Nicholas Russell

Nicholas Russell


Seattle singer/songwriter and former IVAN frontman, Nicholas Russell grinds out power pop from the gut. His vocals hook and draw you into his world of honest intensity with lyrics that explore the joy and fear in human relationships. Full vocal arrangements and vivid sonic textures.


If Cleveland, Ohio was the launch pad of Rock and Roll 50 years ago, then Seattle, Washington was where they built the engine. From guitar-band pioneers like the Ventures and The Kingsmen; through the fury of Jimi Hendrix and Heart; and past the grunge / metal movement that spawned Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice In Chains, Seattle has been a breeding ground for some of rock’s most enduring legends dating back to the early 1950s.

Fast forward to 2004. Nicholas Russell, singer/songwriter and Jet City native is ready to carry on the tradition of the Northwest and forge a brave new path with unique but catchy chord changes, and a melody that everyone understands. In two words: pop music.

"A lot of people look down on you if you say you write and record pop music," says Russell, who has just completed his self-titled debut album. "But, that’s what my music is. The greatest writers in rock’n’roll from Little Richard; Holland Dozier Holland; Lennon & McCartney to Brian Wilson didn’t build their legacy around a lot of high-brow music. They made pop music and that has always been the real common denominator in the rock’n’roll equation. They call it pop music because it is indeed popular."

From the infectious melody and chord changes of the acoustic driven pop gem, "The Real One," through more aggressive songs like "Already Been," and "I Saw You", Russell presents many of the traditional scenarios with a fresh, and often compelling twist. It’s not just boy meets girl they fall in love and live happily ever after. With Nicholas Russell’s songs, the couple only makes it after years of therapy, bouts of psychosis, and considerable time spent in an anger management program.

After ten years on the Seattle club circuit, Russell has finally decided that it is his love of songwriting that has always been at the source of his musical inspiration. He has come full-circle and returned to writing and recording new songs best suited for himself (and not for a band of which he is a member). "Turning emotions into sound has always intrigued me and motivated me to keep moving forward with my music," he says. "This album took a year to record, but it has been years and years in the making."

"I had a girlfriend when I was 9 years old. Her parents would constantly play Elvis records in their home," says Russell. "I liked it enough to buy one of his records. Soon afterwards, one of my 8 older siblings introduced me to The Beatles, and that was it…"

Like millions of other aspiring musicians, Russell soon absorbed everything about The Fab 4 and their music he could, but it was one area in particular he paid attention to: their amazing ability to create well-crafted, infectious pop songs.

"My mom got me my first guitar around that time and I spent every free moment learning songs out of an Easy-Play Beatles songbook. By 12, I was in a band doing 8th grade dances singing stuff like ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’. I knew this is what I had to do. If nothing else, it was a great way to have girls introduce themselves to me."

Through his high school years and a myriad of bands, and during four years spent at the University of Washington earning a degree, he furthered his musical interests by taking advanced guitar and piano lessons, and later, classes in music theory and arrangement (Among his professors was Dave Brubeck Quartet member, Bill Smith).

"I graduated witth a degree in electrical engineering, with a main focus on digital signal processing for audio, but my real passion was the music classes I took," he says. "I would plead with the teachers in the music department and tell them I was a music major so I could get in all these great classes that only students in the music school could attend," he adds, admitting he could charm his way into any class he desired. "In the end, it was well worth the white lies. The education taught me how much goes into music composing. Most musicians take the process of songwriting for granted. It is, indeed, a real art."

While in college, he was asked by one of his older brothers to come on board at Victory Studios, a successful audio/video post production facility, where Russell worked creating film and TV music, as well as several years of doing engineering. "To be able to work there was like winning the lottery. I was able to go to work in a world class studio creating and recording all types of different music. For me, the recording studio has become an instrument all its own." Not long after joining the staff at Victory, he earned credits mixing audio recordings for video and CD compilations for the likes of Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains.

While cutting his teeth in the studio at Victory, his pop music career began to flourish in earnest. Russell was soon fronting two popular Seattle-based bands, Godot, and later, the popular club act, Ivan. The latter evolved into the current Russell solo project, with all of the former Ivan members appearing on his


The Real One

Written By: Russell / Postle

“When I hit my mid twenties, I began to feel let down. When I was a boy, everything I did was new; there was always something that I hadn’t tried yet. By the time I hit 25, I felt that I had pretty much done everything – at least once. So what else is there? I want someone to show me ‘The Real One’ because there’s got to be something else out there to make life sweet. Religion? Drugs? Love?”– NR 2004

If I went to recreate my life
I’d hype the drama, pump up the good times
But when I live it for real it seems there must be something more
When I grow up will I be strong and will I find the core
Show me THE REAL ONE. I want the real one
‘cause nothing here floats my boat or‘pulls me to the shore
Show me the real one
The preacher’s daughter dresses in black and grey
And she doesn’t have any proof about what they say
But still she lives her life like some big test
Waiting for Godot
Just a training class for the heaven that in my heart I know she will never know
Show me the real one. I want the real one
‘cause nothing does much for me leads me to the punch
Won’t you show me the real one
Show me the real one. I want the real one
‘cause nothing here will make me feel my life has just begun
Won’t you show me the real one

©2004 Nicholas Russell / Mickey Postle

Already Been

Written By: Russell

“When you’re young, you’re naïve, and there appears to be no way that the party’s going to end. Relationships are easy. Then you fall in love, then you get hurt, or maybe you leave a relationship and the guilt rips you apart. It’s almost enough to make you say that you’ve ‘Already Been’ down that road and you won’t get involved in that crap anymore! Almost…but not quite.”– NR 2004

That night I picked you up
The innuendos pushin’ – I got the nod
And I’d like to warm up my November but I’ve already been
I held my heart out on the limb and had it yanked from within
I’d like to believe in your heaven but I’ve already been
Organic emotion, tough love
What gave me the notion to trust love
I won’t catch hell from Aphrodite, I have already been
And nailed myself up on the cross for pleasures of the skin
I’d like to believe in your heaven but I’ve already been
But I could change my mind
if you will turn around and let me see you smile
And I’d like to kiss upon your neck one time but I’ve already been
I burned through fires that raged for seasons and stay smoldering within
I’d like to believe in your heaven but I’ve already been
But I could change my mind
if you will turn around and let me see you smile

©2004 Nicholas Russell


Written By: Russell

“There’s a dive in Seattle called the ‘5 Point Café. It seems to me that a lot of the people there are hiding from something. They hide behind piercings, black leather, tattoos, cigarettes, rock music, and alcohol. I think that they are hiding from daylight and the lives that they are ‘supposed’ to be leading. Needless to say, I’ve spent a lot of time there.” - NR 2004

Let me out I want to know I’m safe from doubt
I want to move under sequined clouds
I want to live in shadows
Box me in I need to know I’m safe and sane in sin
I want to get what I’m imagining
I want to live in shadows
Block out the day before my life starts glowing
Darkness is my only friend
I grind my life out into a dark black ashtray
Sometimes darkness is your only friend
Let me go
I want to never do what I’m told
I want to make the world uncomfortable
I want to live in shadows
block out the day before my life starts glowing
Darkness is my only friend
I grind my life out into a dark black ashtray
Sometimes darkness is your only friend
Bring on the night
before the cock starts crowing
Darkness is my only friend
I grind that cigarette
into a dark black ashtray
Sometimes darkness is your only friend
I don’t believe in love
I want to make the world uncomfortable
I want to live in shadows

©2004 Nicholas Russell


Nicholas Russell's debut, self titled album is finished and awaiting distribution.

Set List

The typical show is 30 to 60 minutes long, consisting mostly of the songs from the debut CD.
1. Wish For You
2. The Real One
3. Already Been
4. Shadows
5. My Goodbye
6. Hurt Your Pride
7. Fall Apart
8. I Saw You
9. Blue And Black