Actor, Singer-Songwriter, TV Presenter and Music Producer
We caught up with Brad Kavanagh...
What was your first role as an actor?
My first role as an actor was probably way back when I did arts projects for Mandy Norman as part of the very first Maritime Festival. Myself and a bunch of other Haveners were dressed up as characters from the Victorian period and we’d wander around the harbour doing short scenes based on past events from the industry period. I was only around about 6.
When you were younger what did you want to be when you grew up?
I never really knew an answer to that question. I think there was always a lot of speculation the minute anyone said, at any age, they wanted to be an actor or singer. The general opinion I was met with was “but you need to pick a proper job”. All my 6 year old self could see was Sting, Tom Hanks & Gareth Gates being on TV and performing and I used to wonder why I couldn’t dream to do the same? Thanks to my family who let me explore it, I did achieve that dream. Although I always felt a desire to be a Police Officer, which is interesting.
What do you like most about your profession?
I like the creativity and the ‘risk factor’ of it. It takes a lot of faith to stick to your guns and commit to an idea that has no syllabus, business plan and no real sure-fire way of making it work but it’s the only thing I love and I would run on empty for years to just get by and make it happen. I also enjoy working with different people, especially in music. You find so many different tastes, quirks and wonderful things in people you wouldn't even expect and bringing things like that out when acting or making music really is exciting.
If you could go back in time what would you do differently?
I always said I wouldn't change a thing. Bullying and experiences at school made me be more mindful of just how horrible some people can be, being the victim of bullies is horrific, but I know I wouldn't be who I am now if it hadn’t have happened. It gave me an elevated level of respect for truly good people, and it’s those people that I love to work with most.
What does your average weekday consist of?
The average weekday at the moment usually consists of a lot of decisions, haha. My business partner, Steven Norman, and I produce a lot of music and most recently have been working on my own releases. Delivering songs and committing to their final state is hard, we’re always thinking “do those drums actually sound right”, “should that note be pushed earlier or slightly later” and you become so over analytical. The day usually begins with no breakfast (don’t tell my mother, she’ll go mad), I head to our studio, we listen to the recording results of the day before, cry, have a cup of tea and begin fixing it until it’s right, which usually ends at around 3AM. Luckily this phase is only periodical!
What does your average weekend consist of?
I travel to Manchester to visit my girlfriend, she is incredibly patient and puts up with a lot. There’s been times recently when we’ve had clients and projects in need of work over the weekend and I have been unable to see her, and the hours we record make it very difficult, usually starting at 10AM and going without stopping until 2-3AM so the amount of missed phone calls and time makes it very hard but she’s wonderfully understanding and we work it out. So my weekend is usually “Take Me Out” and Milky Buttons.
What was your first job and what did it involve?
My first job was the part of Michael in ‘Billy Elliot: The Musical’. It involved an awful lot of change, I was 10 and moved to London to live in a shared house and as the show didn't even exist yet and we were the first cast, we had a long process of workshops for over a year where we’d experiment with scenes and character profiles. It was a real learning curve and taught me so much and did a lot for my work ethic, too. Now, if something’s not a challenge, then I’m sceptical! It also involved a lot of amazing experiences that I’m very grateful to have had, I’d perform around 4 shows a week on rotation but the exciting part was often when things didn’t go to plan! Once the other two Michaels were Ill and I had to do all 8 shows of that week which, at 12, was quite full on but I loved it.
How do you think Whitehaven can get through the current tough economic times?
I’m not sure, but I think one thing that sticks out to me is that Whitehaven is a beautiful town but I see so much of it going unused. The Bus Station has been empty for years, along with the depot behind, the Sekers site is sitting there unused and now the Civic hall. I thought it was brilliant for Albion Square to be brought in as it brings a lot more of people into the town, if some more of that happened and local business took advantage of that, surely Whitehaven would begin to thrive and appear more attractive to well-known franchises also. As long as Savvy stays, though.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
The same as I do in my work time. My ideal evening would probably be a nice meal then to play a gig. That truly is my love.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
In 10 years time I would like Steven and I to have built our own studio and mixing facility somewhere, I’d like to be working with artists to get the best out of them and give them results they feel happy with. I’d also enjoy being able to tour my own material regularly on a decent level and be releasing music made in the studio worldwide. Ideally we’d love to have a full mixing, production & mastering company that can also print vinyl and have distribution contacts to make it all work. That way we could make music and be a great platform for release across the world.