Christian Artist Candice Russell Talks…
Music, American Idol, and Skydiving!
Candice Russell is a well-balanced person. She has a great head on her shoulders, a positive attitude, and a knack for putting what matters the most in life in perspective. She is family-oriented: in her debut album So Much More (Reflect Records), she had help from her brother Aaron Russell as the producer and a co-writer. She also has a tremendous voice and a talent for writing a great song, singing it effectively, and making it resonate with your soul. I would tell you Candice Russell is the next Taylor Swift, but I would be lying: I think Candice Russell will be better if she maintains that consistency in her musical formula. She has a song titled “Escape” that I have really enjoyed. I actually have it in rotation in my MP3 player, and it has been very helpful during vigorous workouts at the gym: it mellows me out in the cool down periods. It has a simple melody and “easy breezy” hook, but at the same time it’s positive, upbeat and genuine.
Candice was a contestant on American Idol season 11, and she made it all the way to Hollywood week, beating out thousands of hopefuls. Soon after her time on the popular television entity she met Dave Lubben, a veteran artist, songwriter and producer out of Portland, Oregon. One of his many credits include Kutless, my pal Kyle Peek’s band (shameless drummer plug). Candice and Dave, alongside her brother Aaron, wrote ten of the original songs on her new project. The album has top studio musicians from Los Angeles, Nashville, and Portland. According to press release:
“Candice grew up singing in the church. Her mom was amazed when she first heard Candice singing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ with perfect pitch when she was just one year old. At the age of sixteen, Candice won a state wide singer-songwriting contest at the Oregon Fine Arts Festival.”
She has recently celebrated her first #1 song on Indiecharts.com — the song titled “Good Luck With That.” She also experienced a jolt in popularity when she was featured on the top ten iTunes app Video Star, where her song “Too Into You” was heard by over 1.2 million people. Her album is a great collection of songs that will appeal not only to Christian music fans but mainstream pop fans as well.
For more information, visit Candice’s official website at www.candicerussell.com. I recently had a great conversation with her about her music, her new album, and skydiving (yes — skydiving)!
Are you hoping to have success on the Christian music charts as well as in secular mainstream music?
Yes. It would be awesome to have success in both. My album I just released is more of a mainstream album, but as a Christian you can recognize Biblical principles within the music, and they are all clean songs. My dream is to have my music reach the secular market and work there and also have it work in the Christian market.
I enjoyed the album. My personal favorite song is “Escape.” Could you tell us more about it?
Thank you. I wrote this song as well as co-wrote all the songs on my album with my producer and my brother actually. And they are all personal songs from my life, and “Escape” is actually based on me and my dad. If I have had a really bad day or have had a lot on my mind, he and I would just go for a drive and try to forget about what is going on and listen to music and relax; and it is a song about experiences I had with my dad when I was growing up.
What was your writing process? How did you get the creative juices flowing?
How I specifically wrote for this album was my producer and I got together and he basically said, go write down things that have happened in your life that stand out to you. So I took a note book and I just started writing, and then we looked at what I wrote and chose collectively what we were going to write the songs about. Each song has a significant meaning to me
You said in your bio that you like to write songs that help uplift people and make them feel good about themselves. Is it important to you to make your fans feel like a special part of your music and career?
I have had people send me Facebook messages and say, “I heard the song ‘So Much More’ and it really inspired and encouraged me,” and that really means so much to me, honestly — it’s the reason why I write and perform. I really want to reach people where they are. If people message me I try my best to get back to them. I want my fans to know that I care about them; my fans are what make me keep going.
What did you learn on your experience on American Idol?
[laughs] It was pretty crazy! A lot of emotions going on…excitement…you are nervous…it was kind of a freaky experience, and when I got sent home it was sad. But overall it was a great experience. It is what helped propel me into what I am doing today, and it gave me experience for interviews and performing. Overall, it was a good experience.
Random question: if you were to go skydiving, who would you want strapped to you and why?
Oh man…[laughs]. I would take my dad for sure because we have discussed it before, and we both promised my mom we would not tell her when we do it.