Provo’s favorite folk-singing son Isaac Russell, formerly known to fans as RuRu, has made the big time.
The 17-year-old Rhombus-approved phenom recently signed an exclusive recording contract with Columbia Records, one of the few major labels left standing in an industry increasingly decimated by online file-sharing. Russell recently told Rhombus he is excited about the possibilities the deal will present for his music.
As part of his transition to the national stage, Russell will drop his longtime stage moniker, RuRu, and will record simply as Isaac Russell for Columbia. While it remains unknown exactly why the title was thrown aside, it is possible that the label wanted to avoid confusion with (and lawsuits from) a Japanese animation company with a similar name.
Russell began negotiations with Columbia following an April showcase he and his brother, Spencer (of local band Mudbison), played for record company scouts, including representatives from Universal and indie label Asthmatic Kitty. While it has taken a few months to hammer out the legal and compensatory details of Columbia’s buyout of Russell and his songs from local label Northplatte Records, the deal is now done.
“[I am an] exclusive recording artist of Columbia Record label,” Russell announced via his Twitter account on Tuesday.
The newly minted star plans to re-record portions of his 2008 album, Elizabeth, and lay down new material in a month-long recording session beginning August 7th. The recordings will be helmed by producer Dennis Herring, who has worked with several prominent artists, including Modest Mouse, Elvis Costello, Counting Crows, Ben Folds and the Hives.
The new album, which will be recorded at Herring’s Sweet Tea Studios in Oxford, Mississippi, will likely include old fan favorites like “Elizabeth,” “Excuse” and “Why,” but also feature fresher tracks like the heartfelt “Made Me A Man” and the rambling “Anniversary Song.” Russell recently told Rhombus that Columbia is shooting for a late 2009/early 2010 release.
Meanwhile, Russell and his band will tour the country this fall in support of the upcoming disc. He has been in California over the past week, playing shows in Los Angeles, Bakersfield and even a set at the California Mid-State Fair, alongside the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Journey and — Lord help us — Judas Priest. Unfortunately, Russell may not grace the stage at Velour for awhile with his new found fame, but his many local fans hope their favorite teenage folkie won’t stay away too long.
For an interesting look at Russell’s skyrocketing career, watch this video from Bakersfield’s NBC affiliate, KGET 17. To hear more, visit Russell’s MySpace page.
Steve Pierce is editor and co-founder of Rhombus. His weekend plans will take a serious nosedive now that RuRu isn’t playing local shows.