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INTERVIEW: LGBTQA+ pop artist Bradley Kim returns with “High School”

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Bradley Kim is a former D1 Military athlete, turned pop musician. His newest release, “High School” is a step into his mind as an LGBTQA+ musician, afraid that his sexuality might get in the way of potentially chasing his dream as a musician.

bradley kim

photos by Erica Modlin for Elite Group

 

 

  1. “High School” revolves around your experience as a closeted LGBTQA+ high school athlete, can you tell us about the experience of finally being able to come out?

Coming out was simultaneously the most overwhelming and underwhelming thing I’ve probably gone through in my life. It was overwhelming in the sense that it was a culmination of 18-19+ years of suppressed mental anguish and the dreaded anticipation of everyone’s responses to what I was about to tell them; but it was also underwhelming in that nothing changed in my day-to-day life after I came out – and I mean that in the best way possible. If you followed my story when the initial news came out about my sexuality, then you would know that it was extremely well received by the majority of the population and I received a lot of outpouring support. However, it was underwhelming because nobody on my college football team or classmates treated me any differently after hearing news that was earth shattering from my perspective. The following day was extremely normal and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. All of the anxiety and emotions associated with this process obviously don’t just go away overnight, but it was a relief to find out that the people I am/was closest to didn’t/don’t care that I’m gay. It’s a suuuuuper cheesy saying but I think it fits well here: “the ones who care don’t matter, and the ones who matter don’t care.”

 

2. If you could tell yourself anything back then, what would you say?

Don’t take everything so seriously and have more fun. I know that’s not directly related to me being closeted, but I feel like I spent so much time focusing on my future and creating this image/brand for myself that I didn’t really enjoy my childhood as much as I should have. Being closeted played a large roll in that but I think knowing what I know now, I would have not taken everything so seriously and just enjoyed life a little more. 

 

3. Looking back, do you think those years spent pretending to be someone else made you prouder of the person you truly are?

Honestly, spending years pretending to be someone else made me unsure of who I really am. For someone who made the news making a proclamation about who I am, I really feel like I have no idea who I am or what I’m doing haha. But I do think that with every day I get closer to figuring out who I am.

 

4. How did you and Liam connect for your last two singles?

We connected through our friend Konn (Connor Shrimpton) whom we both connected with individually. I think Liam knew Konn before I did but I think we started messaging each other about music in October of 2020 and then Konn introduced us and I had Liam feature on my song “fuck, ily” because I didn’t like the way I sounded on that second verse that I had written. It’s funny though because the three of us have been working together for a while now but none of us have met in person – it’s all been through social media. 

 

5. Tell us about your usual production process, who’s responsible for the incredible beats?

Konn and I have a process down now after almost a year of working together. We have only released a few songs together but we have upwards of 15 songs together that we either haven’t released yet or haven’t finished. But everything starts with me; I will find a good chord progression I like and write either half a song or a full song and then record some instrumentation into my mic and a bunch of vocal layers over it and send it over to Konn. From there, he’ll either hear something he wants to run with or we’ll zoom and I’ll tell him exactly what I want and where whether it’s a specific high hat, kick, synth, vocal chop etc. but once we have an initial beat down, he’ll send it back to me to record more stuff over it and we’ll just send back and forth until we come to a final arrangement that we like and he’ll send his final mix to our sound engineer, Jonathan. That’s kind of our process in a nutshell, but both of us are usually super picky about the kind of sound we want so there are often A LOT of drafts/versions of each song before we get one that we like and agree upon.

 

6. If the world was ending tomorrow, what would you do today?

Honestly, I’d probably get a good cry in haha.. and then I’d try to find all my closest friends/family and go to the nearest beach and do all my favorite things with my favorite people: eat good food, play beach volleyball, surf/body surf, and become one with the ocean.

 

7. What can we look forward to in 2022?

Lottttttts of new music coming from me in 2022. I initially was planning for an album and/or an EP to come out in 2022 but I think I’m just going to let my creative process dictate what I do. I have a lot of songs done right now that I’m trying to figure out what to do with them, but I don’t want to let the pressures of “when are you dropping an album” ruin my creative process and lead me to release an album full of a bunch of rushed songs. I’m just kind of going with the flow and releasing all of my songs as their own individual story until a collection of songs naturally fit in together as one album.

FOLLOW BRADLEY KIM

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