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Artist Name: Russ
Origin: Atlanta, GA
When you think of Atlanta’s music scene, what comes to come mind? Outkast, T.I., Ludacris, Jeezy, Future, so on and so forth. Atlanta is a capital for producing some of best and hottest rap-trap music from artists to producers. Now that you have that in mind, imagine a kid from Atlanta, but without the trap sound. Pretty unusual huh? Well then that’s because ATL’s very own, Russ, isn’t your usual ATL artist. He gives you a side of Atlanta that we as listeners aren’t use to. You see Russ gives you multiple styles of sound from slow-down, soft R&B to conscious rap to let’s “turn up” music and that’s unique in an artist to do so. I mean he only writes, sings, raps, produces, mixes and masters his own music. Something most creative individuals can’t do nor want to do. The first time you listen to his music you think, “Wow, this kid is from ATL?” well at least that’s what I thought. Fortunately we got the chance to sit down with creative and talented individual himself. Take look inside the mind of Russ as we talked about his life, his music and Atlanta.
A&R Report: Thank you for your time Russ, How’s it going?
Russ: Life is amazing
A&R Report: So who is Russ? What does the DIEMON brand mean?
Russ: Russ is just a human manifesting thoughts into reality. DIEMON is the company myself and Bugus started when we were 17. It stands for Do It Everyday Music Or Nothing. This is what we’ve dedicated our lives to and were not stopping until all of our aspirations are fully actualized.
A&R Report: How would you describe your sound? You been mentioned as a rapper and singer, I believe you’re an artist because the other labels have lost meaning.
Russ: It’s just a culmination of feelings via audio. Describing it any other way feels untrue to myself.
A&R Report: How does it make you feel when people label it as R&B, Rap, etc.?
Russ: Understandable because humans put labels and titles on everything so that they can make sense of things in their heads.
A&R Report: So you’re based in ATL, but sound nothing like the ATL sound that we are use to, why is that?
Russ: That’s because I never was into Atlanta rap. It doesn’t have much longevity in my opinion and I’m here for the marathon. Not the sprint.
A&R Report: How long have you been in ATL? Are you planning to relocate?
Russ: Going on 11 years now and yea definitely.
A&R Report: Does ATL influence/inspire you in anyway?
Russ: From a production standpoint I like some of the drums and melodic simplicity. From a vocal standpoint, nothing inspires me from Atlanta.
A&R Report: Will we ever get to hear you on some Trap Music? Will we ever see a collaboration with Zaytoven, Metro Boomin’, Sonny Digital or Mike Will? Have you thought about it?
Russ: I think everyone has talent but it would just have to be the right beat. I’m really keen on producing my own music though because I feel like it gives me an advantage vocally. You never know though.
A&R Report: What artists/producers inspire you? Where do your inspirations come from?
Russ: As of right now, Drake is the only one who makes me want to get better. Everyone else is doing things that don’t make me say, “Wow, how did he do that?” Drakes the only one making me sit back like “wow that melody or cadence is unbelievable”. I’m really big on vocal execution and prowess and Drake is the best vocalist in Hip Hop. I believe I’m the next best vocalist. Production, no one is really inspiring me specifically because everyone sounds the same. But when I started out it was Dr. Dre & Kanye.
A&R Report: I have to ask about this one song, Titanic. This song spoke to us and it tells a great story. You touch on personal issues, which can’t be easy at times for artists, but you did. What process did you take on that song? What made you record that song?
Russ: Titanic is one of my favorite songs I’ve made. All my songs are a reflection of my real life so Titanic was no different in that sense. I made the beat first and it really sounded like the perfect soundtrack to what I was feeling and going through. Then I got the melody for the hook, then the words.
A&R Report: When did you realize you focus on music and make it your career? Were your parents/family supportive about your decision?
Russ: I mean I started making beats and whatnot at 14 and kind of just never stopped. I went to college for a semester but dropped out because it just wasn’t for me and I knew what I wanted to do with my life. The crazy thing is that when I dropped out, I hadn’t even made my first song yet. It’s wild to think back on like “damn, I really dropped outta school to make beats”, but it was deeper than that obviously. I knew I had to follow my gut and passion, which is music. And yea my parents were supportive, upset with my decision to drop out at first, but supportive
A&R Report: How did the Creative Artist Agency deal with Cara Lewis come about? I know you’ve mention music record labels are approaching, are you planning to sign with one or stay independent?
Russ: A friend of mine who has worked with her passed along the music and got me a meeting. I’m just talking with a lot of people right now and weighing the pros and cons.
A&R Report: You have mentioned on your social media that you are a complete artist and more; you write, produce, record (rap/sing), mix and master all of your music. What made you want to learn all of that? What made you go that route instead of just hiring people?
Russ: Survival. Period. If I give you a lighter, weed, and joint papers and you’re in the desert alone, can you get high? It’s a loose analogy but I think an effective one. I can be in a studio by myself, which a lot of times I am, and make endless amounts of songs without calling one person. To me, that’s ideal and essential to survival. Also, I get to fully 103% control every aspect of my sound which gives me a huge advantage over everyone else in the game.
A&R Report: Doesn’t doing all that extra work distract you at times as an artist? It’s like juggling so many things at once, how did you learn to handle that?
Russ: Not at all. It was so natural to me. It’s mind blowing to me that they put titles on “engineers” or “mixers.” I just look at it like, “ok I wanna make a song, so I’m gonna make a song”, Period. It seems pretty obvious to me that if you wanna make a song, YOU should be able to make one; whatever that entails, YOU should be able to do it.
A&R Report: You’ve been releasing music for a while now, what are your plans to do with the music? Are we getting a project sometime soon? An EP? Mixtape? Album?
Russ: Well I put out 11 albums before I got a Soundcloud and started doing the single song approach. I got an album in the vault though that I’ll put out when I feel like I have enough eyes and ears in the world focused on me so that it gets appreciated.
A&R Report: What’s process in making these songs? You release one every week.
Russ: I record so much and make so many beats that it’s super easy for me. The process is relatively quick cause like I mentioned earlier, I handle everything so it moves super fast.
A&R Report: When do you believe the world will take notice of Russ?
Russ: Well the world is taking notice of me. It’s a present time every day thing. It grows everyday. I don’t know when it’s gonna fully “blow” because I’m doing things the right way in my opinion. Organic growth, getting real fans, not being an industry plant.
A&R Report: What do you want our readers and your fans to take from this interview?
Russ: I’m coming and I’m gonna be the biggest artist in the world