Instruments: Vocals, Guitar, Composition/Songwriting, Harmonica details
Contact DetailsApril Gislason
April Singer Songwriter Musician (250) 592-0967
From a powerful ballad to hard edge rock this vocalist can sing it all.
April was born in New York City, April 1, 1955 to proud parents Victor and Lillian Fulladosa. Her father was an officer in the Marine Corp and moving around was just part of the deal. She and her younger two brothers were raised mostly in southern California with a couple of years in Texas and four years in North Carolina.
At sixteen years of age April was writing many of her own songs.
Her early experience came from performing at a popular local folk club in San Clemente, California called the “Four Muses”. There she opened for many artists, including blues icons, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee. Even though April played a mean guitar she was getting lots of attention for her blues harmonica playing. Growing up in southern California, surfing movies were a big thing. She was asked to do two songs in the movie “Goin’ Surfin’” by Bud Brown, which premiered at the Santa Monica Civic. One song was a complete harmonica solo she wrote, called, “Basic Barry” and the other song was called “Sunlit Horizons”. She went into the studio with film-makers Jim Freeman and Greg McGillvary
(IMAX film kings) to lay down her songs for the soundtrack. What an experience! At age 17, April opened up for Charlie Musslewhite at UC Irvine. She branched out and sang with many bands of all sorts doing everything from private parties and club work to performing at Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland. Her styles covered a wide range of soul, R & B, rock and pop to reggae and country. You name it, she has sung it.
At 19 years of age April was approached by a woman entrepeneur from southern Orange County, who had this idea for a musical variety show. It would give young talent an opportunity to perform on stage and do what they do best. April was asked, not only to perform in this show but to help direct it as well. The group was called Orange County International. It was a huge success and much experience was gained from participating in a show of this size.
In 1976, April recorded her first solo album called, “HOMEBASE” on Anvil Records owned by Leland Rogers (Kenny Rogers brother). The musicians who played on her album were some of the best ever to come out of Victoria. They were Morry Stearns, Bill Sample, Norm McPherson, Jerry Adolphe and Lee Oliphant. April journeyed to Canada with all of these Victoria natives to be the lead vocalist for the already known Sample-Stearns Band, which soon became a house hold name amongst the clubs and musicians of Vancouver Island and Vancouver. They did a fair bit of recording, spots on TV and radio (CBC, etc.) and national touring. One of the tours was opening up for the well known trumpeteer, Maynard Ferguson. After two years the band split and April continued to work as a solo performer and in a duo with her husband Grant Gislason. “Expo 86” was a perfect venue and event for exposure that worked for April as a solo artist and her duo, “Dynamix” with her husband.
April performed in various band combinations and formats with an array of top studio musicians.
April has appeared on a variety of television and radio specials over the years, among them, Star Search with Ed McMahon. Prior to Star Search in Jan-uary 1986, April had her first child, a little girl, Rachelle. She brought her little bundle everywhere she went and had her second child in September 1988. This was her little boy, they named him Bryan. She says, “being a wife, a mother, a self-employed singer/musician definitely added the grit one needs to thicken’ the skin you need to have in this business and having a fabulous husband, who has always supported my music pursuits is just a big plus.” She has performed across North America in prestigious theatres and top clubs. These are a few of the many artists she has worked with: Bryan Adams, David Foster, Boz Scaggs, Bill Henderson (Chilliwack), Valdy, Brian McCleod (Headpins), Long John Baldry, Mike Reno and Paul Dean (Loverboy).
You hear her voice everyday on radio and television throughout North America and the world. She has over twenty-five years of experience as a professional studio singer and she has more than 2000 commercial jingles to her credit for large corporations including, Labatt’s, Safeway (Today’s Better Way), The Brick, London Drugs, Shell (The Move Is On), Toys and Wheels and over a dozen for McDonalds and many more.
In 1993, April won the Vancouver Island leg of the British Columbia Music
Association’s (BCCMA) contest for best country singer on Vancouver Island. She went on to the regional and provincial finals.
Over the years April has given her time and talent to many charitable events. Each year for thirteen years April opened and closed the “Timmy’s Telethon Show” with a theme song chosen to suit that years show. Timmy’s Telethon was held here at Victoria’s McPherson Theatre and in the later years at the Royal Theater. In November of “93” April performed for the second time at the Second Annual Aids Benefit, also held at the Royal Theatre.
Opening for the Temptations, at the Royal Theatre to a full house brought great reviews for April. She sang and played guitar with Karl Roussingh on piano.
In August 1994 at the XV Commonwealth Games here in Victoria, B.C. you could hear April’s voice ringing out in the opening, “Welcome to Our Island Home”. In the closing ceremonies April was featured along with her good friends Morry Stearns and Duncan Meiklejohn performing the theme song, “Let Your Spirit Live on Forever” with all 750 members of the games choir. With worldwide TV and radio coverage, estimated to be up to 500 million, this truly was another wonderful and exciting highlight to add to the already extensive list of April’s many accomplishments.
In 1995, April fronted the Victoria Naden Band for two years as the featured vocalist which then turned into performing as the front lead vocalist with her friend Duncan Meiklejohn in the “Chris Millington Big Band”. This band is popular at major conventions held at Victoria’s Fairmont Empress Hotel, the Convention Centre and Butchart Gardens and other events.
Since 1997, April has been part of a incredible acoustic guitar duo called, “The Acousticats”. Their material covers all styles. With their own arrangements of popular songs…that are great, ranging from Bruce Hornsby, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitte, to Sheryl Crow, the Barenaked Ladies and Smashmouth.
While juggling performances with The “Chris Millington Big Band” the “Acousticats” and being a Worship Team leader (music director) at their family church,( Providence Community) for the last six years, there is truly never a dull moment around the Gislason household.
On top of all this, April opened her home studio in 1998, to provide private vocal coaching and guitar lessons. She caters to all ages. To those who are looking to expand their vocal horizons and wear different hats with different styles, she welcomes you. Singing acapella is great anytime but also having an instrument to play to accompany your self is even better. She is in her eighth year of coaching and teaching students and finds it very rewarding.
Over the years, April has been a first call vocalist by top session musicians, when they need that quick professional touch required for recording studio session. That is thanks to her cumulative years of experience to which she brings a unique vocal ability, range and style. April is not all about being in a studio. She is a true performer. She takes a song and makes it her own, and passes it from her spirit into yours. Now that’s passion.
Available for lessons