NEW ORLEANS – Local trumpet player John Michael Bradford recently told his story of finding strength in music in the face of tragedy on CNN’s Turning Points.
To say that Hurricane Katrina changed Bradford’s life would be an understatement, but a lot of good ended up coming with the bad as his family rebuilt from the storm.
Bradford, who was seven or eight when Katrina hit, evacuated with his family for two or three months.
During that time, Bradford spent a lot of time with one of the people his family fled the city with, a musician named “Big Sam” Williams.
“I gravitated towards him, I wanted to be like him,” Bradford said.
After finally returning home, Bradford became obsessed with playing music.
“My grandfather came and gave me his high school trumpet, and then immediately I was able to play it,” he said.
Williams started pulling Bradford up on stage to play during performances around New Orleans, and things took off from there.
Bradford is now studying at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, and he has performed at the Grammys and at Carnegie Hall.
He recently put out his debut album, “Something Old, Something New.”
Through it all, Bradford has kept his focus on making music, something he says helped him deal with one of the biggest disasters this country has ever faced.
“I think music can turn a tragedy into something that’s beautiful, because it can touch so many people, and I think everyone can relate to it,” he said.
Check out Bradford on the Twist stage performing “Sweet Lorraine” from his “Something Old, Something New” album.