When it comes to existing in this world, Russell Suereth doesn’t think of himself as someone who lives anywhere in particular. He existentially resides in “the world around him” — but for those of us who need longitude and latitude — he calls New York home. Suereth’s music sits on the iTunes shelf alongside other New Age artists, and his spirituality has a core depth that emerged from a very young age. Artists like Duane Allman and Carlos Santana became a kind of solace for him as he picked apart the sophisticated music, stating that he was drawn to Allman’s “Dreams” because of the “ethereal imagery.” He knew even at that age, that music would become something deeper for him than entertainment.
Life is a journey and Russell, like most artists, did not have a clear cut approach when he started out in music. Early attempts went the Adult Contemporary route — like Jason Mraz, John Mayer and Matt Nathanson. His first two albums were in that realm because he was testing the waters so to say. Looking back he remembers, “It’s a very tough genre to be successful in because there are so many artists in that genre, and there are so many household names there. It’s tough for artists to get their music and their name noticed.” Then one day (and take this as a lesson to listen to friends), a friend of his put it out there that he should try New Age — and thanks to music reviewer, Keith Hannaleck, that’s what he did on his album, Spiritual Haven.
He’d been a fan of the genre and his background playing guitar and piano coupled with his Philosophy degree from Boston University, naturally flowed into the New Age musical vibe. When asked about the marriage of music and spirituality; particularly which came first, Russell shares that, “Those two interests were always separate for me in my creation process, although now they’ve come together. I think that the more you create, the more you tend to lean toward your inner self, and bring that inner self out better. In my latest album I set out to incorporate spirituality into my music, but it wasn’t until after it was all done that I saw how much spirituality was really in there.”
Fans can hear that marriage on Spiritual Haven and looking back on the recording process, Russell really wanted to build contrasts. Being a visual person, he thoughtfully worked on creating a space for that on the album. He said, “I try to express visual imagery in my sounds. Contrast to me is a big way to create imagery in the soundscape. In my music I often pair soft sweeping instruments with instruments that have sharp and distinct sounds.” On top of building those pictures, he hopes that when people listen to this record that they will use the sounds to “connect to their spirit,” and also to “take the journey inside” the album as well.
After creating those images, connecting and taking a musical journey — fans can look forward to another record from Russell sometime in the new year. He’s working on the concept of the sounds right now. Also on next year’s horizon is the hope and possibility of getting a Grammy nomination as he’s been submitted for the 2016 honors. Even the hope of nomination is certainly a nice wedding gift visual!