Simon RuSSell - Keys / Vocals / songwriting
The Bay Area is a place well known for its great soul music as well as being the home of countless musical legends. Through the years, Simon has developed a musical style that embraces the soulful traditions of the Bay Area with his Jazz/Blues/Gospel/Funk inspired vocals and piano style. In 1983, Simon moved to the Bay spending most of his time in Oakland, CA where he learned the great art of performance and musicality from a number of local musicians who were gracious enough to bring him under their wing.
One of the most influential musical figures in Simon's career was the multi-instrumentalist Rafael Grinage (bass player for Earl Fatha Hines and Odetta). He taught Simon that "No note should be wasted. Make every note count or be silent!" These words have stayed with Simon all of his career.
As a musician, Simon has had the great honor of performing with The James Brown Band, El Debarge, Ziggy Modeliste, Elvin Bishop, Pete Escovedo, Vet Stone, Rose Stone, The Angels, Anika Noni Rose, Tom Politzer, Micheal Blankenship, Kevin Levar, Professor Sylvester Henderson, Sylvester Burkes, Kim Waters, John Nemeth, Mads Tolling, Tony Lindsay, Tommy Castro, David Grissom, Lady Bianca, Mitch Woods, EC Scott, Zakiya Hooker, Curtis Lawson, Beverly Stoval and many that are truly remarkable musical phenoms yet to be discovered on a grand scale commercially. In 2007 Simon Russell performed with the Soul Generals in Toronto, Ontario, Canada opening for the Morris Day and The Time.
In 2012, Simon joined Kim Waters to perform for and honor Quincy Jones on Black History Month.
In 2013, Simon joined Paula Harris and the Beast of Blues who were awarded a Blues nomination and multiple Blues awards for their release "Turning On The Naughty"
Simon is also a prolific composer and songwriter with hundreds of compositions throughout his career, covering many different styles and genres.
Simon Russell started a new venture in 2018! A music school for youth and adults called Notes Music Academy as well as a non-profit, Notes for Change, both helping the community to develop and flourish their artistic expression through music education and mentorship.