Local overcomes disability to sing of blessings

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 18, 2010

Born legally blind, Jeremy Bradley has never let his disability stand in the way of sharing his Christian message.

Bradley can’t read scripture from the Bible. Instead he expresses his feelings in songs.

An aspiring gospel music artist, Bradley uses music to reach believers and unbelievers.

“I can feel how the audience is reacting,” Bradley said. “I can’t see the looks on their faces, but I can sense if I’m reaching them.”

Bradley, 34, discovered his love and affinity for music at 6 when he got a toy piano as a gift. From that time on, Bradley said there has rarely been a time when music wasn’t a part of his life and testimony.

His voice isn’t his only instrument; he also plays piano.

“I started playing on (the toy piano), and everyone says I never wanted to stop,” Bradley said. “When I went to school at the Mississippi School for the Blind, I got involved in chorus and music there and have never stopped.”

At first, music of any type was appealing, but as Bradley grew as a Christian, it was Christian music toward which that he gravitated.

“I enjoy all types of Christian music, hymns, gospel, everything,” Bradley said. “What I look for in a song is the message and how it is speaks to me and my audience.”

Locally, Bradley shares his talent at his home church, Greater New Jerusalem Apostolic Healing Temple in Fayette and has been a guest performer at other local churches.

When singing for crowds, Bradley said he’s never experienced nerves, even when he was young. Bradley said he is calmed by faith that God is in control.

“God gave me the talent and ability to sing and reach people with music,” Bradley said. “As long as I’m doing His work, he keeps me calm.”

Bradley’s wife Tracy Bradley said watching and listening to her husband sing has been an inspiration for her to pursue a deeper Christian relationship. When she gets discouraged, she doesn’t have to look far for encouragement.

“He is constantly telling me that God has a plan,” Tracy Bradley said. “Sometimes he’ll quote just the right verse or just sing a song that encourages me.”

He also sings during Bible study classes hosted by Jeffersonian Apartments in Natchez.

The Rev. Sonja Granger and her husband the Rev. James Granger, from Bethel Church in Vidalia, lead the study. Sonja Granger said it is uplifting to have someone with Bradley’s talent dedicated to “doing work to grow God’s kingdom.”

“God has shown Jeremy favor and blessed him with this particular talent,” Sonja Granger said. “We are all given talents from God, but we are glad Jeremy has chosen to use his God-given talent to praise to the Lord.”

James Granger said too many times talents are used for just the opposite, but he knows Bradley is committed to sharing the Christian message of God’s love.

“He is such humble and committed young man,” Granger said. “We are lucky that he is doing God’s work and not the devil’s work.”

Bradley is constantly listening to music to encourage himself, but he is also looking for music that he believes will impact others.

“Basically the first thing we do when we get up in the mornings is turn on the music, and it is always on until we go to bed,” Tracy Bradley said. “It is uplifting to have something inspirational playing that Jeremy sings along with.”

Sonja Granger said when Jeremy Bradley hears a new song he wants to learn, he lets his excitement show.

“There have been several times that he calls me and is just so enthusiastic about a new song,” she said. “He’s on the phone saying ‘Listen to this song. Isn’t it great.’

“He has such a good heart for ministry.”

Bradley said his hope is to be able to record a CD of some of his favorite songs. He said by singing in churches or at local events he is able to reach the congregations and crowds, but having CD to distribute would give him another way to spread his message.

To raise money to record the CD, Bradley hopes to sing at local churches. While he doesn’t charge a fee to sing, he said any sort of love offering collected would be used to record the CD.

Bradley can be contacted at 601-597-6916.