Ryan "Kaskade" Raddon named 2018 Distinguished Alumnus

Glenbrook North students, staff and community members had the pleasure of welcoming ‘89 alumnus Ryan Raddon to the stage during the school’s annual Honors and Awards ceremony on May 25. 

As a Spartan, Raddon was known for his involvement in a wide range of extracurricular activities including soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, swimming and performing arts. If he wasn’t playing sports or skateboarding, he was adding to his record collection, or performing in choir or a sketch comedy group. 

It was the musical interest that really paid off. Now Raddon’s millions of fans know him as Kaskade, six-time Grammy nominee, DJ and producer. His love for dance music has sold out top venues such as Navy Pier and the Staples Center.

Raddon’s former theatre director Pat Murphy presented him with the school’s Distinguished Alumnus award this year. As Raddon took the microphone, he spoke how supportive the local community has been.

“My family, friends and faith have always given me confidence to move forward,” he said. “I’ve never felt overwhelmed because I’ve been doing something that I love. It was this foundation that helped me to keep going.”

Raddon encouraged the students of today to “remember who they are.”

“My dad used to always tell me that whenever I left the house,” he said. “Remember who you are.”

Raddon attended Brigham Young University in Utah after graduating from GBN. It was then that he really dove into his passion for music, taking any available gig and learning from his struggles along the way. He remained dedicated and patient.

“Having the wherewithal to stick with what you love when success isn’t guaranteed is rough sometimes,” he said.

Raddon said he learned that playing the “long game” was a good plan and hopes that current students remain open to challenge and opportunity as they graduate.

“Do what you love and figure out how to make it work,” he said. “Don’t be too stubborn to pivot. Things reveal themselves if you stay open to new chances and interests. Don’t be afraid of hard work. To be successful anywhere, you have to log more hours than everyone else. You take the gigs nobody will take; you stay awake while everyone else is asleep.”

Raddon has headlined every major North American musical festival, including drawing the two largest crowds ever to Coachella in 2015. He’s released 10 solo albums and performed at more than 5,000 shows. Raddon was the first American DJ to secure a Las Vegas performance residency.

With his continued success comes much time spent on the road, which is why Raddon cherishes time home with his family. 

“It’s always good to get back to them, no matter how much fun I’ve had,” he said.

While he still skateboards, you can also find Raddon running, surfing, snowboarding, bicycling, hiking or even chasing down a taco truck during his time off. 

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