Russ is a pop music artist who has achieved worldwide acclaim through hard work and dedication. With his RIAA-certified platinum album, There's a Wolf, released in May 2017, with more than 12 albums to date and over 200 released songs, he has truly demonstrated commitment. His meteoric rise to massive success in an industry that many have entered but few have dominated is fascinating.
Russ is a bit of an outlier in that he produces, mixes, masters, writes, and records his music. Except for writing and recording, vocal recording artists typically outsource these services to a label or hire private specialists in these areas to help them achieve a professional product. Russ has stated that he grew up with his music equipment and learned to use music production software. This allowed him to create and produce content without spending money on producers, engineers, etc.
His Humble Beginning
Russ grew up in a low-income family and moved around the country with his family to support his father's career. He recounted his life experience as he began to blow up and make big bucks under his parents' roof in a candid interview in 2018. The artist recalled the strange dynamic that arose when he became the sole provider for his family through his digital royalties. He'd finally move out when he was 24, but only after he was confident that he could leave his parents' finances in good shape.
It's no surprise that the single is receiving over 2 million streams per day on Spotify alone, giving Russ yet another hit. But he's more excited to help a previously unknown artist than to return to the charts. "She killed it, so why wouldn't I release this version as the remix?" he wonders. "It would look forced if I went and did the industry thing and got some big established act to do the remix." And my fans would have screamed in the comments, 'We wanted Katelyn!' Now I'm facilitating significant life events for her. She had never before heard herself on the radio. It's an honor to be able to assist her in winning."
The timing couldn't be better for Russ, who on Wednesday announced the launch of his own independent label, DAEMON (pronounced "diamond" without the final "d"). He hopes to assist more artists like Katelyn in winning. "What's going on with 'Handsomer' is proof of concept," Russ tells Rolling Stone. "This [song] was up against millions of dollars in major label campaigns and rollouts, and it was still Number One on iTunes across all genres." If 'Handsomer' is removed from the internet tomorrow, it already demonstrates to everyone that you don't need a major" to have a hit.