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Meet Miguel Russell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Miguel Russell.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was originally born in New York. My dad taught me how to play drums when I was about two years old. He then put me into a music school to further my education at four years old. From there, I met my first mentor, Baba Donald Eaton, who molded me into the student of music I am today. I then began to do performances at this age, playing around New York City to get the full experience of being a musician. At age six, I moved to South Florida, where I continued to grow exponentially, and soon found some of my future bandmates and best friends for years to come. In High School, I attended Dillard Center for the Arts, which gave me the opportunity to further my musical education.

Under the direction of Christopher Dorsey, I gained more knowledge on my instrument and music as a whole than I ever thought I could gain. In the jazz band, we were able to attend the prestigious Jazz at Lincoln Center Essentially Ellington competition, and place top 3 all my four years in a row, and winning 1st place in my sophomore year. This paved the way for opportunities for me to study under some of the greatest musicians of our time. I also am a 2020 National Youngarts Finalist, a recipient to attend the prestigious Vail Jazz Workshop in 2019, and more. I am now a first year student at the Manhattan School of Music where I study under the great drummer Kendrick Scott, furthering my education.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road has not been smooth. Struggles will come from any area of life and from obstacles that have to overcome. After all, music and life are not separate; rather they are one entity. For example, struggles I’ve had to overcome when I was younger was my age. Some people would not take me seriously before hearing me play because of how young I was. Sometimes I would not get the opportunities others would get simply because of how young I was. I took that as motivation and worked to get proficient on my instrument as possible so that age would not be a factor. Other challenges that I am in the process of overcoming is financial challenges. I’m living on my own as a college student and have no drum set for myself at the moment. This makes it hard for me to find work as a drummer to support myself in these unprecedented times.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
My business is simple. I play all types of music for any event that I am hired for: band leading, sideman gigs, festivals, clubs, recordings, etc. I believe what sets me apart from the others is my aesthetic. The aesthetic I bring is much different from your standard “professional” or “formal” aesthetic. The same way I carry myself off the bandstand is the same way I carry myself on the bandstand. This brings an unmatched energy and vibe that is more personal, energetic, and youthful compared to the standard.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I define success as being happy with what your life. Once you are happy with your life, happy with where you are, what is to come, free to let yourself ride the journey through life, you’ve succeeded. I don’t believe there are general markers because those markers of our journeys to success are personalized for us. It’s ours. The more we go through life and mature, the closer we are to success.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Steve Pope

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