'Turnin' Up The Heat On Music's Barbie!'
Coining the phrase “Country Barbecue Music” to describe her first CD release Powerful Stuff, multi-talented musician, composer, singer and songwriter Kate Russell says, “It's the kind of fun, dancing, rocking music you want to hear while you're socializing at a barbecue.”
A native of Australia whose years in the U.S. have not affected her irresistibly charming accent one bit, Russell is eager to clue Stateside country fans in on a little secret: that barbecues and the contemporary kind of country music she makes are just as popular Down Under as they are in the United States.
Powerful Stuff was produced in Los Angeles with Rich Mouser, who has worked with artists like Oleander, Tears For Fears, Dream Theatre, and did tracks for the 'American Pie 2' soundtrack, with additional production by Clyde Brooks in Nashville. Brooks, who has worked with Curb and Polygram with such artists as Ronna Reeves and Perfect Stranger, is an accomplished Nashville studio drummer with over 6,000 sessions to his credit, including dates with Dolly Parton, Dwight Yoakum, George Jones and Little Richard.
Drawing an analogy between songwriting and another longtime passion of hers, surfing (which she once considered turning into a professional career), Russell says, “Surfing is a composition all on its own. It's about watching a wave and designing how you're going to ride it. There's nothing quite like the freedom of surfing on a day that's clear – the sun, the water. It's a peaceful place to be.”
Chatting recently with Kate, and knowing she is an Aussie, I first wondered what her game plan for conquering the American charts was?! "I'm hoping that my video "Powerful Stuff" will help push the radio single of the same name and people will enjoy some upbeat rockin' country music. I can't reinvent the wheel there's so many great country singer/ songwriters out there, however I am from Australia so my perspective will be a little different and I hope the musical audience will find that refreshing."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying your 'Powerful Stuff' CD, how would you yourself describe your sound? "My brand of country music sounds like Bonnie Raitt meets Keith Urban."
Your album title 'Powerful Stuff' is an interesting choice, but perhaps it originates from a more personal standpoint for you? "These days women have to take care of themselves and become female McGyvers ready to handle any situation and that's powerful."
"Also I work out a lot (running, swimming and weight lifting) that makes me feel more in control of my life."
A lot of the tracks on this debut album sound personal. Are they so and how easy is it to write such a close-to-your-heart song and then have to sing it each night? "All of the songs on this album evoke memories every time I sing them. Songwriting assists in the healing process. It's truly carthartic singing about a broken relationship or a funny experience you've had and when a song is in a physical form like that, you always remember the lesson it represents."
If there was one track on 'Powerful Stuff' that truly encapsulated Kate Russell at her musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "It would be 'Talk Is Cheap.' It's one of my favorite ballads on the album. It has a strong chorus, the music is simple and easy to remember. The storyline is about a woman who meets a guy in a bar on Music Row in Nashville and later finds out he's married. Quote: "Was I the spice in your life?"
Noting that it's you yourself that writes the majority of these lyrics, are you always so hands on about all your projects? "Yes, although I do like to write with other people as well, gives me a different perspective on musical and lyrical ideas."
Just for fun, please reveal three songs that we can expect to find on your upcoming album ... and then tell us a little bit about each one:
'Powerful Stuff' - "Is about a shipping magnate (a young good looking one at that) he appears to be unattainable, however there's a happy ending (the girl gets the guy). Watch the video!"
'Open My Eyes' - "Is about waiting for the right person to have a relationship with. Lyric says: "A stranger I've become, a borrower of others' lives to alter the emptiness of mine"."
'Bittersweet' - "Is about the concept of internet dating."
Please take us back to that early time in your career when you played for the first time in a club in the western suburbs of Sydney - the occasion before the next time you played there and it was standing room only! What was going through your head that first time?! "All I remember thinking at the time was whether the microphone would work as one of the guys in the band drove over the mikes (he left them in the driveway)."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "I'd like to cover "Take My Breath Away" as I think it fits the country music genre so well and it's begging for a pedal steel and fiddle part."
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "I love penguins. In the wintertime in Australia there were a pair of fairy penguins I used to surf with and we had a lot of fun!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Kate's new CD, just answer this easy question: As pointed out, Kate is a native of Australia ... nut which city was she born in?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before July 1st with your answer and the subject title 'KATE RUSSELL SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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