Brad Go and the HUSH Project
Muggy, rainy days are undoubtedly one of the less charming aspects of New York City summers. But last September, when the weather was just a bit cooler and the rain a bit more — romantic, shall we say? — Brad Go had the fortune of finding the inspiration for his HUSH Project on a street corner in rainy New York City.
“I was walking on 51st street late at night from work, and it was pouring really hard. And so I’m just trudging along 51st with my umbrella and I’m at the stoplight and this girl just walks up next to me, and I just see that she has no umbrella,” he said. “She’s standing there in the pouring rain and she’s getting drenched. And I thought, ‘Oh, that’s really sad.'”
“So I was asked her, ‘Are you walking to the 6 train?’ And she said yes, so I was like, ‘Well, get under the umbrella! Let’s walk.’ And to my luck, or to my demise, she just happened to be a drop-dead gorgeous French girl, with the accent and everything,” he continued. “It was very cinematic.”
Brad decided to take a chance and ask her out for drinks on the spot, and thus sparked the impetus for his musical project, HUSH (Have U Seen Her). On their third date, Brad said, they mutually agreed to create something — in writing, in song — about how they met, because it was such happenstance.
Now, more than half a year later, Brad is embarking on a (literal) journey around the world to find other love stories and create an entire album of songs based on people that he meets in countries all over the globe.
Here, he talks about how his most recent trip to Barcelona and Manila (including meeting with record producers after performing at a mall!), what keeps him inspired when the going gets tough, and how he went from being an aerospace engineer major to a full-time musician.
How did you decide to expand your project from something personal to something global?
As a listener, it’s cool to know what actually inspired a song. And I think part of traveling the world is, well, who doesn’t want to explore? So I thought okay what can I do — I love traveling and I love making music, so how can I do this? So that’s kind of how it started. I really had no plan. All I knew was that I wanted to get a story and I wanted to write a song about a story. Those were my only two goals. On the second day I was in Barcelona, once I had overcome the jet lag, I got up and I was like, “Okay. I don’t have a guitar, I don’t have a story, I don’t have anything.” So I was on a mission. I ended up asking the waitress of a place I had breakfast at where I could get a guitar and I got a really awesome one. I ended up leaving it in Spain as a gift for my hosts and I really miss it, but I’ll go back for it one day.
Did you find what you were looking for on the trip?
Well, I was hoping to come back with a beautiful Spanish girl that I could bring home to my parents. (laughs) No, I got everything I wanted out of that trip, absolutely, and it was a great trial run just to see what was feasible after editing the footage. It’s weird because I was doing everything. I was shooting it, I was editing it, I was doing the music, I was figuring out everything on my own. I actually went in and had a GoPro strapped to my chest as I was walking around, and looking back on all my footage, it’s amazing to me how it all came together.
Then you were in Manila visiting family. How was that?
I also did a HUSH episode in the Philippines, with my last living grandparent, my mom’s mom. I interviewed her about her love story and it was pretty wild. She’s a very strong woman. And the funniest part of that interview was the one question I’d been asking everyone: “What is your definition of love?” And she was like flabbergasted. And it was so cool. Everyone was gathered around campfire style and she was telling stories of her love life. And she was like “Oh, love is love.” And then everyone started losing it because she said it in her thick Filipino accent. So I wrote a song off that nugget and my cousins got involved — within a week, we went from writing the song, arranging it, recording it at a studio and then performing it at a mall.
That gig got me a meeting with EMI Philippines, and two days later I was in their offices. I played a gig for them in their office and they asked me to start writing songs for one of their artists, so I’ve just been cranking out material ever since.
That’s so inspirational! So how do you feel now that you’re committed to music full-time?
It is hard but it’s weird because for so many New York musicians, you always have the day job, but the day job is the excuse — to not be writing or performing or working on craft. But now that I have made the conscious decision to devote all my time to it, it’s weird, like, you freeze, you get scared, you start doubting yourself and it’s a really major feeling. But I have to keep telling myself that no, it’s fine, and I have to just keep going and moving forward.
I’m a hardcore optimist and I believe in the inherent good of mankind, so to speak, and I have the opportunity to go out there and capture it in a way that’s totally my own and uses my unique skill set: I can video edit, I can shoot, I can write music — and to have this opportunity is just a huge, huge blessing and I feel really lucky to be able to do it. So just that thought, when I come back to that, I think yeah, there’s no reason NOT to do this.
I went from being an aerospace engineering major in college to industrial design to communications to cinema studies and then I said screw it, I’m going to film school. So I’ve changed my path a lot!
Any advice for other artists who hope to make that full-time leap?
I guess the biggest one is don’t wait. There’s always going to be things in the way. Whether it’s your parents not supporting you or money or that kinda thing, you just have to be persistent and confident in yourself and know that this means a lot to you. Don’t let anything stop you. Easier said than done, I know!
When you’re scared and you’re uncertain about what move to make — that place is a scary place but once you can think past that, that’s where the breakthroughs are.
Brad is next set on his trip around the world, making stops in Australia, Tokyo, Singapore, Berlin, Paris, Rome and Manila. Follow his progress here!