Philadelphia - GRAMMY U SoundChecks With Russ

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By: Courtney Passikoff / GRAMMY U Philadelphia Representative

Foregoing the normal SoundChecks format, Russ created an experience all his own. He started out playing tracks from his recent release, There’s Really a Wolf, then quickly moved to the Q&A portion, which resulted in over an hour-long conversation.

Questions were submitted beforehand, but students were given the free reign to ask what they wanted, so the conversation moved very organically. He started by talking about the inspiration behind his music, and asked if students wanted to know about the background of any particular songs. Most of the questions that followed had to do with his production techniques, how to start up on a low budget, and his journey to success.

Throughout the Q&A, he emphasized that maintaining independence is important to him. He told us that he wrote, performed, mixed, and mastered every track on his new album and that he built up his success on his own by releasing a song on SoundCloud once a week until he gained a steady fan base. He also explained why he doesn't have any openers at his shows, stating that he is aware of his fan base that he worked so hard to get and does not want to just hand that over to someone that didn't earn it.

The conversation was candid, detailed, and his manager Milan even chimed in a few times to talk about how their relationship came about and what management should be able to provide for you as an artist. Russ was honest and relatable and full of information on getting it done and believing in yourself even when no one else does.

A definite success story at such a young age, Russ shared that he completed one year of college and when he wanted to pursue music full-time his mom made his sign a contract that said if he couldn’t support himself by a certain date, he would go back to school. And well, the rest is history.

After the Q&A Russ invited students to the stage for a group photo. All the members were offered a free ticket to see his concert that evening.

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