INTERVIEW: Shawna Russell

Interview by Bev Moser, Moments By Moser
Sept. 29, 2008

Shawna Russell shares some time with me as she celebrates the release of her debut CD "Goddess" and talks about the fan reaction to the hard work she has put into her work, her performance and the project.

Bev: Great to have a moment to visit with you Shawna, I know you have been very busy promoting your debut CD “Goddess” since its release in March. What have you found has surprised you the most since the CD was released?

Shawna: I think the one thing that surprised me the most was that so many different people have listened to it and they all like such a wide variety in their choice of favorite song and I think that in itself is a great testament in the writing and the production of the CD. There are not only one or two real good ones, but many that people can relate to and want to hear.

Bev: Of all the songs on the new album, which is getting the most popular or favorable response and most requested and why?

Shawna: Well, again I am getting a lot of requests, but the single is out right now, “I Should Have Been Born With Wheels” so I am getting a great response to that particular cut. It is a very personal song about my life and my travels and trips on the road, so it means a lot to me that they are receiving this song so well.

Bev: Traveling from venue to venue, when you arrive in a new city, what is one of the 1st things you look for?

Shawna: Right now we are doing a lot of venues I have played before, so we know the area and we are all big college football fans, so we will hang out and watch a game together and that is very relaxing for everyone. It is like family all sitting down and watching a game in the living room at home.

Bev: I know you wrote or co-wrote many of the songs on this CD, anything in particular that inspires your writing or is it random thoughts and feelings? When you have a block, what do you do to refresh yourself and get back into the mode of writing?

Shawna: I do have a lot of random thoughts, and so do my co-writers and when we get together to write we can bounce these ideas off one another, and it might change the initial concept but that is what makes co-writing so great. A lot of times for me, songs come quickly, but there are also times when we just have to take a few minutes and turn something into a silly situation to get the lyrics flowing again. That really works for me and my co-writers. It really relaxes us.

Bev: What has been your most difficult hurdle this far in your career?

Shawna: Being independent has been the hardest for me, because you are up against the giant names on a big label and we are making strides, but it is a long hard haul.

Bev: You just signed a two year promotional deal with a venue in Oklahoma where you are from, have you performed at the Little River Music Valley and Music 4 Life concert facility before?

Shawna: I have. I opened a show for Jeff Bates there, and I just was there for the Oklahoma Rising Star Contest and I was the headliner. I was not participating, but performed while votes were being talented. This venue is an outdoor amphitheatre in a very beautiful setting with a pond and I am so proud to be part of it.

Bev: I know you have played in some of the top venues all over the country and just finished a tour with Ty England, and now are going out on tour on your own to promote this project, do you have any favorite cities or venues you love to perform at?

Shawna: I remember one show in Aspen Wyoming that was also an outdoor show and it was beautiful outside and near the mountains so it is just gorgeous. Ogden Utah also has a great venue. I also enjoy the Grizzly Rose in Denver, or Billy Bobs in Texas.

Bev: You sing, play acoustic rhythm, lead guitar, and occasionally saxophone – are you finding you have any favorite role on stage or do you enjoy mixing it up?

Shawna: I like mixing it up. I also like to play guitar while I am singing on stage so I feel a part of the band and we are a whole, not just me being out there as a lead singer. I like doing all of it.

Bev: If you had your choice of anyone to write with who would it be? And Why?

Shawna: I was always a big fan of the late Dan Fogelberg, so if I could've written with Dan during his life, oh wow, that would top my list. I always appreciated his abilities to write and would've loved to just be able to have learned from him.

Bev: Same questions, but performing, anyone past or present you would love to perform with?

Shawna: Keith Urban would be my 1st choice, because he is so fun to watch perform. He is an incredible performer, and is inspiring to watch and so into what he is doing and so talented.

Bev: Worst experience on the road?

Shawna: We could write a book on that subject. We travel in a motor home, so there are a million experiences. On stage I do not have any bad experiences, I have been lucky not to have any mishaps or fallen on my face on stage, but riding across country in a motor home is not exactly conducive to comfort.

Bev: As both an artist who performs and writes – if you had to choose to do one or the other which would you choose?

Shawna: I would rather perform. I really love singing and sometimes when I am on stage, I will look out there and just take a moment and savor it, because I am so thankful I get to do that. It is a strange wonderful that when you open your mouth and sound comes out and people love it.

Bev: Any embarrassing stage stories?

Shawna: I am very lucky that I have not had anything bad happen on stage.

Bev: How about pet peeves of being an artist?

Shawna: No, I cannot say I have too many at all. I try to take everything as it comes and not let things get to me, I enjoy it when people want to have a picture made or ask me to autograph a napkin or something. Nothing is bothering me.

Bev: What do you enjoy most about being in the entertainment industry? Dislike?

Shawna: Everything. I love to travel, I have always been a gypsy at heart and moved around a lot as a child, so it is in my bones to pick up and see new things and do new things. And being a performer and meet all the new people is amazing. Sometimes I just have to pinch myself because it just does not seem real.

Bev: In 50 years, looking back at the life of Shawna Russell, what do you want to be remembered for most?

Shawna: I want people to say I never gave up and I gave it all to pursue my dreams. No matter how hard it was, how low the lows were or how high the highs got, I always kept on in pursuit of reaching my goals.

Bev: Is there any one song that you absolutely love to perform, not necessarily one you have recorded, but any song that you just really love.

Shawna: I truly love all of them on my album, but there is a song by Bonnie Raitt called “Angel From Montgomery” that I really love to sing every night in my show.

Bev: Is there anything in particular about this album you really want to say about it or about yourself that no one ever asks you in an interview ?

Shawna: When an artist puts out a new album, and especially a new artist, I hope people really listen to this. I put a piece of me in this, my blood, sweat and tears, so I hope they can feel and see they are getting a piece of my soul in this project and if they do, then I want them to know that makes me very happy when they take that time to really listen.

Bev: I did notice in reviewing your cd that two of your co-writers share the same last name as you, any relation?

Shawna: They are my uncle, Tim, and my dad, Keith. That has been very special too that I get to share this experience with them. I have grown up performing along side them, since I was about 13, so it has been a family affair for us.

Bev: In closing I would like to thank you for your time and wish you great success as both a song writer and a performer. I look forward to visiting with you again and watching you perform.

Shawna: Thanks so much Bev, I have appreciated you taking your time to take interest in me and has been great sharing this time with you as well.

For more information on Shawna Russell visit her online at or

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