About Kevin Lucas
Kevin Lucas was born in Palos Hills, IL, a southwest suburb of Chicago with approximately 17,000 residents. . His musical aspirations began at age 7, 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 7th grade a mere 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 number 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® Award Winning South African flute artist Wouter Kellerman with additional musical appearances by Paul Speer, Ricky Kej, Manoj George, Neecia Marjolly, and Alexis D’Souza. "Echoes in the Sand" was their highly anticipated latest CD release, produced and published by Kej at Raveolution Studios in India. 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 3 silver medals at the Global Music Awards and has also garnered over 30 nominations to date across several categories ranging from Music Video, World Music, Instrumental, to 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 Award, and the song "Sunrise Over Little Egypt" placed as 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. He 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®Award 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 peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Charts in the World Music Category. He is also proud and eager 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 one complete take! The goal of the arrangement was to keep the integrity of the original song yet also feature Kevin Lucas' unique percussion style. 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. Stay tuned for more info!
Echoes In The Sand CD Reviews/Press
“The glue that ultimately holds this wonderful album together is the extraordinary Vibraphone, Marimba and percussion work of Kevin Lucas, who is in my opinion the most talented percussionist since Lionel Hampton, Ginger Baker and Tito Puente.”
— Tim Battersby, The Huffington Post
“Kevin Lucas reinvents the marimba as a showpiece instrument. ”
— Timothy Abbot, Sound Profile Magazine
“Somehow, the Kevin Lucas Orchestra has distilled four thousand years of desert history into one amazing recording. The Middle Eastern themes are bright and energetic when need be and the reverence to ancient times is welcomed. Every song is animated and they convey their enthusiasm effortlessly. Highly recommended. ”
— R J Lannan (Zone Music Reporter)
“Kevin Lucas is a consummate musician and composer, encompassing the rigours and discipline of his classical training to the creativity of creating music that crosses cultural borders and touches the soul.”
— Wouter Kellerman- Grammy Award Winning Artist and #1 Billboard Artist
“To see Kevin Lucas in action only supports my claim of his genius. ”
— John Newell, The Global Bass Experience
“Kevin Lucas has taken percussion to a whole new level, groove and musical intensity meets Mixed Martial Arts! -”
— Scott Healy, musician, the Conan O'Brien Band