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By: Bradley Sperger
Hello my name is Bradley Sperger and I am a one-man band singer songwriter. I was born and raised in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. From an early age I have had a passion for music; even in 4K my teachers frequently heard me singing tunes in the bathroom. Not the best venue but hey you gotta start somewhere. In fourth grade my dad brought a new member of the family home, an Oscar Schmidt Washburn acoustic guitar; as soon as I heard my dad strumming those strings I asked him to teach me a few chords. After I learned a few chords, a family friend who played guitar taught me some blues progressions. Now there is a saying that practice makes perfect and let’s just say that my sense of rhythm and blues was far from perfect, but in time my rhythm got its groove. It was not until an eighth grade talent show that I played in front of a large group of people, but as soon as that happened, my love of music grew and grew. In high school I started to develop my songwriting and had more of an indie folk inspiration. Senior year I went into a battle of the bands contest called Launch Pad as an acoustic duo with my best friend Caleb. I learned a lot from that experience. Thanks to Karla Jensen I have been invited to play for various events for the Beaver Dam Area Arts Association, which has been a big help for me to progress.
In 2013 I started to play music at a few open mic nights in the Madison area; playing there helped me to see that others enjoyed my music as much as I did. I was invited to check out a special songwriting demonstration/discussion given by a visiting Scottish artist by the name of Scott Nicol at Moraine Park Beaver Dam. When I saw his guitar sitting in the corner, I asked him if could play him a quick song before I had to leave for work. I have a hard time resisting a guitar laying around, it’s like the instrument is calling to me. After I played him one of my original songs, he invited me to come to Hydro Street Brewery in Columbus where he had a gig booked later that week and said I could play a few songs there. It was an irresistible offer so I took Scott up on it and have now been playing regularly at Hydro Street Brewery for over two years now. Having a regular place to play has been a great place of incubation musically. With each time I played a new show there, it helped to refine my chops and to enabled me to find my voice.
When I was living alone in my 2 bedroom upstairs apartment in Beaver Dam, I wanted a way in which I could practice alone without having a band and still have something backing me up. That is the time when I made the purchase that now drives my sound. I bought a loop pedal or as musicians like to call them loopers. What does a loop pedal do, you say? It records you playing and then plays it back to you. With a looper, you can keep on adding loops (other recordings) and you can continue to build it into whatever you want. It’s like cooking; the possibilities are truly endless with all the ingredients that you can add to make a delightfully tasteful dish. As with anything, when you first try it you tend to be a bit clumsy with it, and it takes time to find your footing. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes to you. Fall 2013 was the year when I started to play shows with my friend Abby, who also does looping in live shows. Watching how she used her loop pedal with a live audience inspired me to do more with how I loop during my performances. Abby and I have played shows in Madison, Appleton, Oshkosh, Rhinelander, and Columbus. Playing all these shows helped me to cultivate my craft.
I have finally found a groove and with hard work and practice you can develop a sound that is equally pleasing to both you and the audience. I decided to add drums into my live performance by using a compact electronic pad. It’s awesome because I can have most any percussive sound that I desire to loop, as well as many other sounds. By adding this to my live set along with bass guitar I have all the versatility I desire and I have become my own sort of one man band. It’s like having all the herbs and spices in your kitchen and you are free to create whatever fits your fancy; it gives you the opportunity to create with an open canvas. I keep my shows up to date on www.facebook.com/bradleyspergermusic feel free to see what it’s all about.