This week has been an exciting week for JMU Alum and recording artist, Russell Wagoner. He has been spending the week doing radio shows, performing at events, getting featured in the breeze, and is wrapping up the week with a listening party and performance tonight at the Artful Dodger from 5-7pm! I’m sure you are wondering who is Russell Wagoner? Why is he important? Why is he getting a shout out on Shout Out? Quick teaser: He graduated last year, he’s been chasing his musical dreams from a young age, and as a member of the LGBTQ community, he offers a fresh perspective.
Photo credit: Matt Schmachtenberg | The Breeze
Russell Wagoner started performing in coffee shops in his hometown, Centerville, VA with his good friend Andy Nye (who will also be at the dodger tonight!) They ended up in different colleges and Russell started to focus on being a solo artist. He recorded his first album, “Resurgence” in Nashville in 2010. He took time to learn everything he possibly could about creating and producing music. He then spent some time in New York City in the studio where Prince recorded and worked on a couple more hip-hop centered songs. The songs came out pretty good, but they just weren’t his true style, he felt they took him out of the music and morphed it to something else. After that experience he decided to record his own album in the basement of his Squire Hills Apartment. “R3” was born. It was him to the core, a very personal and reflective album. Pulling from all of these experiences, songs, and records, he has really come into his own and is looking to streamline and put out his best album yet in the near future! There will be a preview at the performance tonight! This is a very brief overview of years of hard work and dedication. If you want to know more about Russell you can check out his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
I really want to touch on what I think sets Russell apart from other R&B artists. Russell brings intellect and authenticity back to music. He understands the importance of music in our society. As a member of the LGBTQ community, he offers that fresh perspective and is sure to reflect men, women, and sex in a way that is positive and never degrading towards anyone. This is super important to him and I think it’s an awesome stance to take. In a world of “pussies”, “bitches”, and “hoes” it is nice to hear something different! Instead of focusing on this way of making music, Russell’s music operates at the intersection of extreme victory and extreme defeat and crafts moments. He is there at your lowest point as well as your biggest celebration. Something important that we have talked about is the idea to celebrate your failures as much as your victories because we grow and learn from every situation we come across. His music is raw, soulful, elegant, with a touch of grit. Check him out for yourself and let me know what you think! “R3″ is available on iTunes! Comment below!