Rudolf in 2009
|Birth name||Kevin Winston Rudolf|
February 17, 1983 |
New York City, New York
|Genres||Rock, rap rock|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, singer-songwriter, record producer|
|Instruments||Guitar, vocals, bass|
|Labels||Cash Money, Republic Records|
|Associated acts||Lil Wayne, Birdman, Lifehouse, Flo Rida|
|Les Paul Classic "Black Beauty", guitalele|
Kevin Winston Rudolf (born February 17, 1983) is an American musician, singer-songwriter and music producer. Born and raised in New York City, New York, Rudolf began writing songs at a young age. He has written, or co-written every song on each of his albums, as well as writing and producing songs for many of the most popular artists of the era. Rudolf's production skills and guitar playing have also won acclaim. In 2004, Rudolf spent time in Miami working alongside famed producer Timbaland, on songs by Justin Timberlake, The Black-Eyed Peas and Nelly Furtado, among others. He enjoyed his time in Miami, and would later make it his home. His first single, "Let it Rock", did well commercially, achieving multi-platinum status, with sales of over 4 million copies. The lyrics dealt with Rudolf's personal triumph and determination in the face of hardship. A second single, "I Made It", also achieved platinum status, with sales exceeding one million. He has won the influential Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) Pop Music award three times for his songwriting, producing and performing.
Rudolf's songs are known to "cross genres," combining rock and hip hop. He has commented that, while his roots are in rock music, he is open to other influences. "I'm not much of a fan of rap/rock at all. But to make rock music now without realizing the influence hip-hop has had in music is not authentic either." His rock/hip hop anthem, Let it Rock, featuring rapper Lil Wayne, has sold over 4 million copies, and hit the top 10 in countries including the United States, UK, Germany, Canada and Australia.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Discography
- 4 Awards
- 5 Production credits
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Kevin Winston Rudolf was born on February 17, 1983, in New York City, New York, to Ellyn, an American singer, and Stephen, a British disc jockey of English heritage. He grew up an only child on the Upper East Side, his parents divorcing while he was still very young. His middle name, Winston, is an homage to Beatle John Winston Lennon. "My dad... was a DJ at the time in Baltimore. He's British, and emceed some shows for The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. In fact, that's why my middle name is Winston, he named me after John Lennon's middle name. And, of course, mom being a singer, she'd let me come to her gigs and soundchecks. They both really influenced me a lot to be a musician." .
Rudolf has said that his first musical memory is of listening to the Van Halen song 'Jump,' while jumping around the apartment in which he grew up. His first guitar was a gift from his grandfather, who realized that his grandson already "had a passion for [music]." His skills on the instrument improved rapidly. "My mother actually said something really smart to me. She said, 'Whatever you put in, you'll get out,' so I thought, that makes sense...I started practicing a lot."
Rudolf played with several local bands, including an alternative rock group known as 'Paint,' but soon found himself frustrated with the tensions and internal squabbles associated with a band situation. Taking matters into his own hands, Rudolf began creating his own beats and musical tracks, as well as writing the material."
In 2000, Rudolf began work on the group of songs that, nine months later, would form the basis for his major label debut. Written, produced and engineered by Rudolf, and mixed by Mark Saunders, the album took nine months to complete. Rudolf was signed to Madonna's record label, Maverick, which released the album under the pseudonym, Binocular. A song from the album, "You", was used in the TV show "Smallville" (2001), and a song not appearing on the album, "Maybe You're Gone" (written by Danny Scherr), was later used over the end credits of the movie "The Girl Next Door" (2004). Despite receiving positive reviews, the album went largely unnoticed in the United States.
Rudolf's solo career took a detour in 2003, when famed recording engineer Jimmy Douglass introduced him to superstar producer Timbaland. Rudolf was invited to watch a recording session, but, at Timbaland's urging, soon found himself participating, by playing guitar on Lil' Kim's 2003 hit "The Jump Off." Rudolf remembers, "At first I just went into the studio to absorb what I could. I brought my guitar as sort of peace offering so I wasn't feeling completely useless. Soon I was playing parts on songs."
Rudolf has stated that his time spent with Timbaland influenced his own attitude in making records. "Working with Timbaland, I was amazed by his work ethic and just how much he would work on something until he got the results he wanted." He would go on to collaborate with Timbaland on many songs, including those by The Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado, and David Banner.
Rudolf continued to work on his solo material throughout 2007, while still working with Timbaland. During one memorable session, he met Bryan "Birdman" Williams and Ronald "Slim" Williams, brothers and co-CEO's of Cash Money Records. "I played them a couple of records I produced and wrote and they liked them for one of their artists. Then I played them my solo stuff and they flipped out over this song called "Coffee and Donuts". We built from there, and a few months later Lil Wayne got on 'Let It Rock' and they signed me, and the rest is history.
When Rudolf was signed to a record deal by Cash Money, he became the first white artist, as well as the first rock artist, signed to a label previously known for releasing records by African-American rap artists, including, most famously, Lil Wayne. CEO Slim Williams explained, "we love one-of-a-kind artists, and Kevin rolls that way in everything he does...we are always looking at the next step, the next level we can take our audience. I knew his work with other artists, but when he played me his solo stuff, we just knew we had to partner up."
Major label success
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"Let it Rock", the initial single from Rudolf's then-upcoming album, In the City, was released on June 16, 2008. Written and produced by Rudolf, and featuring Lil Wayne, the song met with immediate success, debuting at Number 5 on Billboard Magazine's influential Hot 100 chart. Noted music critic David Jeffries predicted that fans would find the song, "a near-perfect highlight," while critic Rick Florino called Rudolf's voice "sexy and bombastic" and noted his "diverse set of pipes."  The song became a staple of sporting events, listed by BMI as the second most-played song in NFL, MLB and NHL arenas and stadiums.
With "Let it Rock" already a massive hit, fans and media still noted a sense of "mystery" surrounding Rudolf. "There really was no mystery," he said. "The song just blew up faster than we could catch up with it. But it was great that the music was given a chance to speak for itself. People truly felt it--it wasn't anything fake. And with me, music always comes first. Unlike some artists, I don't want the attention to be put on myself as much as my music."
In the City
Rudolf's first studio album, titled In the City, was released on November 24, 2008, and was produced and co-written by Rudolf, with the exception of one song, She Can Get It, which was co-produced by The Neptunes. Rudolf explained that the album was about "growing up in New York City when the city was wild... it felt like there were no rules and you could be anyone you wanted. That is the landscape of this album." The album was noted for Rudolf's distinctive merging of musical styles, namely, rock and hip-hop. "It's about taking rock attitude vocally, hip hop drums, synths, and guitars and sharpening the edges of everything in a sense. You bring it together. That's how I do it."
Rudolf's penchant for "genre-bending" was noted in many reviews of the album. "'In the City' cribs tricks from both rap and rock 'n' roll, not in the pursuit of a bastardised Limp Bizkit-type hybrid, but with the intention to produce a crossover rock record with modern hip-hop tools...it's hard to deny Rudolf is a man with some big ideas."
With lead single "Let it Rock" still garnering the most attention, other songs from the album also began to have impact. "Welcome to the World", the album's second single, went gold and was featured prominently in advertisements for WrestleMania XXVI. "NYC" was featured on an episode of CSI: NY.
To the Sky
On June 15, 2010, Rudolf's second studio album, To the Sky, was released. The album consists of 11 tracks with a total running time of 37 minutes. The first single from the album, "I Made It (Cash Money Heroes)", was released on February 2, 2010, in advance of the album, becoming Rudolf's second platinum single. It was followed, on September 14, by the single "You Make the Rain Fall." Critical reviews were mixed, with one saying, "this is 'In the City' evolved...to a higher level, while others noted the "good songwriting," but lamented that "without a worthy 'Let it Rock' successor, this is hard to recommend over his debut."
Responding to a question about his song, I Made It, Rudolf elaborated on his own feelings regarding success. "I think that 'making it' is something that you do in stages. There's a certain feeling of 'I made it' when you have a hit on the radio for the first time and people are feeling it and buying it and reacting to it at shows. But I've also set new goals since then."
In September, 2009, having finished two solo albums, Rudolf moved from his adopted home of Miami, to Los Angeles to concentrate on co-writing and producing records for several LA-based artists, including Cobra Starship, Leona Lewis, Lifehouse, Natasha Beddingfield, Selena Gomez and Weezer. "I spent a lot of time in L.A. after a couple of my records blew up, and I got into producing and writing for a lot of other artists out there. I got into that whole game. Then when I got back to New York—I grew up in New York—I felt completely inspired all over again. I felt like I had done enough of writing songs for other people, that I wanted to really say something. I think what music's lacking right now is there's really no message. No one's saying anything...I just felt like I really wanted to put something back in the world that inspires people, says something, and means something."
Relocation to Miami
Having grown up in New York City, the only child of divorced parents, Rudolf has stated that he has found greater inspiration, and a stronger sense of belonging in his adopted city of Miami. Rudolf first lived temporarily in Miami while doing session work with producer Timbaland. After relocating to Los Angeles in 2010 while writing and producing for several artists, Rudolf returned to New York for a brief time in 2012 to begin work on his upcoming album. However, he missed living in Miami and, later that year, made it his permanent residence. In the documentary, Ferraris and Helicopters, Rudolf explained his attraction to the city. "When i moved down to Miami it was like moving to another planet because i was so used to New York, the energy and the craziness and everything. I came down here [and] i really didn't know too many people. I would go to this place called the Greek Place for breakfast, and I sort of found myself sitting up at the bar talking to the old retirees, South American people, Orthodox Jews-and the local Floridians, and it became part of my daily life. I don't know how it happened. I just started hanging out and having conversations. I still talk to all those people, a lot of them when i go back there. It's cool because it gave me the feeling of a hometown rooting for you. Because i grew up in New York, and it's not really that hometown rooting for you kind of thing, it's more like everybody's just trying to do their own thing."
Song for Keith Urban
In 2013, Rudolf took a break from recording his own album to co-write a song with country artist, Keith Urban, and established country songwriting brothers, Brad and Brett Warren, called "Little Bit of Everything", which Urban debuted May 16, 2013 on the Season 12 finale of American Idol.Billboard Magazine noted that a country song was a departure from Rudolf's usual fare, however, Urban and the "Warren Brothers found common ground with Rudolf since they all played guitar and had rather wide-ranging tastes."
New single and video: Here's to Us
On July 2, 2013, Perez Hilton premiered Rudolf's video for his upcoming single, "Here's to Us." Hilton stated, "Here's To Us will be the lead single off his upcoming third album. We seriously got goosebumps watching this video! It has such a positive message. We just LOVE Kevin's outlook on life!"
On July 26, Rudolf announced via his official Twitter page that the single, "Here's to Us" would be available on iTunes as of Tuesday, July 30. The song was also featured on the soundtrack of the video game 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil (video game).
|Year||Album details||Peak chart
|2008||In the City||94||74|
|2010||To the Sky
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Certifications
|2008||"Let It Rock" (featuring Lil Wayne)||5||6||3||2||3||15||5||In the City|
|2009||"Welcome to the World" (featuring Rick Ross)||58||26||42||56||34||—||77||
|2010||"I Made It (Cash Money Heroes)"
(featuring Birdman, Jay Sean and Lil Wayne)
|21||17||4||44||21||4||37||To the Sky|
|"You Make the Rain Fall" (featuring Flo Rida)||—||—||—||59||—||—||—|
|2012||"Don't Give Up"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||TBA|
|"Champions" (featuring Limp Bizkit, Birdman & Lil Wayne)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2013||"Here's to Us"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Shooting Star"||2009||David Rush, Pitbull||N/A|
|"One Way Trip"||2010||Lil Wayne||Rebirth|
|"I Want It All"||Birdman, Lil Wayne||Priceless|
|"Just Say So"||Brian McFadden||Wall of Soundz|
|"A Million Lights"||2011||DJ Khaled, Tyga, Cory Gunz, Mack Maine, Jae Millz||We the Best Forever|
|"Novacane"||Lil Wayne||Tha Carter IV|
|"Always Rains"||Jared Evan||"Back and Fourth"|
|"Don't Hustle Again"||Birdman, Rick Ross||The H|
|2008||"Let It Rock"||Justin Francis|
|2009||"Welcome to the World"||Jeff Panzer/Bill Yukich|
|2010||"I Made It (Cash Money Heroes)"||Jeff Panzer/David Rousseau|
|"You Make the Rain Fall"||Jeff Panzer|
|2012||"Don't Give Up"||Shomi Patwary|
|2013||"Champions" (featuring Lil Wayne, Limp Bizkit, Birdman)|
|"Here's to Us"||Kevin Rudolf|
BMI Pop Awards
|2010||"Let It Rock"||Kevin Rudolf featuring Lil Wayne|
|"Good Girls Go Bad"||Cobra Starship featuring Leighton Meester|
- "Thinking of You" (David Banner)
- "Good Girls Go Bad" (Cobra Starship feat. Leighton Meester)
- "Love Letter" (Leona Lewis)
- "Beat Me Up" (Allison Iraheta)
- "Halfway Gone" (Lifehouse)
- "Falling In" (Lifehouse)
- "Late Night Automatic" (Three-6-Mafia)
- "Hot Mess" (Cobra Starship)
- "One Way Trip" (Lil Wayne feat. Kevin Rudolf)
- "I Want It All" (Birdman feat. Lil Wayne & Kevin Rudolf)
- "Better Than Her" (Matisse)
- "Paradice" (Lil Wayne)
- "I Made It (Cash Money Heroes)" (Kevin Rudolf feat. Jay Sean, Lil Wayne & Birdman)
- "Just Say So" (Brian McFadden feat. Kevin Rudolf)
- "Ghost" (Fefe Dobson)
- "Round & Round" (Selena Gomez & The Scene)
- "Oh Yeah" (B.T.R.)
- "City Is Ours" (B.T.R.)
- "On and On" (Flo Rida feat. Kevin Rudolf)
- "All I Need" (Natasha Bedingfield feat. Kevin Rudolf)
- "The World Belongs To Me" (My Darkest Days)
- "One Night" (Jesse McCartney)
- "I Think She Likes Me" (Jesse McCartney)
- "Coming Back Down" (Hollywood Undead)
- "Levitate" (Hollywood Undead)
- "Don't Cry Now" (Makeba Riddick)
- "Love2Baby" (Christian TV)
- "Always Rain" (Jared Evan feat. Kevin Rudolf)
- "Grow Up" (Cher Lloyd feat. Busta Rhymes)
- "A Million Lights" (DJ Khaled feat. [Kevin Rudolf Tyga Jae Millz Mack Maine Cory Gunz])
|Guitar, Bass||2005||"Thinking of You"||Certified||David Banner (feat. Case)|
|Guitar||2006||"Say It Right"||Loose||Nelly Furtado|
|"Scream"||Timbaland Presents Shock Value||Timbaland (feat. Keri Hilson and Nicole Scherzinger)|
|"Release"||Timbaland (feat. Justin Timberlake)|
|"My Style"||Monkey Business||The Black Eyed Peas (feat. Justin Timberlake)|
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-  imdb.com. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
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- Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles
- Australian-charts.com - Welcome to the World - Kevin Rudolf featuring Kid Cudi - Chart positions
- "Enough". CSI: NY. Season 5. Episode 6. 2008-11-05.
- "Kevin Rudolf: To the Sky". rapreviews.com. June 8, 2010. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
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- Nicholson, Jessica. "Keith Urban to Perform New Single on 'American Idol' Finale". Music Row. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
- Roland, Tom. "Keith Urban Has Everything Going For Him". Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
- Rudolf, Kevin. "Here's to Us Will be Released on Tuesday on iTunes!!". Twitter.com/itskevinrudolf. Twitter. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
- "EA SPORTS 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Soundtrack Reveal". EA Sports. easports.com. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- "Kevin Rudolf Album & Song Chart History – Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
- "Kevin Rudolf Album & Song Chart History – Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
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- "australian-charts.com – Australian charts portal". September 4, 2010.
- "Kevin Rudolf Album & Song Chart History – Canadian Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
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- "Chart Stats – Kevin Rudolf". chartstats.com. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2009 Singles". ARIA Charts. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2010 Singles". ARIA Charts. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
- "Kevin Rudolf music videos". VEVO. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
- HIlton, Perez. "EXCLUSIVE! Kevin Rudolf Premieres His NEW Music Video For Here's To Us!". Perezhilton.com. perezhilton. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
- "Kevin Lyttle – Fyah (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. 2008-08-27. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
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