By David Tingley
“It was whilst travelling on a bus in New Zealand, entertaining the other passengers with my guitar. That’s when I knew,” Chris said, as he told me when he knew he wanted to be a professional musician. Yet somehow his journey led him to become a bestselling children’s writer.
Chris Bradford lives in Hurstpierpoint with his wife Sarah and two sons Zach and Leo. Chris is an accomplished author with 23 books in print, sold around the world in 20 languages. He is best known for his Young Samurai series set in 17th Century Japan as Jack Fletcher trains to become a samurai warrior. However writing fiction wasn’t Chris’ first dream.
At 22 he left Exeter university with a degree in English Literature under his arm. “But not with any desire to write literature,” Chris explains. No, music was his thing, but first he had to get some travel out of his system. He travelled around Africa, the United States, Australia and New Zealand - where he had the ‘light bulb moment’.
On his return to the UK Chris turned his thoughts and energies into, in his words, “becoming a rock star”! He studied at the London Music School and soon formed a band with friends – Clearway. “We were a five piece rock band with a bit of funk thrown in,” Chris explained. “A kind of cross between Coldplay and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. They were great years!”
He describes the success of Clearway as ‘surviving rather than thriving’. They played to packed clubs and recorded a number of albums - albeit self-funded. The band’s highlight was undoubtedly playing at the 21st Celebration of the Commonwealth in front HRH Queen Elizabeth at Kensington Gardens in 2001.
But Chris now had his heart set on becoming a songwriter and, through his carefully planned networking amongst the industry, he was invited to join the comittee of The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA). Here he represented young songwriters and found himself sitting next to composers who had written for the likes of Cliff Richard, Elton John and Elvis. One of the first ideas he brought to the table of BASCA was for them to produce a book about how to write a definitive hit song. To his surprise they all loved the concept and he was tasked with talking to publishers about the book. To his even greater surprise publishers loved the idea too, and it wasn’t long before he was offered a deal!
Read the full story in the April issue of Hurst Life