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The Sweeplings Premiere 'Under Your Spell' Video: Exclusive
'America's Got Talent' alum Cami Bradley and Whitney Dean, friend of Civil Wars' John Paul White, unite as a folk-pop duo.
The Sweeplings -- the folk-pop duo of Cami Bradley and Whitney Dean -- are an acoustic act whose music is reminiscent of the poignant ruminations of the Civil Wars. That shouldn't be too surprising, considering that vocalist/guitarist Dean once performed backup for ex-Civil Wars member John Paul White, and the men have known each other since their days as students at the University of North Alabama.
What is startling about The Sweeplings is how the pair got together: When Dean’s wife, Bethany, saw Bradley perform during season eight of America’s Got Talent, she urged him to invite the singer/pianist to record with him.
“She's acutely aware of what I'm after. I tell her all my woes and concerns and dreams. She's really aware and responsive to those types of things,” he says of Bethany, who helps in everything from management to publicity for The Sweeplings. “I was upstairs in the studio area I set up working on some songs for a project I was singing with another girl at the time, and Bethany called me down and said, 'You got to hear this girl sing. This is the girl that needs to sing those songs.'"
Bethany pitched to Bradley via email, and she initially declined, saying she was busy. But when Dean reached out again several months later, Bradley was more receptive since she had researched the couple to ensure they were legit -- The Deans run photography/video production company Glassjaw Photography, and Bradley is a professional photographer herself. After meeting for a three-day whirlwind songwriting session, Dean and Bradley discovered they had what Dean calls a “magical chemistry” for songwriting. Following 18 months of much emailing, Skyping and home recording, The Sweeplings recorded an EP, and then their debut album, Rise & Fall, which they released in Aug. 2015 on their own Marrow MP label.
So far The Sweeplings have gotten props from tastemakers like NPR, which premiered Rise & Fall track “Carry Me Home” in July 2015, and iTunes, which named the tune one of the top 25 best songs of 2015 in the singer/songwriter category. They have also landed such sync deals as ABC Family using their song “In Too Deep” for a promo clip for teen drama The Fosters and Lands’ End picking up the pair’s Christmas track, “Snow May Be Falling,” for a holiday promo. Today, the duo is premiering the video for another Rise & Fall song, “Under Your Spell,” exclusively on Billboard. Watch the video below:
Dean calls “Under Your Spell” “a classic tale of good and evil… It's like the sonic representation of what everybody goes through spiritually, mentally throughout their life. The struggle between are you going to listen to the voice in one ear or are you going to listen to the voice in the other, and which one wins that battle and that constant push and pull.
“Our sound is kind of a blending of a Pacific Northwest flavor meets like this Southern soul,” he says. “Our goal is to create something that's timeless in a way and cinematic in quality.” The geographical influences come from the Deans residing in Huntsville, Ala., and Bradley and her husband, Eric, living in Spokane, Wash. Given the miles that separate them, it’s impressive that Dean and Bradley craft songs that sound so intimate -- it’s as if every note was recorded with them standing right beside each other. Dean credits his and Bradley’s spouses for enabling the duo to mine their creative passions.
“It's a four-person team,” he says of how the Deans and the Bradleys work together to make The Sweeplings a success. “Cami and I are the songwriters and the singers, and my wife and Cami’s husband are like the production team/technical staff. We do all of the videos … We've recorded everything on our own, and it's been a blessing of technology, thank God, and a lot of hard work and effort between all of us to plan and execute it all.”
The Sweeplings are now seeking a touring slot with a band with a similar musical style (the pair is represented by United Talent Agency). Dean says more sync options look like they will come to fruition within the next few months. And a White co-write just might surface on the next Sweeplings album.
“I reached out to John probably a couple weeks ago,” says Dean. “We talk periodically through text and kind of check in, so I was like, ‘I know you're busy, but I got this song I'm kind of stumped on it. I think it'd be suited well for you to give us your input … it feels like now may be a good time for us to rekindle and work together. He's the most kind and gracious person I've ever met in the music business, so he's been really good to me and a great mentor. We're excited about the opportunity to work together.”