Contemporary Instrumental;New Age;World
Marimba, Percussion, Drums, Xylophone
Kevin Lucas was born in Palos Hills, a Chicago suburb. His musical aspirations began at age seven, when he learned to play the piano. His love for percussion began in elementary school, where he started playing in the 5th grade. At a young age he displayed a passion and tenacity for music that was clearly evident when he broke his arm in the seventh grade two days before a xylophone competition. After leaving the hospital, he came to school and played his solo with one just arm, receiving a perfect score from the judges. He started playing marimba and vibes while a student at Lockport High School. After high school, he attended Illinois State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in percussion performance, and then was awarded a second bachelor’s degree in education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Kevin then earned a master’s degree in percussion performance from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Kevin has won many awards as both a performer and producer. He is a former member of the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps front line keyboard ensemble, earning the 1994 DCI World Championship for Percussion Ensemble. He also won both the Illinois State University and the Southern Illinois University classical solo concerto contests in 1994 and 1998, and performed with both orchestras as a marimba soloist, having competed against internationally acclaimed pianists and string players. In 1997, he placed second in the United States in concert hall style solo percussion at the collegiate level in the Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Competition, defeating international champions from China and Russia.
In 1996, the Kevin Lucas Orchestra was formed, as an eclectic tribal/contemporary rock band featuring sax, guitar, drums, vocals, and of course the marimba – making it a truly unique musical experience. The Orchestra released their first CD, LOST IN A DISTANT LANDSCAPE, in 1997, and followed this with the release of the CD GRAVEYARD SUMMER SKY, CARPE NOCTEM, ANCIENT SKIES, and GREEN AND BLUE.
In 2003, he performed with 1980’s legend, Christopher Cross, on a Mississippi River Barge in Cape Girardeau, MO. Kevin has had equal success after moving to the Pop genre. The Kevin Lucas Orchestra was the 2008 New Music Weekly Magazine 'College Radio Breakthrough Artist of the Year'. In 2009 they won the People's Music Award in London in the Pop category. In 2011 they were one of the winners of the Billboard Magazine Songwriting Contest. The Kevin Lucas Orchestra pop single "Here I Am," broke the Top 40 on the FMQB national radio chart in 2012, topping off at #37. The Orchestra gradually transitioned to a more New Age/Instrumental genre, featuring Kevin Lucas primarily as a solo act and highlighting his talents as a highly skilled mallet percussionist, while also keeping true to their tribal influenced musical roots.
In 2013, REVELATIONS was released, which featured a post apocalyptic theme, and this was followed in 2015 by the release of ECHOES IN THE SAND, a New Age-influenced CD produced by Grammy® Award winning Artist Ricky Kej of India and featuring contributions by Grammy® Winning South African flute artist Wouter Kellerman, with additional appearances by Paul Speer, Ricky Kej, Manoj George, Neecia Marjolly, and Alexis D’Souza. This mostly instrumental contemporary album transcends through many different musical styles while featuring Kevin's virtuosic mallet percussion skills. In 2015, ECHOES IN THE SAND received three silver medals at the Global Music Awards, and has garnered over 30 nominations across several categories: Music Video, World Music, Instrumental, and Performance.
Kevin's arrangement of the Holiday classic "Greensleeves," as well as his single "New World Orchestra," were both nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Awards, and the song"Sunrise Over Little Egypt," was a finalist in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Three other tracks, "Echoes in the Sand" and "Oceans Rising," also placed in the semi-finals for the International Songwriting Competition.
In 2016, the Orchestra won the American Songwriting Award in the Adult Alternative category for their song "New World Orchestra," as well as winning a silver medal award in the Global Music Awards for Kevin's arrangement of "Greensleeves," and also received a total of 10 nominations across multiple categories. In addition, they were nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award for "Greensleeves," with Kevin earning recognition for his creativity in infusing jazz, tribal and orchestral stylings to the arrangement while incorporating many guest artists including Rocio Moron on violin, Mel Goot on piano, and Paul Speer on guitar. It was mixed and mastered by Vanil Veigas at Raveolution Studios.
The Kevin Lucas Orchestra video for the song "Echoes in the Sand" was nominated for a Global Peace Song Award, which was judged by renowned musicians, including Stewart Copeland of The Police.
As a live performer, Kevin has performed nationally and internationally, and also continues to perform locally in the Southern Illinois music scene. His live performances are highly intense, energetic, passionate, emotionally evocative and often introduce many first time listeners to the distinctive sounds of the marimba, a unique and often rare instrument today that is not typically associated with contemporary and New Age musical genres. Kevin's musical stylings range from Contemporary Instrumental to Tribal, Pop, and from New Age to World.
Kevin incorporates a multitude of percussion instruments in his performances, equally at home and highly skilled on hand percussion instruments as well as mallet percussion, often including congas, bongos, toms, as well as timpani and vibraphone, just to name a few. He has had the honor of collaborating with Grammy® nominated and/or winning artists from all over the globe. Kevin is featured on marimba and percussion on Wouter Kellerman's Grammy® nominated release LOVE LANGUAGE, that reached #1 on the Billboard World Music charts. He is also proud to give back to the community, often performing at charitable events as well as his beloved annual performance tour of Southern Illinois nursing homes called "Operation Give Hope", bringing his music to elderly nursing home patients, and an annual homeless benefit concert for Good Samaritan House shelter.
In 2017, The Kevin Lucas Orchestra further transitioned and is now the Kevin Lucas Experience, with Kevin performing predominantly as a solo performer - yet featuring frequent collaborations with award-winning artists from across the globe.
In November, 2017 he released a marimba and percussion based instrumental remake of the 80's hit song "Africa" by Toto, featuring Alek Razdan on saxophone and Wouter Kellerman on flute. It was arranged by Lucas and Jeff Moore, one of Kevin's former teachers. It was mixed and mastered by Ricky Kej at Raveolution Studios. Kej also added tabla and additional percussion. Dave Gross is featured on Hammond B3 organ as well as additional percussion. Jerome Lawrence is featured on bass. The live studio performance of "Africa" was filmed and recorded at Misunderstudio in Murphysboro, IL by filmmaker Dan Johnson. Kevin recorded his solo tracks live in the studio during the video session and played the solos in a single take. In February, 2018, "Africa" earned a Silver Medal at the Global Music Awards.
In February 2018, "Africa" won a silver medal award in the Global Music Awards. The arrangement is expected to be submitted as an entry in the 61st Grammy ® Awards in 2018.
In 2020 Kevin collaborated with Billboard top 10 songwriter and producer Grant Maloy Smith on a remake of his song "Cahokia Winds," which pays tribute to the lost Native American tribe of the same name. The result is a powerful new arrangement from Smith and two amazing marimba solos from Kevin. Spotify Link to the song.
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