KS Alert: Russell Elliott
Introduce yourself to our readers! Tell us who you are and what you do
Hey! I'm Russell Elliot, a performer and recording artist. I’m reimagining R&B as a more inclusive genre. I don't need to be misogynistic or exclusive/heteronormative to write a great R&B record. I strive for authenticity and candor in life and in writing-- "tell it like it is." is tattooed on my wrist.
Your KickStarter statement is: R&B that respects women. R&B with a queer voice. A 4-song EP and music video guided by clarity, principles, & freedom. Can you tell us a little bit more about how this message came to develop for you?
There aren't many voices in R&B that speak to queer experiences in love and sex. Of course there are notable exceptions (shout out to you, Frank Ocean). As a songwriter, it's my job to live out my identity through my work. I'd be honored and humbled if someone who feels alienated in the current R&B climate could one day come to feel included and connected to the genre by hearing a voice like mine talk about a life like mine.
I refuse to demean/objectify/debase/reduce people in my writing. As powerhouse "bad" feminist Roxane Gay says, "Music is such a powerful force, and powerful art form -- the music, the rhythm and the beat pulls us in and then there are these lyrics and we could do better." I couldn't agree more, and I plan to.
"Clarity, principles, and freedom" speaks to my newfound confidence to honor that writer's commitment I have tattooed on my wrist. As I said in a recent guest article for So So Gay, "I hope to prove that when we tell it like it is, we are saying enough."
We love the idea of breaking barriers in your craft. What advice do you have for someone who wants to perform or get into a field but might not be the stereotypical image of success?
Tell it like it is. Be so candid, vulnerable, and authentic in your craft that you expose universally human themes at the core of your writing/experience. Music especially has a way of inspiring empathy like no other force I've witnessed. Acknowledge the power that solid storytelling has to chip away at the vast cultural walls telling us we are more dissimilar than we are alike. Harness it. If you can create something that brings disparate people together, you bet your ass you can be a force for cultural change.
Any last plugs or thoughts?
Thanks for this!