Persistence Pays Off

Passenger Profile: Brad Mersereau

By Kenny Kerner
taxi member success mersereau
His first pro gig was at a college dance way back in 1969. Now, influenced by Chick Corea and Bill Evans, our Passenger Profile this month centers on Brad Mersereau, musician, composer, and philanthropist. Brad has created charitable organizations that have raised more than $1,500,000 in the past seven years to help maintain drug and alcohol sobriety programs in honor of his sister, Laura, who died as a result of alcoholism. This is a story of a man who overcame hardship and turned it into a way to help others around the world.

When did you first discover you were musically inclined?

As a young boy I loved to sing along with the 45 rpm records my father purchased for me.

At what age did you begin playing? What instrument? Did you take lessons or were you self-taught?

I started formal piano lessons at age 7.

When did you first discover that music could actually be a career?

I got a taste in my early 40s playing a regular hotel piano gig.

Do you remember your very first paying gig?

Yes, the Whitman College Alpha Chi sorority hired my trio to play for a 1969 fall dance.

Do you prefer writing in any specific musical genre?

I like writing in the American popular standard song tradition for small jazz ensembles. I also enjoy composing for small sacred choral groups.

Who are some of the people that have influenced your writing through the years?

My publisher describes some of my tunes as being influenced by Bill Evans, Chick Corea, and McCoy Tyner. I agree. On the sacred choral side, Bach and Scriabin are favorites.

Did your sister's passing influence your writing?

Yes, my Laura CD featured eight originals that were about the grieving process and the seasons of life. Tune titles included: "Sunrise," "Arrival," "Sojourn," "Spiritus," "Vision," and "AuRevoir."

My Autumn Waltz CD continued the process with 12 more originals focused on the celebration of life. Tune titles include: "The Autumn Waltz," "Voyager," "Pete's Penguin," "Sanya Grace," "Le Petit Enfant," "Next Dance," and "All Thanks to Thee."

Please describe to TAXI members all over the world, some of the philanthropic activities you're involved with.

My Web site's mission is to make the memory of Laura matter. She died at age 46 due to her alcoholism. In the past seven years we have raised $1,600,000 to fund eight local drug and alcohol sobriety maintenance programs. $800,000 has come from generous matching sources. We raise funds and awareness about addiction.

I am proud to have a Sobriety Anniversary page that documents more than 1,400 collective years of sobriety from 115 dedicated individuals. We fiercely guard all participants' anonymity but as with bricks and mortar 12-step programs, our Web site is another way to lift up their amazing one-day-at-a-time accomplishments. Our Sobriety Pledge page is an offer to youngsters to honor their minds, bodies, and spirits by not smoking, drinking or drugging before their 21st birthdays. In his book, High Society, Joseph A. Califano Jr., says nearly a quarter of the nation's college students meet clinical criteria for alcohol and drug abuse and addiction. A child who reaches age 21 without smoking, using illegal drugs, or abusing alcohol is almost certain never to do so.

With song placements in movies and popular TV shows, why become a TAXI member?

TAXI helped me secure the song placements. I welcome the process. The critiques help me fine tune the forwards to publishers and have helped me achieve my tune placement objectives.

How has TAXI helped you?

TAXI's entire approach has facilitated my persistence factor. I have submitted 50 tunes in the past year. Thirty-five have been rejected and 15 have been forwarded to five different publishers. I now have a five-tune contract with a publisher and future prospects are looking good. What could be better!

Persistence. That's really the name of the game. The longer you try, the better the chances of success. So, stay in the game with TAXI. Let them open some industry doors for you and your music.

See How TAXI Works

"I must recommend it to anyone I think is serious about songwriting."
— Dwight Nichols,
TAXI Member

"TAXI provided real access to a nearly inaccessible industry."
— John Mendoza,
TAXI Member

"I just want a shot, and I feel that TAXI has given that to me."
— Roger Yeardley,
TAXI Member

"I signed a two-song deal with a major Music Library for film and TV."
— Bob Kroeger,
TAXI Member