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Truly Bradley Deeply
She scored a job at a time of record youth unemployment. So what persuaded Allie Bradley to give it all up for a life of rock and roll?
Colin Carberry, 23 Aug 2012
Up to a point, Allie Bradley’s story was a recession-busting one to gladden British government hearts.
“I got a job straight after graduating,” she says. “Which I appreciate is a rare thing these days. I was very lucky, and I enjoyed the job. Liked the company, got on really well with everyone I worked with. I had no complaints.”
Any careers advisors out there – turn the page now, and go lie down. The Derry-born songwriter’s next move is going to make your blood boil. With youth employment figures plunging to subterranean lows, and the concomitant message for those in work – any kind of work – a dispiriting: “Keep your head down and count yourself lucky”, Allie made a rather brave, perhaps even radical, move: she quit.
“I don’t know if it’s brave or mad,” she laughs. “It’s definitely a bit scary. The whole time I was working, I was also playing open mic spots in the evening, playing my own stuff and cover sets at the weekend, and I was in the studio a lot too. It was pretty full-on. It was something I had to do, though. Because it was confined to the odd night and weekends, it just made the process so much slower. And it was exhausting balancing the two lives. There’s no doubt about it – it’s hard to make money, but so far so good, I’m making it happen.”
Allie’s decision wasn’t entirely a step into the unknown. The studio experience she talks about was derived during sessions providing backing vocals to Lisburn singer Aaron Shanley: a performer whose own can-do attitude provides a nice counter-foil to her own.
“He’s great,” she enthuses. “Very dedicated and committed. Working with him helped to demystify the whole process – showed me that it was just a job, in many ways. And I realised that I enjoyed that environment, and wanted to try out my own material.”
So far, that’s resulted in three EPs, and while the material has yet to quite match the breadth of ambition, clear progress is being made. The most recent collection of songs, Two, bears the mark of some serious DIY road-testing. What advice to those interested in booking their own tours?