Do you remember back in December of 2013 there was a TV series on VH1 called You Oughta Know? If you don’t recall, here’s an update. A young artist – by the name of Russell Taylor – gained the title during that month. Since then, he’s been a featured artist on VH1’s The Morning Buzz as well as Stop/Watch.
Maybe you’ve heard his songs while watching your favorite TV shows, right? You’re correct if you watch national TV shows such as Black Ink Crew, Degrassi: The Next Generation, The Fosters, Atlanta Exes, among others. Still, need more information about this critically acclaimed artist whom you should know?
Russell developed his unique style in Philadelphia while singing in front of the church and family members at a young age. However, it wasn’t until he was in college that he began taking the music industry seriously. While watching The Braxton Sisters on Tour, he began thinking he could also pursue possibly doing it himself. Since then, he’s never looked back. Fever Magazine’s writer, Cornelus Postell, recently sat down with Russell Taylor for this exclusive interview.
What’s your process about using your unique sound while you are in the studio?
I’ve worked with some great collaborators. There’s a lot of trust in the studio and for me that is important. So, when I got my objectives of what I want, my collaborators help me push me to that end. And it’s a matter of letting go. Every time I go in and record, each project is on a higher level of letting go. I think that’s when real art and beautiful art is created. When you get rid of the editor and let the energy speak for itself.
You presently have an Album Trilogy called Tin Man, The Blues, you are presently working on. Tell us more about this next album.
It’s basically about a record I’ve written over a course of a year and a half. It was a total of 16-17 songs. I didn’t really associate them together. It was because one of my collaborators was telling me don’t worry about putting a record together and just record a bunch of good songs. And my mind kept turning towards recognizing that these songs go together. It’s about being a black man in America, being in touch with your feelings, and being able to express [them]. These songs are the result of my experiences in this world.
All of these songs are part of the trilogy, but they are in color. The blue is the introspective and contemplative records. The red is going to be the hot and sensual records. The yellow is the exposure and sunlight records.
Tell us more behind your inspiration to your latest video, Dance With Someone.
I wanted to show the world the words to the song [Whitney Houston’s version]. When you look at the video, you may be thinking, “Ohh, it’s upbeat and happy. But when you actually listen to the words, it’s not as happy as you originally remember it. I wanted to do a video that represented the longing of the words and the unspoken parts.
So, I put some theory behind it. I wanted to show that Whitney’s version only has this expectation of only being happy and popish. So it makes you think of a clown. But then, what about a clown that’s just like us and gets drunk and mad, smokes cigarettes? Someone that has another life as a human being.
Throughout your career, you’ve shared the stage with high-profile artists such as Issac Hayes, Patti LaBelle, Mary J Blige, Jill Scott and others. Tell us what you’ve learned the most from them?
You know the truth, man? The show must go on! That’s what I gather now that I’ve got some years under my belt and continue to do the circuits. Your life, all the things that are happening, your ups-and-downs… just channel it all into your music. You can be 100% human. That’s what makes people interact with you. You bring all your triumphs and challenges with you on stage and into the booth and the show must go on!
A passionate and revolutionary artist, Russell offers a word of advice for up-and-coming artists. “You got to love it when no one else is looking. If you don’t love it on your own then the world won’t.” Learn more about Russell Taylor at www.RussellTaylor.net. Connect with him on facebook.com/RussellTaylor and @RSoulStar on Twitter and Instagram.