Ryan Donnelly: You recently released a new album with some older favorites on it. Your album ‘Meant to Be’ feels very much like a journal of the last few years of your music journey, was this the intention for the album?
Russell Lee: Yes and no. The song “Picture” has been gaining a lot of attention on YouTube in the past year. The amount of views has reached over 1,000,000, so we thought that it would be good idea to remaster the song and re-release it. There were a couple of songs that we did release previously as singles and four new songs as well.
Ryan Donnelly: With so many music highlights to consider, over one million streams of your music video for Picture, your multiple performances as Dauphin Countryfest, and having three songs simultaneously on the UK charts; at this point, is there a milestone that you are most proud of?
Russell Lee: That’s a tough question. We really like to perform live and have had some great experiences especially when we can get the crowd engaged. I would have to say though, that performing on the main stage at the Dauphin Countryfest has to be a serious highlight. The guys played very well (as they always do); It was both a fun and surreal performance.
Ryan Donnelly: Your songs are well known for their story driven style. Can you tell us a bit about your songwriting process?
Russell Lee: Most of the songs that I write usually come to me while I am playing the guitar. I may have an idea in mind and will just let the creativity flow. Sometimes the songs come out okay, and sometimes not so much.
Ryan Donnelly: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard your music before?
Russell Lee:I would probably say that there is a country flavor with a little pop, folk and rock.
Ryan Donnelly: Some musicians like the studio recording sessions over the live performances. Which side of the fence are you on here?
Russell Lee: They both have their good sides. I like the recording part where you can focus on the creative process. When you start you have an idea how the song should feel and what direction you want it to go in, however during the recording process this can change, which can be an exciting surprise. For live performances, it is a great feeling when you get to perform with the band in front of a live audience. The energy and excitement that happens with the band and the audience is a real adrenalin rush.
Ryan Donnelly: Is there a favorite song on this album for you, and why?
Russell Lee: I do have a couple of favorites. The song called “Believe In Me” was written after I had quite a scare from an accident that left me temporarily paralyzed, for this reason, I find this song to be a bit spiritual for me. The other song is called “I Don’t Know Why”. Some years ago, I had made a decision that I have regretted, and wish that I could have changed what I did. This song has been very good for what you can call liberating the spirit, and it helped to make peace with the situation.
Ryan Donnelly: You just had a successful CD Release party at a great venue. Can you offer these indie musicians some advice on how they can succeed in launching their own release party? I am sure you learned a few things through this experience.
Russell Lee: Oh my, there is so much to learn and to expect. I guess the best advice I can say is that first, be prepared, secondly, enjoy and embrace the moment. It is so easy to get caught up in the business part of the situation. And thirdly plan, plan, and plan to ensure you have all the small details taking care of. Make sure that you have given enough advance warning/timing of the event for your audience base; and…did I mention to have fun!
Ryan Donnelly: Today, social media is tied so closely with the success of a song. Do you have any platforms you really like? And other ones you tend to avoid?
Russell Lee: I personally like the Spotify platform the most, as you can create personalized playlists that are very user friendly for both musicians and listeners. We also like Instagram, as it provides a personal behind-the-scenes window into what the band is currently doing.
Ryan Donnelly: Moving further into 2019, what does the band have planned? New music videos? A mini tour? New music to record?
Russell Lee: We do have a performance coming up at Dauphin Countryfest, as well as at the Red River Ex in Winnipeg. We also released a video for the single called “I don’t know why”. Make sure to keep up with all of the latest news at our website www.russelllee.ca
Ryan Donnelly:Thank you so much for your time Russell!
Russell Lee: Thank you for the opportunity to talk about our music!