STYLE. GROOMING. INSPIRATION. ADVICE.
STYLE AND CULTURE
MEET RUSSELL ELLIOT
By Hallie Liang, January 23, 2019
Whether it comes to striking a pose in front of the camera, letting loose with dancers on a stage or serenading a captive audience at a secret Sofar Sounds gig, it's clear that R&B musician Russell Elliot never gives less than 100% in what he does. We sat down with the expressive singer to chat live performances, challenging fashion's gender norms and what's coming in 2019...
Describe your style in three words:
"'90s Occult Thot."
What role do fashion and style play in your music?
"To me, well-written songs convey visual images in addition to emotions and narrative. Fashion is part of how I build, specify, and enrich the images my songs carry."
Craziest thing you've ever worn:
"What immediately comes to mind is the lace one-piece I wore for my birthday this year with a pair of leather pants. It’s a leotard that snaps between your legs. Listen, I was not prepared for the discomfort!"
What do you think will be the big trends in music and fashion this year?
"Femme energy is dominating 2019 in music and fashion, hands down. I look forward to both worlds continuing to challenge toxic masculinity."
Tell us about your favorite gig you’ve ever played:
"I played Sofar Sounds’ East meets West showcase in 2017 for an audience of Sofar reps from all over the world (the founder was also there). These reps oversee shows from London to Los Angeles, so meeting them that night afforded me the opportunity to play additional venues in every city on my tour to SXSW. I played everywhere from whiskey distilleries to backyards, tech offices to living rooms. The show itself felt like time stood still. I could have stayed there forever, playing stripped-down songs for a generous audience in a candlelit TriBeCa loft."
What’s the best part of doing shows with Sofar Sounds?
"As my shows get bigger, I worry that lyrics are less and less a focal point. There are dancers and fancy lights and big tracks. I worry it’s too easy to lose the story. Sofar Sounds is a chance to simplify — just me, my stories, and a piano."
How do you like to dress while performing on-stage?
"I’ve got to be able to dance and breathe and not overheat. You will frequently catch me in a crop top of some variety, a piece of body jewelry, and my lucky pair of Timbs."
Tell us about your recent work. What are you most proud of about it?
"Two areas I’m always exploring in my writing are spirituality and love. Previously, my spirituality felt very soft and my thoughts on love… well those were hard. I’m proud of the way I’ve found grit in my spirituality and tenderness in love. I think it’s made for a more interesting marriage of the two themes in my new music and I can’t wait for you to hear it."
Dream musical collab:
"Leikeli47 x Kehlani x Russell Elliot."
Who are your biggest inspirations?
"Aaliyah, Amy, Selena, Whitney."
What are your goals for the new year?
"Specify my intentions, goals, and language. Eat more. Secure le bag. Accept love. More tattoos."