Angel Faye Russell, TV personality, Singer, Radio Host & Advocate of Female Southern Soul Artists!
Angel Faye Russell a TV personality, Singer, Radio Host,& Advocate of Female Southern Soul Artists. I had the opportunity to interview this multi-facet artist regarding how she shuffles all her talents. This is what she shared.
Hi, is this the beautiful Angel Faye Russell, TV personality, recording artist, radio host, and owner of her own show? Yes, it is. You are too much! (laughs)
Awesome! So good to talk to you, dear. Thank you so much for calling. My sincere gratitude goes out to you. This is an exceptional opportunity for me.
My pleasure! See Angel; everything has flipped today. Usually, you're the one that's interviewing people, so now it's your turn to be in the hot seat. (Laughs) It’s it is a switch.
Yes girl! So tell me, where are you from? I was born in Montgomery, AL., but Long Island, New York, is where I've lived most of my life.
Moving from the country to such a big and fast-paced state as New York, what was your experience? My mom moved us to New York when she separated from my dad. Due to my southern accent, I found it challenging because children made fun of me. Also, it was my first-time seeing snow. I remember seeing snow while riding on the bus, and I asked my mother, what was that white stuff? (laughs)
We had the biggest house in the neighborhood, and although we were poor, we were a tight-knit community. I grew up in a community where everyone, although they didn't have much, shared what they had.
That's awesome! So, tell me, where did your love for music come from? From my mom. I used to listen to my mom play a lot of soulful music like Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, and people with that nature. That's what I heard growing up. My brothers listened to Commodores, ZAPP Dazz Band, and others. Therefore, in my teenage years, we formed a cover band.
I grew up during the rap music boom. "Flavor Flav" and I grew up together. The clock that he wears around his neck he's worn that clock forever, and his nickname for me is "Secret Squirrel."
What made you decide to become a recording artist? It was because of flavor flav. I used to go to the studio with him and hang around. So although I was underage and only about sixteen, I would hang around like these clubs because I enjoyed listening to the bands that played there. Well, one day, this band saw me and asked me to sing, I sang, and then the next day, my manager, William Seabrook, who was with “Black Falcon Records,” was putting a group together, and he asked if I wanted to be a part of it.
What was the name of the group? The group was called "The New Magic Touch." They were getting ready to go on tour, but because the lead singer had cancer, she couldn't go. Consequently, I replaced the lead singer. That's how it all began.
I love watching bands, but I understand that being in a band can be tricky because some people make choices that others don't. It's incredible how one wrong choice can affect the entire band.
At what point did you decide to pursue your solo career? I married and did the family thing for a while, but after my husband died, I returned to the music scene. Now, at that time, I was managing a band, and we were playing behind this southern soul artist who, at the time, was charting and doing very well. Her name was, "Peggy Scott Adams." It was through her encouragement that I became a solo artist.
Were you excited, or were you fearful of stepping out? At first, I didn't have the courage, but when the band started to have problems, I decided to take a "leap of faith." later, I ran into my manager, Robert Henderson junior, who was with “Hotspot Records.” He took me under his wing and taught me about the music industry. I then went on to work with him doing music distribution for various record labels like Malaco and some southern labels like Henry stone, Mardi Gras, and others. I helped him mail out CDs for the labels. During that time, he also taught me a lot about radio, which led me to become involved in the field.
Right before he passed, he signed me to a distribution deal for my CD, "A Taste of Angel,” which was done through “Music Access.” Inc.
How did your career begin to progress? First, my manager, Joe Mason, is just so excellent! I am grateful for his career guidance and consider him a friend and professional. He also connected me with my co-manager, Vincent Berry, who worked with Norman Whitfield.
OK. Yes, well, he is in the process of doing a documentary on the life of Norman Whitfield, So I was able to participate. Initially, it was done in Detroit, where many artists from the Motown era attended. Dave Washington hosted the show. He's the voice of the show, unsung.
Awesome, Angel. I hear you've been nominated for an award. Tell me about that. Yes, I was nominated for "Best Female artists," which was a wonderful feeling! I was just happy to be recognized because in this industry. Currently, I'm advocating for "Southern Soul" to be included as a category in the Grammys. I would love to see that happen.
Besides southern soul not being included as a Grammy genre, what are some other challenges that you run into as a female southern soul artist? Well, Gina, female artists need to get the recognition they deserve in southern soul. It was a great honor to be nominated, and I am happy to have been recognized for my work.
Do you write and produce your music? Yes, all except for one or two songs. Apart from that, I have written and performed all the music.
That's fabulous, Angel! I'm proud of you! Tell me a little bit about "Southern Soul." Southern Soul is a genre that originated in the southern United States. That's where it got its name. The only drawback is that it's cliquish. All the guys stick together, so I could not find anyone to help me.
But the good thing that came out of it was that it forced me to do it on my own. I would have loved to collaborate with other artists, but I ended up writing all the lyrics of my music because I couldn't find anyone to help me at the time. In hindsight, it's not a bad thing.
Well, "Southern Soul" combines different types of music. You might have some gospel in there. You might have some R&B, rock, and soul. It also has a hip-hop-style top beat and a distinct bluesy baseline. Southern Soul also tells a story, like Blues. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. That's basically what "Southern Soul" is.
When I listen to your music, you put me in mind the likes of Coco Taylor. Although she is Blues and your southern soul, your styles are similar, and you are both accurate and raw. What's interesting is that back in her era, artists were assigned based on their ability. Nowadays, artists are signed based on their looks, which is a real tragedy because talent should not be based on looks. It should be based on skill. Now when I listen to southern soul, I hear a little country. Yes, Southern Soul does have some country roots, but it's expanding now to other areas, which is excellent.
Yes, awesome! You're also a TV and radio personality. Tell me about that. Yes, I'm on the "NOW" network, but I had to put that on a temporary hold because I have a lot on my plate. I was being spread so thin that I couldn't focus on everything even more now that I am the program director over a radio station and Bing the mouth of "Southern Soul Breakout," a radio show. When I started, it was only on about two stations, and now it has grown and expanded to many areas.
Where are they located? Mostly in California. Mountain View, and San Diego, CA. The funny is that although they don't play music from people of color, they play my show. That's just one example of how southern soul is spreading into multiple areas.
The executive producer is the owner of the name Southern Soul Breakout. I am just the host of the show.
Is it syndicated? Yes. Approximately 62 stations broadcast our station.
By you being a radio host and a recording artist, it's almost as though you're playing both sides. How do you feel that being a radio host has helped you as a recording artist? My model was, even though I'm in radio, I'm an artist first. Many people on the radio approached me about working on their station, but I was just so involved in doing so much with the music.
When COVID hit, that was a game changer because the work had ceased. Therefore, I searched for ways to keep my name at the forefront. That's how I got into radio. I never thought I would ever become a program director at a radio station. After all, I started as a DJ.
I never expected my life to unfold the way it has. I can relate to other artists as an artist. I intend to cater to women in this genre because it's much more difficult for women in this industry. As women, we have a lot more obstacles to overcome. Being a female in this industry is complex.
So, I agreed to come to the station if they would allow me to play southern soul female artists within the first hour of the show that would not commonly get played on terrestrial radio. And they agreed to it. Therefore, my show primarily focuses on artists that only sometimes get played on one terrestrial radio station.
They can now be heard because our show is in Georgia, Texas, California, Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana, Monroe, LA, Clarksdale, and Mississippi.
That’s a great Angel! You can help them because you now understand what makes a hit, and you can also help yourself with that knowledge. So, Angel, what can we expect from you this year? Well, I’ll have some new music. Also, I'm working with some people in the industry to bring Southern soul music to movies and TV.
That's great! I can't wait to see all that come to fruition. In closing, what is one of the most important things you want independent artists to know about getting their music played on the radio? Well, make sure that your music is quality. Don't just take something out of your basement and not correctly prepare it and think that someone with give it airplay. That's not going to happen.
Also, make sure that the lyrical content has some value and can relate to other people because those are the people who can buy your music. Remain loyal to your fans. As for me, I call my fans family because, without them, I'm nothing. Get as much knowledge as possible about the music industry and stay on top of this new era by learning about the latest techniques and media outlets available. This will help you to explore who you are. My wish is for them to have a basic understanding of these things.
Beautifully said. I'm so grateful and honored to be able to speak with you. I pray that God will continue to bless you and the works of your hands, be it done according to His will for your life. I pray that God will keep you safe in your beautiful family. Thank you again, Angel. Thank you. I never refuse a blessing or prayer. I appreciate it.
Praise God for that! Have a beautiful rest of your day! Thank you.
My pleasure. Bye. Bye.