“Ambassador of Good Will”
Nashville Country Music Magazine has always appreciated the contributions of Keith Bradford and the wisdom his many years in music business that he shares so generously with our readers. Now Keith Bradford has received an important recognition, that we can attest is truly deserved. Congratulations Keith Bradford from all of us here at Nashville Country Music Magazine, we couldn't be more blessed by your contributions to us as well, the following details the highest honor bestowed as told by contributing writer Melissa Morgan. Congratulations Keith Bradford - Daniel Knight and Deborah Gibson.
Navy Vietnam Veteran, Keith Bradford, has dedicated over 50 years of his life supporting veterans throughout the nation. Whether it be as a song artist, performing live for fundraisers to help fellow veterans, emceeing events, or standing by those who orchestrate the events, Keith has a true heart of compassion for other members of the armed forces. Colonel Garry Thomas, is such as man. While a guest on Keith’s “Ya Gotta Luv It” radio show (nbrnonline.com), Colonel Thomas promoted a veteran’s benefit television show for a musician who had just lost everything in a house fire. It was during this very conversation that Colonel Thomas set everything in motion for Keith to receive an official Proclamation in the Senate Chambers of the State House of Tennessee.
In fact, it was Colonel Thomas, himself, who presented Keith Bradford to the Senate chambers at the State House as “…an ambassador of good will.” For Keith’s astounding achievements, and his efforts on behalf of all veterans, as well as to the state of Tennessee, the Senator of the 20th Senate District, Heidi Campbell, proclaimed to all that she agreed with Colonel Thomas. Keith was proclaimed as an “Ambassador of Good Will,” by Senator Heidi Campbell who truly believes that “…The world is certainly a better place because Keith Bradford is in it.” That statement, in and of itself, is quite profound.
Though the Proclamation was initially signed on May 25th, 2022, it was presented to Keith at 11:00am (CST) on June 29th, 2022. Keith reports that he felt in awe as he approached the Cordell Hull Building of the Tennessee State House Complex, located within the Tennessee State House Legislative Plaza. “It all felt surreal,” Keith disclosed to me, as he pulled open the doors of Senate Hearing, Room Number 1, on the first floor of the Cordell Hull Building, to be presented with an official Proclamation by Senator Heidi Campbell, on behalf of Lieutenant Governor/Speaker of the Senate, Randy McNally, of the 112th General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, and in conjunction with not only Senator Campbell, but also Senator Rusty Crowe, of the 3rd Senate District. To further the authenticity of the Proclamation, it bears the official gold agricultural seal of 1796, when Tennessee was first incorporated. “It wasn’t until the moment I held that Proclamation in my hands, that it truly dawned on me that this was all real,” Keith explained.
“I have been in this business for over 50 years, and I never dreamed in a million years that something like this would be bestowed upon me. It was a very humbling experience. I never viewed myself as someone important. I’m just trying to help people. I never anticipated the fact that a Proclamation would be signed by two different senators, plus the Speaker of the Senate, for my efforts and achievements throughout my career in the music business.”
During a brief interview, I asked Keith to please expound on these accolades that set him apart from other receivers of such prestigious Proclamations. To list only a few, for the past 22 years Keith has hosted his own podcast and his own radio broadcast, “Ya Gotta Luv It” as a part of the Nashville Broadcasting Network (nbrnonline.com), originally co-founded by his brother, Mike Bradford. Additionally, Keith founded and operated KMA Records. Though referred to by Keith as, “Just a little, tiny Independent Record Label,” his company was twice nominated for two Grammy Awards, both during the 42nd year of the Award Showcase, for the same song, “Because of You.” Keith produced both versions at KMA Records. The original artist, Terri Williams, was nominated as the female vocalist. Former Grand Ole Opry star, Ernie Ashworth, received a nomination as the male vocalist.
Unlike mainstream record labels such as Sony, RCA, Capitol, and Warner Brothers (who represented major stars with an enormous amounts of financial backing, everything that Keith has ever done had to be self-financed. During an exclusive interview, Keith revealed to me that, “It’s very unusual, and extremely difficult, for an independent record company, such as KMA, to get nominated for a Grammy because of major label competitors. To even be considered as a nominee, especially twice, is an astounding feat.” Though neither nomination won the award, it was enough to know that KMA had even been considered. To Keith, in all his humbleness, that was good enough for him.
Throughout the last 50 years in the music industry, Keith has won numerous awards, trophies and plaques for such achievements as, “Independent Record Producer of the Year,” “T.V. Producer of the Year” on an independent scale, “Record Label of the Year,” and “Independent Internet Radio Station of the Year.” One can also find Keith in the “Rhode Island Country Music Hall of Fame (his native state),” “South Africa Country Music Hall of Fame”, and the “Independent Gospel Music Hall of Fame” in Texas. This list is by no means all-inclusive. From various Pioneer and Leadership Awards, to Halls of Fame, and recognitions as a writer of over 500 songs, Keith is by no means a stranger to success. Yet, in spite of these astonishing accomplishments, Keith values civil involvements above all else.
I have been honored to know Keith Bradford for several years now, and I once asked him which trophy had the most sentimental value to him. There were many, many to choose from. However, I was caught off guard when he picked up a trophy that stated, “Civic Achievement Award presented to Keith Bradford for your Contribution to Humanity and the Children’s Rights Council, 2001,” presented by the Children’s Rights Council in Washington D.C.
Keith explained to me that the Children’s Rights Council was created by David Levy. As a result of Levy’s endeavors, a law was passed allowing a child the right to have a say, at the age of 14, which parent they wished to reside with in a divorce proceeding. Though, of course, the judge has the final say-so, Keith continues to feel honored by his ability to support, and stand by, what he believes in.
Unable to find words of my own more properly suited; I will allow the Speaker of the Senate, Randy McNally, to sum up one of Keith’s greatest achievements, “Whereas, throughout his estimable career, Keith Bradford has demonstrated the utmost professionalism, ability, and integrity, winning the respect of his peers in the Country music industry and thrilling countless fans around the world; now, therefore, I, Randy McNally, Speaker of the Senate of the One Hundred Twelfth General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, in conjunction with the undersigned, do hereby proclaim that we honor and recognize Keith Bradford, host of Ya Gotta Love It, on his illustrious career in Country music and extend to him our best wishes for every continued success. Proclaimed in Nashville, Tennessee, on this the 25th day of May, 2022.”
Congratulations, Keith! May you always be remembered as an “Ambassador of Good Will”.
Written by: Melissa Morgan.