In 18 months if Atlanta based artist / producer known as Russ hasn’t blown up, then I’ll pull the hosting on this blog and end my career in media. That’s how confident I am that this 22-year-old Sicilian talent will grow his brand and independent label DIEMON into a well-known and respected player in the music industry. He’s likeable, carries himself with smooth swagger, and has the potential for mass appeal.
Plus, he gets it. Russ understands that technology gives artists free and easy means of distribution. He also understands that it’s easier than ever to build a following, and once you’ve built one, monetization comes from brand extensions that are potentially more lucrative than iTunes sales and streaming. That’s why he turns down a quick buck for the long term wealth. He’d rather build his brand from the grassroots up.
He’s also exceptionally talented and can play 3 instruments (piano, guitar & drums). This raw musical ability translates nicely into crisp production, confident lyrics and the know-how to take risks across genres. His deep appreciation for all kinds of music fosters his eclecticism, heavily influences his artistry, and makes him “predictively unpredictable”.
We hopped on a call earlier with Russ for a few questions, peep them below…
Jadamix: Where are you from? I’ve read that you’ve lived in a bunch of places.
Russ: When I was a baby I moved to North Carolina, then we moved to Kentucky and back to North Carolina, then to Georgia around the time I was in 8th grade. I don’t really claim anywhere for home. I consider home to be a mindset or feeling.
Are you trying to sign or stay independent?
I’m definitely not trying to sign anything anytime soon unless it’s some crazy 20 million up front wired to my account [laughs]. I’m just trying to see how far I can take this thing.
What’s a typical day like for Russ?
I wake up whenever I want and go to sleep whenever I want. Usually I’m recording. I record A LOT. And I try to play basketball. I’m still trying to make the NBA because I got a mean jump shot.
The situation is…you’re down 2 points with 7 seconds left and you get the rock at the top of the key. What’s your move?
Spraying. Instantly spraying. Entirely. Like completely. Hitting the 3 like every day of the week. Here’s how I’ll get you too…real shooters are better with a hand in their face. I don’t prefer you put a hand up but if you do it’s like “okay, you’re really about to get sprayed”.
Give us 3 words to describe your music.
Human. Life. Energy.
In your song “Talk Up” you rap about “sold out shows in Europe without no label, no booking agent, no manager, no publicist, just [you], yourself and all [your] visions”. What is your vision for Russ?
I want to be the biggest artist in the world and after that we’ll see what’s going on. Me and Bugus want to put a DIEMON store in the mall we used to go to. The vision is getting a shit ton of real fans and building my followers & human capital. There’s not much you can’t do with that.
You’re invited to The White House… what are you wearing?
Oh man that’s a sick question. I’m always trying to wear the wildest stuff. My cousin was recently getting married and I wanted to show up in an all purple suit with a top hat and a cane. I’d wear a ridiculously fresh suit to The White House. I’d be out there trying to look like an Italian mob boss. Something along the lines of “this dude looks like he’s running the mafia”.
If you won $25 Million from the Georgia lotto, what would you do with the money?
I’d go buy a shitload of restaurants for cheap. I’m also investing crazy into music. For my next album I’d have the craziest publicists. I’d also buy my mom a beach house and my sister a range rover, then put the rest in the bank.
What do you have upcoming in 2015?
I’m putting out a bunch of music. About to drop a song today in about an hour. I’m putting out music until I blow up. I have enough crazy music to literally just be putting out songs every week for the next 4 months. No lie. I’m gunna be at the Grammy’s next year
Hear Russ’ latest track “My Baby” below.
Check out a few of his videos.
Check out DIEMON.
[photo credits: passionweiss.com, senclair.com and barcaforum.com]