Kevin Gullickson’s decision to keep the cool moniker of his newly disbanded group Radio Drive when he launched his solo career in 2009 proved to be prophetic. Forging an uplifting, sonically eclectic vibe best described as “motivational rock,” the prolific singer/songwriter’s first three releases—Dream The Impossible (2009), Life Today (2010) and I Can See The World From Here—received impressive reviews around the globe and extensive airplay on online, college and indie stations in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Life Today also hit the Top 40 charts on CJSW Radio in Calgary, Canada. Expanding his rich palette of sounds even further, Gullickson’s latest Radio Drive project finds the multi-talented artist firmly declaring that This Is Our Time.
While it’s rare for an indie artist just starting to build a following to put out new albums so frequently, Gullickson’s always eager to share his latest sonic discoveries and lyrics that aim to uplift individuals in a time where so many feel deep despair. Like his previous recording, the new 11 track collection was mixed and mastered by Grammy Award winner Gene Paul, son of the legendary Les Paul, who has worked similar magic for many years with legends like Led Zeppelin, Paul Simon, Rolling Stones, Bono and John Coltrane. In an honest assessment of his growth as a writer and producer, Gullickson believes that the songs and production on This Is Our Time are more developed than on his previous efforts.
“I think with the first two CDs I tried to keep within a song structure,” he says. “It’s good to know the rules but after a while, you’ve got to break them. The most popular songs on Life Today were also the most creative ones—which taught me that if I let go of the calculated song structure and let the song express itself and take its own direction, I would be giving the song more freedom. This time, I also spent more time searching for new and different sounds that worked within the songs. I love working with MIDI and have extensive sound libraries. I’ve added more dimension to the guitar parts, looking for FX to add the right flavor to the part.”
The other element that’s immediately compelling on This Is Our Time is Gullickson’s clever way with encouraging, inspiring words. On the bluesy electric rocker “Borders,” he urges listeners to “Let your imagination take you far away/Beyond the confines of your only mind…Beyond the Borders you define.” On the trippy and hypnotic edgy pop tune “Life Is For Living,” Gullickson sings, “You planned and prepared for this day/Tired of Being A Spectator, it’s time to play…Life is For Living…Get your game on and participate.” And on the shuffling, keyboard and guitar driven “New Direction” (a piece very much inspired by John Lennon), he reflects, “Every Year, every step, needs a new beginning.” The singer captures the overall positive minded theme of the album on the hard driving title track: “This is our time to come alive inside/Do more than survive/Time to thrive.”
Gullickson brings a rich musical history to his work with Radio Drive. Early on, he received radio play in his hometown of Rochester, Minnesota and followed up with a single that aired on stations in the Twin Cities. He traveled throughout Europe to develop his own sound and style which he later developed with The Blokes—a band that achieved instant success on the Minneapolis/St. Paul club scene, including First Avenue. The singer later moved to NYC where he continued writing, recording and playing clubs in Greenwich Village as a solo musician. During this time, he received interest from five major record companies and several Grammy winning producers. He set music aside after various disappointments but roared back as the guiding force of Radio Drive. In November 2009, the song “One Life To Give” from his debut Dream the Impossible was chosen to represent Sudan Hope, a humanitarian effort to help the people of Sudan. He appeared at a Hollywood fundraiser to perform this song live.
“It seems that the songs and title of each album are a reflection of my life at that time,” says Gullickson. “Dream the Impossible was about reviving the dream of making music, which I had put on hold for a few years. Likewise, Life Today was about enjoying life and some of the things that define it. For me, This Is Our Time is a declaration that this is my time as an artist. I’m ready to bust through the other side and take charge of my life and the direction it’s going. For years I thought life was something that just happened. But this last year I’ve seen my part and my responsibility in shaping my future. It’s exciting and empowering and I’m ready for it!”
With the release of "This is Our Time" in May of 2012, radio play began immediately. To date songs have been played in the USA, Canada, Europe and South America. Radio Drive has been featured artist on several stations including live interviews.
Critics in the US and Europe began taking notice and writing great reviews of "This is our Time".
“This Is Our Time is one of the best albums we have reviewed this year” NeuFutur Magazine, April 2012
“This is Our Time is certainly an album which has a lot to offer. There is variety and some damn good pop music”. Music Emission, April 2012
"...eleven excellently catchy tunes...for guaranteed satisfaction from this talented one-man music machine." MetalliVille, UK Webzine - June 2012
"If you like your melodic rock well- crafted and well performed with a positive, inoffensive, message, than Radio Drive's This Is Our Time is perfect for you” Danger Dog Music Reviews, Aug 2012
Kevin began production of his first professionally produced video for "Never", which was released in October of 2012. The video has been posted on several sites around the world and has received thousands of views on Youtube. Since then videos have been made for "New Direction" and "Borders" with "New Direction" receiving an award on Beat100 music and video site.
The Hollywood music awards also took notice of Kevin's song writing and nominated "Never" as best Alternative song for 2012.
The year of 2013 saw Kevin working on the production of his song "A Taste of Heaven". He made the connection with producer Chris Garcia (Celine Dion, Demi Lovato, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears) to arrange and record the song, as well as adding additional synth parts and playing the bass guitar on the song. Guitarist Nick Lashley who has played with artists such as Alanis Morissette, Avril Lavigne, and David Archuleta, was also brought in as well as L.A. session drummer Ben Rose. Once Gullickson had added his vocals and the final mix was completed by Tom Polce (Bob Dylan) with mastering completed by Grammy award winner Gene Paul, the single was ready to persuade the world and it seems has been instantly taken to.
"A Taste of Heaven" was released in February 2014 and took off big with a nomination by the Hollywood Music Awards for best Alternative song for 2014. Radio stations and online stations began adding Kevin's song to their playlist including getting the attention of Grammy award winner Al Walser who added the song to his show "Al Walser's Weekly Top20", the World's Number 1 Weekly Syndicated Countdown show out of Hollywood CA, broadcast on over 80 radio stations in over 50 countries weekly, attracting over 12.5 million listeners worldwide. The last week of February Radio Drive made the Top 10 Indie Artists on TRS247 Radio broadcasting from NYC.
Also, Kevin was notified that "A Taste of Heaven" will be added to the CBS Radio playlist for their "Tomorrow's Hits Today" show. In addition, Grammy Award winner and Platinum Recording Artist, Oliver Sean added Kevin's song to the WOA FM99 Radio Show broadcasting Internationally with major radio in India and the Middle East.
Radio Drive has been trending and creating a buzz on Reverb Nation, the internationally acclaimed music site. For the last several weeks, Radio Drive has been at #1 on the Alternative music chart for St. Paul, MN and climbing the National chart at #7 and Global at #13 (as of this writing).
Rave reviews over "A Taste of Heaven" have been coming in from notable music industry writers, such as Chuck Taylor, former Editor and writer for Billboard Magazine. Chuck writes:
“Radio Drive’s “A Taste Of Heaven” is a joyous anthem that exudes a blaze of glorious melodic sunshine, with a chorus so catchy you’ll be singing it in the shower. Lead vocalist Kevin Gullickson delivers the goods with feel-good pluck, while kaleidoscopic.” Chuck Taylor, Feb 2014.
Freelance Journalist and Magazine Editor, Devon Jackson (Rolling Stone Magazine, Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly) describes Radio Drive's song "A Taste of Heaven" as:
"Slick pop-ready rock in the vein of Depesche Mode via Coldplay". He goes on to write "A Taste of Heaven is a very catchy song...It's a quality song..." Devon Jackson, March 2014.
As Kevin continues to promote his music, we can expect more radio stations adding his songs, more rave reviews and more fans being taken with "A Taste of Heaven".