sorts of great music as a kid growing up. And his mom, who has spent every single day on her feet for 38 years owning and running her own hair salon, taught him the power of hard work, perseverance, and following your dreams — no matter where they may lead.
For the active Mississippi boy who always loved school, music was a bit of a curveball, since he spent most of his early years playing baseball, basketball, and football. Having played baseball from age 3 ‘til he was 21, Ben dreamed of a pro career, and was given a summer job by the Memphis Redbirds AAA team as their bullpen catcher during his years in college. “ I did that from 2007-2009, and even got a ring when they won the PCL the last summer I worked there.”
Ben also displayed a passion for writing early on too, and wrote poems before he began putting some chords behind them and turning them into songs. During his first few years of college his brother taught him a few chords on the guitar, and Ben began pursuing music along with a degree in biology and chemistry with the hopes of going to medical school one day. He even spent nearly three months in Central Brazil one summer doing research on the jaguars and wolves of the region in an exclusive program he was chosen to participate in, but music was still enough of a love that he eventually decided to pursue it full time.
Entering the Texaco Country Showdown competition on a whim, Ben was eventually chosen as a Top 10 Finalist in his region, and won it, traveling to the State competition and placing second overall. A local radio station recognized his talent and called on him to open one of their shows for Colt Ford, and soon he was on his way to Nashville to pursue his dream full force. Since then, he’s had the chance to open for acts like Chris Young, Colt, and Grace Potter, and is currently writing with some of Nashville’s best writers.
Thanks to his dad, Ben had an affinity growing up for the classic rock sounds of bands like the Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and Van Halen, but one listen to Garth Brooks “Friends in Low Places” and he became hooked on country, quickly turning his attention to hitmakers like George Straight and Kenny Chesney. He definitely combines all of those influences in his own music, which he describes as “country with a rocking influence.” On songs like “I Need A Cold One,” or “Wasted Time,” he channels that hard-driving energy of classic rock, yet with lyrics and sentiments that fit in perfectly with the songs on country radio today.
For Ben, it’s all about connecting with the audience and giving them a good time.” “I like to get people up and laughing, or crying, or whatever…provide an escape for them for a few hours. I love to see the smile on somebody’s face when they hear a song of mine and instantly start singing it with me. It’s all about getting the people to connect with what you’re doing.”