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Brenda Russell

Background information
Birth name Brenda Gordon
Born April 8, 1949 (1949-04-08) (age 60)
Origin Brooklyn, New York
Genres Pop, R&B, Adult Contemporary, Jazz
Years active 1975–present
Labels Horizon (1979)
A&M (1979–1982, 1988–1990)
Warner Bros. (1983)
EMI (1991–1993)
Hidden Beach (2000–2002)
Dome / Narada Jazz (2003–)

Brenda Russell (born Brenda Gordon, April 8, 1949, Brooklyn, New York) is an African American singer-songwriter and keyboardist. Known for her eclectic musical style, her recordings have encompassed several different genres, including pop, soul, jazz and adult contemporary. As well as composing her own material, Russell's songwriting talents are often in demand by many other artists who, over the years, have included Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Earth, Wind & Fire, Donna Summer and Sting.

Contents

Biography

Born to musical parents (her father Gus was a one-time member of The Ink Spots),[1] she spent her formative years in Canada after moving to Hamilton, Ontario, aged twelve. As a teenager she began performing in local bands and in her late teens joined the Toronto production of Hair, during which time she had begun to play the piano. In the early 1970s she married musician Bryan Russell and (as Brian & Brenda) they went on to release two albums on Elton John's Rocket label, Word Called Love (1976) and Supersonic Lover (1977). The Russells also performed on two tracks from Robert Palmer's breakout soul-pop album Double Fun. The couple had divorced by the late 1970s, and Brenda, now living in Los Angeles, had set out on a solo career. Their daughter, Lindsay, was born in 1977.

On January 26, 2007, Brenda and Brian became grandparents when Lindsay gave birth to a son, Nehimiah.

Signed to Tommy LiPuma's Horizon Records, Russell's debut single "So Good, So Right" became a hit in 1979. After the quick demise of the Horizon label, Russell was picked up by A&M who released her self-titled debut album, which featured the tracks "If Only For One Night" (later a hit for Luther Vandross) and "In the Thick of It". This was followed in 1981 by her second album, Love Life. Signed to the Warner label, she released Two Eyes in 1983. Russell soon relocated to Sweden and began writing songs for her next album.[2]

Released in 1988, Get Here became her greatest commercial success, spawning her biggest hit "Piano in the Dark" and garnering three Grammy Award nominations. The title track went on to become a worldwide hit when covered by Oleta Adams in 1991. After releasing two further albums in the early 1990s, Russell took time off from recording her own music. During this period she composed songs for other artists and wrote the score for the film How Stella Got Her Groove Back. She also appeared in the 1999 film Liberty Heights in which she performed two songs written especially for the movie.

Russell resumed her solo career in 2000 with the critically acclaimed album Paris Rain, released on Hidden Beach Records. The album (which includes collaborations with Carole King, Dave Koz and Sheila E.) saw Russell move completely away from the pop market and toward a more adult oriented sound.[3] In 2003 she signed to the new UK label Dome Records and released the compilation album So Good, So Right: The Best of Brenda Russell. Her 8th studio album, Between the Sun and the Moon, was released by Dome the following year.

2005 saw the Broadway release of a musical stage version of Alice Walker's The Color Purple. Produced by Oprah Winfrey, the show's score is written by Russell and lyricists-composers Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.

Russell's forthcoming ninth studio album, This Is Real Life, is set for release in 2010.

Discography

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Albums

Brenda Russell

  • Released: 1979
  • Label: A&M
  • Chart Peak: US Pop #65, R&B #26
  • RIAA Certification: N/A
  • Singles: "So Good, So Right," "Way Back When"

Love Life

  • Released: 1981
  • Label: A&M
  • Chart Peak: US Pop #107, R&B #42
  • RIAA Certification: N/A
  • Singles: "If You Love (The One You Lose)"

Two Eyes

Get Here

Kiss Me With The Wind

  • Released: August 21, 1990
  • Label: A&M
  • Chart Peak: US R&B #65
  • RIAA Certification: N/A
  • Singles: "Stop Running Away," "Kiss Me With The Wind"

Greatest Hits

Soul Talkin'

Paris Rain

  • Released: July 18, 2000
  • Label: Hidden Beach
  • Chart Peak: N/A
  • RIAA Certification: N/A
  • Singles: "Catch On," "Walkin' In New York," "You Can't Hide Your Heart From Me," "Something About Your Love"

Ultimate Collection

So Good So Right: The Best Of Brenda Russell (UK)

  • Released: June 9, 2003
  • Label: Dome
  • Chart Peak: N/A

Between The Sun And The Moon

  • Released: May 31, 2004 (UK) / October 5, 2004 (US)
  • Label: Dome (UK) / Narada Jazz (US)
  • Chart Peak: US R&B #96
  • RIAA Certification: N/A
  • Singles: "Make You Smile," "I Know You By Heart"

In the Thick of It: The Best of Brenda Russell

  • Released: June 29, 2009 (UK)
  • Label: Dome
  • Chart Peak: N/A

This Is Real Life

  • Released: 2010
  • Label: Dome (UK)
  • Chart Peak: N/A

Filmography

Brenda Russell features as a singer in the following films.

References

  1. ^ Life and Soul Interview (13 June 2003). Retrieved 3 November 2009.
  2. ^ Interview (24 April 2007). SongFacts.com. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  3. ^ "Brenda Russell Returns With Her New Album, Paris Rain, And Top Writing Collaborators" SingerUniverse.com. Retrieved 10 January 2010

External links


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