{Behind The Music} Radio Drive on Humanity

Kevin Gullickson Radio Drive 2015

“Music has such a positive impact on me. It speaks to me on such a deep level. As a songwriter, I consider it an honor to connect with people through music and to meet them at a deep level.” @radiodrivemusic

Listen to the interview :http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2015/08/27/episode-252-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax

Jacqueline Jax logo photoGETTING TO KNOW RADIO DRIVE
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio

Music is very important…

I love listening to music and I love creating music. Music has such a positive impact on me. It speaks to me on such a deep level. As a songwriter, I consider it an honor to connect with people through music and to meet them at a deep level.

“Humanity” is…

a song I originally wrote and released back in 2011. A producer named Stuart Epps heard it online and contacted me. He wanted to revise the song and produce it. Stuart has worked with some major artists over the years such as Oasis, George Harrison, Led Zeppelin, Bill Wyman and more. So, when Stuart contacted me, I was thrilled and honoured. I got to work at my home studio and recorded all the tracks myself, playing all the instruments. I sent him 50 tracks to work with, which I know is crazy excessive. I like to record a bunch of parts, then start muting tracks and see where the song goes. Several tracks were optional and some were different variations of the same part. For example, the guitar part had three different sounds; four vocal parts for texturing and different sounds for the keyboard. In the tracks I sent him, there were various harmonies including tracks with my wife and daughter singing. Stuart worked his production magic and brought it all together. I am not sure how many tracks he ended up using, but I am very pleased with the results.

What’s great and special about “Humanity” is…

that it is something entirely different for me. I am focusing more on the message in the song, rather than the song itself. What I mean is I would like people to focus more on the message of the song instead of the guitar part, the vocals or even the production. I kept the song very simple, middle-of-the-road type, because I wanted it to be universal in order to connect with people. I think it would appeal to music lovers of all genres. I think the message is something everyone can relate to.

The message in the song is very clear – we are all one family: The human race. We are a family and we should act like one by loving and accepting each other. Let’s not let differences cause division. Instead let’s respect differences in each other and simply accept others for who they are. We should not try to mold them into “our” image or force them into “our” beliefs. Burt Bacharach said it well “what the world needs now is love sweet love”. The Beatles sang the same message “All you need is love”. I am simply echoing what others have said.

In order to market this new song…

I have hired a promotion company in the UK to do a massive radio campaign. I am still working with another radio promotion company that has been getting my previous song “A Taste of Heaven” on radio in Europe. They have had great results, lots of radio play especially in France and Russia. Also, I will market and promote this song through social media, webzines and blogs.

This fall, our band will accomplish great things…

since we took the summer off and now we are looking forward to getting back to the clubs. I will continue writing new songs and hopefully work with Stuart Epps again. My management team at Artista Group is working on a tour. That is a huge undertaking, so we will see how that develops.

The music business is not…

what it used to be. First, an artist has to prove himself before a label and after a management or booking agency will take notice of it and start working with him or her. A lot falls on the artist now instead of the companies. As an indie artist, I find myself spending hours promoting and managing details, when I would rather be spending time writing and recording songs. Personally, I like the idea of a record company taking on the artist, developing them, investing in them, promoting, etc. That way the artist can just focus on the music.

Being an artist is hard financially…

Another huge difference is that most artists are not making money from CDs and song sales because of platforms such as Youtube and so many online sites that stream music. For someone who listens to music, that is great. For example, I subscribed to Spotify. I can listen to almost any song. I can also go on Youtube and hear any song, watch concerts and videos. I am amazed at what is out there. It is great for me as a listener, but for me as an artist, it is a little different. I get paid .01 cents each time my song is streamed. That is not much. I have read articles supporting the idea of musicians giving away their music online. It seems to be the direction it is going. I am not quite there yet, although I do have several sites where you can hear my entire songs for free, such as Spotify.

Artists are making money…

through live performance and concerts. Also, they are making money selling merchandise at the shows. You are seeing this even with major artists. Look at the earnings for bands like the Stones and U2 on their recent tour. I am not sure how their concert revenues competed with the CD sales, but it is definitely impressive. I have read articles showing how CD sales have declined over the years and concert revenue has increased.

Working in the music industry can be a huge challenge…

because it puts more work and responsibility on the artist. On the other hand, artists have more freedom with their music. They can develop a niche fan base with whatever genre they want. Then they can connect with these fans through the internet. They can tour when they want to. No one tells them what to do.

I overcome the hurdles and pitfalls coming along with a job in the music industry by…

staying positive and learning as much as you can. I think a person has to understand this new arena for musicians and this new business structure for the industry and work it to her or his advantage. Persistence and determination are key nowadays. Just keep doing what you are doing. Do something everyday to advance your career. Make a call, send an email, write a song. In time you will get better at it, you will start engaging with people, and soon you are bound to achieve some level of success.

I would release full albums over singles if…

time and resources were not an object. There is so much music I want to record, produce and release. The cost for a full CD is prohibitive for some indie artists. You want to release an excellent product. That is the case with me. So for now, I have been focusing on releasing singles. I feel it is better to release one amazing song with stellar production, than a full CD of so-so songs with terrible production. However, a full CD allows you to put out a couple “pop tunes” and then have a few songs that are more “artistic”, which are referred by people as “deep album cuts”. Those are typically the ones I really like. That is when the songwriter can really use his or her artistic license and write a song that does not conform to the norms. These are the ones you will not hear on the radio. However, these are usually the ones the artists create to present an artistic expression of their genius.

Social media is great… 

I especially love Facebook and Twitter. I am still jazzed about connecting with people from around the country and around the world. That will never get old for me. Also, all the music communities online are great. I am part of a few such as Music X Ray, where I was able to connect with Stuart Epps, Reverb Nation and many others. I would say one of the biggest challenges for me coming along the use of social media is that I am not the best at maintaining Facebook. I am still learning how to do simple things there. Another challenge is the time it takes. I love connecting with people online, but it does take time. I can easily spend a whole afternoon or evening online. The internet has totally changed the music business. You could say the internet is the modern musicians stage to perform and share their music with the world. Anyone anywhere can connect with people around the world. Look at me, for example, I am connecting with AVA Live Radio in Florida and together we are connecting with people around the world. I love it.

Music marketing is huge…

if you want to succeed as a business in the music industry. You have to see your band as a company and your music as a product. Then, just like any commodity, you have to develop a brand and an image and start a campaign. I have worked with a few advisors about the marketing plan and the branding of Radio Drive. We got a logo, which I think is important. We captured some good pictures of the band during live performances to market. We also have an impressive EPK (electronic press kit), which includes bio, pix, one sheet of accomplishments, etc.

The rule is there are no rules about being trendy or current…

and that is the funny thing about the music industry. For example, here you have a band working hard at being current and trendy and never gets anywhere. On the other side, there is another band playing whatever they want and they take off and make it big. There has always been that balance of being an artist on the one hand and being current and trendy on the other hand. It is great when a band or musician can balance them both. I think U2 and Coldplay are two bands that manage to have the best of both. It helps having a producer you can work with to develop a sound that is new and fresh. The best thing I have found to be the most helpful in songwriting is to be true to yourself. When you get into that zone of who you are as a musician or songwriter is when the magic happens. People will pick up on that and like your music whether it is current and trendy or not.

I am thankful to have a home studio because…

I can spend endless hours writing songs and developing them. I play all the instruments on my recordings, which helps a lot. This allows me to work at odd hours without any scheduling restrictions. When I get a song idea, I always try to capture it by recording the gist with my iPhone. Then, I come back to it later and start recording parts, perhaps the piano or guitar part first. After, I start building from there. Other times, I deliberately sit down to work on music. I pick up the guitar or sit at the piano and start messing around. I always come up with something. From there, I start developing the song. Some songs just do not make it after I come back to them. Therefore, I abandon these and keep the ones that seem to come to life.

I have learned my limitations…

while recording, mixing and mastering. I can record all the parts well enough, but I cannot mix and master it like the pros. For that reason, I send my files to someone who can. In the past I have worked with famous producers like Gene Paul (Grammy Award winning son of legendary Les Paul), Chris Garcia (credits include Adele, Katy Perry, Celin Dion) and now recently Stuart Epps (credits include George Harrison, Oasis, Led Zeppelin).

I create my videos with the help of…

a video footage website I am subscribed to, where I can download unlimited video clips. I will have some people shoot some video with my iPhone for myself or for the band. Then, I hire someone to edit the video. I use an online service called ODesk where you can connect with people around the world to work with. I upload the video files to a file share, they download it, put it all together and upload the final video. For my video “New Direction” I worked with a guy in Alexandria, Egypt. For “A Taste of Heaven”, I hired someone in Russia. Both videos turned out great and have aired on NBC Comcast across the USA on a show called Bongo Boy TV. Plus both have won video awards on Beat100.com.

I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…

Paul McCartney. However, that is a great question. So many people come to mind. Off the top of my head, I think Paul is one of the most amazing and influential songwriters and musicians in contemporary history. He seems like such a down-to-earth guy. It would be great to just hang out with him and get acquainted.

I continue to challenge myself…

by saying “yes” to an opportunity and then figuring out how I am going to do it. That really puts me into the game real fast. I am also not allowing myself to become discouraged. I choose to be hopeful and always expect something positive. However, I have to say “no” to a lot of things in order to focus on music. Moreover, I challenge myself by setting time to write and develop songs and practice my instruments and vocal exercises.

I am not afraid of my future because…

I am now very optimistic and hopeful. Over the years I have had many fears such as the fear of failure, a financial ruin, working a dead-end job, never seeing my dreams realized, etc. Thankfully, over the time, these fears have all fallen away. Things always work out good and it is always for the best.

My personal definition of success is…

to know who you are and to fulfill your purpose with honor and excellence. Even in the little things, always doing the best job you can.

My greatest success happened about 7 years ago…

when I was in a band that I put together. I spent 6 months advertising for musicians, auditioning, then rehearsing and finally playing clubs. We were an instant success on the club scene. About two months after we were playing clubs, the band staged a mutiny. They kicked me out and decided to become a heavy metal band. I was devastated. Instead of letting that ruin me, I decided to continue as a solo artist. I bought some recording software and began working on my own sound and style. I could play all the instruments except lead guitar. I pressed in and began practicing lead guitar at least an hour every day. After that, I started recording and releasing CDs, getting radio play and giving great reviews. I consider this to be one of my greatest success because I did not give up. I did not become bitter and quit and then blame those guys for my ruin. Instead, I pulled myself together and focused on what the next step was. It was the best thing I have done musically.

My overall life goal is…

to have a fully satisfied life and to be surrounded by family and friends as well as be rich in relationships. I want to be the best influence on those around me and those I engage with.

My overall career goal is…

to have the freedom and resources to write, record and perform excellent music.

In order to move forward towards my goal…

1) I challenge myself to do the best with the resources that I have, such as time and money. I need to be very diligent, focused and wise with my time and money. I refuse to complain and make excuses. Instead, I make the best with the time and money I have and devote it to music.

2) I work at staying balanced and keeping my priorities right on every level because I have found it can be so easy to become self-absorbed, especially in the music industry. I stay physically balanced by eating right, knowing when to power down and get some rest, taking care of my voice, etc. I stay socially balanced by getting out of my “man cave studio” and connecting with friends, having dates with my wife and spending some quality time with my family. Finally, I stay balanced spiritually through my relationship with God and by loving people as well as giving my time and money to charity work.

3) I make the right choice to be hopeful and optimistic. My family and I always quote a line from the movie Galaxy Quest: “Never give up, never surrender”. Regardless what the circumstances say, I know I will overcome the obstacles. Some days can be a real challenge, but I choose to focus on the positive and I always keep moving on.

Radio Drive Social Media :

You can listen to Radio Drive’s music at http://www.reverbnation.com/radiodrive
You can purchase Radio Drive’s “Humanity” at: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/radiodrive7

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