rick denzien radiate

Review & Interview: Radiate by Rick Denzien

Rick Denzien’s latest album, Radiate, dropped April 12, 2022. It’s the artist’s first full album since 2019 and comes two years after his last single “More”. The album sends us back to the early eras of the 80s and 90s. Radiate features 15 songs with nostalgic sounds from the arrangements to Denzien’s amazing vocals. You’re sure to find your next favorite song in the mix.

Radiate opens with “Girl in the Pew” which happens to be one of the catchiest songs we have heard lately. It’s upbeat and fun with some Friends soundtrack vibes. Seriously, just listen to that beat and tell us you don’t think 90s sitcom or rom-coms.

“Always the Same” has this awesome dark yet fun vibe to it similar to many songs of the late 80s. It’s a wonderful mix with a phenomenal electric guitar vibing toward the end. The third song, “I Don’t Need Nobody”, screams 90s to us and “Tsai” is a perfectly meshed arrangement that really brings out Denzien’s vocals. 

“Radiate” has this country-esque intro giving it this new Southern Rock vibe that we are totally here for. In a way, it reminds us of Brantley Gilbert. It’s a fun song immediately followed by the slow-moving “One Day in the Rain”. With emotional lyrics and a perfect percussion complementing it, it’s no wonder the song is already one of the more popular songs off the album.

While “We Are One” is the most popular song off Radiate with over 15,000 plays on Spotify, our favorite has to be “Something I Need” which reminded us heavily of classic southern rock bands of the 80s. There are so many other great songs on this album and you definitely should give it a listen. 

Rick Denzien draws inspiration from Peter Gabriel, The Chicks, and Stone Gossett as he ventures further on his journey into the genres of acoustic and alternative rock. For more on this artist, follow his socials linked below.

Q&A with Rick Denzien

Q: “One Day in the Rain” is a beautiful song. What inspired it?

RD: Thanks! This one I wrote on piano, which is rare for me.  I was at this church in my hometown.  They had an upright grand piano, and when nobody was around, I would try to play it.  Eventually I worked out the piano part and most of the words came out at the same time. I thought it was finished, it was like my 20th song or something like that, so I was very proud of it.  My buddy helped me make a crappy recording and the song was off to one of those big song contests. Surprise, the song placed highly, but on reflection felt the song was incomplete somehow.

Then I was in a relationship where I would say something like “light” but the other person would hear “dark” so that was difficult to navigate.  I was pretty much a nihilist at the time, didn’t really think there was going to be a future for me, what with all the wars, threat of nuclear annihilation and the climate crisis.  So, I did contemplate the knife as the song says – nothingness: “Silver blade on my nightstand A little movement of my right hand”  so that was a huge moment for me.  The rest of the line goes up like a prayer in smoke, but bounces off the walls in rye irony: “Won’t you keep me safe from harm? Keep me like your lucky charm – your lucky charm.”   

Life gave me more to complete the song. That church was converted to a performing arts theatre, and guess I was converted too…. went back & performed in concert there a couple of years ago while out on tour – the piano was still in the building.

Q: What’s your typical creative process like?

RD: Typical. Not! How about a complete out of body experience that was the start of “Far Below”. Or the tragic car crash that took the life of Jennifer and her mother that became “Water Falling”.  Or the too many school shootings that started “Radiate”. I can only imagine the pain and suffering, even when it intersects my path for a time. Then there are love songs like “Girl in the Pew”, “Tsai”, and “More” which are all about my love(s) So, my process is trying to feel, disadvantaged as I might be. Being able to identify with, empathize with, and feel with the people in these stories and the love behind them.

Q: We love your vocals! Who are your biggest influences?

RD: Thanks!  Honestly, I struggle with my vocals.  As a kid I got a Northern Pike bone caught in my throat at dinner. My parents rushed me to the hospital and the family doctor fished it out and after more examination of my throat asked, “You’re not going to be a singer are you? I wouldn’t recommend it.”  Turns out I have a sort of pocket in my throat that things like fishbones get stuck in very easily. So weird that he asked me that, I couldn’t even conceive of singing anything at the time. Had to have a sinus operation because I was getting sore throats all the time. It is very hard to pin down a vocal influence, I’ve always just tried to be myself and not copy anyone

Q: Was there a pivotal moment in your life where you decided to become a musician?

RD: I think the moment was in physics class when we got to multiple vector calculations.  Went right down to guidance and signed up for music and theatre all day long.  Luckily, all my high school requirements were met my junior year. Senior year it was period after period of music and a smidge of theater, I loved working on the sets & lighting plots.

One of my favorite reads is Scientific American and I love tech of all sorts. My album “Laser Writing On The Moon” has many references to Astro Physics like the title track and “Singularity.”  Earlier this year I was interviewed by Chuck Nice from Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Star Talk Show talking about my experiences out on the road with our EV, electric vehicle. “Musicians Take A Tesla”, was one of the headlines, like we stole it or something.

Q: If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

RD: Wow – I don’t know – tough one. There are so many great writers.  Really. Classics of course like: In pop, probably Sir Paul McCartney; in country, Jeffery Steel; in folk, Noel Paul Stookey, in rap, KGR and many more.

Q: What is coming up next for you?

RD: Radiate is in the Grammy entry process now, so we are paying attention to that.  Fans may visit RickDenzien.BandCamp.com and listen to the entire album and buy a physical copy.  It is a great collector’s piece.  Inside the cover is a 20-page booklet with all the words and liner notes for all 15 songs. I will sign it for you before they ship it.  The new CD is called “Blinded Eyes” it is a double CD Album with 21 songs, which is in process.  Some of the music videos are coming out already. And I perform frequently on the internet and live gigs.

Reviewed & Interviewed by Dana L. Sullivan





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