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Heather Russell shines on long-anticipated LP:'Knock, Knock'

by Isabel Williams

With her powerful theatricality and impressive vocal control, Russell displays all the talent of a timeless musical icon.

Powerhouse vocalist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, all at the age of 23. World, meet Heather Russell. Having been previously signed by Simon Cowell at just nine years old, it seems that the multi-talented musician has only refined her artistry as the years have progressed. Now, Russell’s latest LP, ‘Knock, Knock’ – a project that has been in the works for two years – is making its debut across streaming platforms.

‘Knock, Knock’ is an amalgamation of three parts, all released at different times. Russell previously dropped two EP’s in 2023 with the intention of combining them into a final, consummated work at a later point. With each EP sharing half an album cover and half of a full title, the drawn-out release is a playful twist on the classic marketing approach, and one that has left Russell’s fans drooling with anticipation. Finally, the two halves have become whole.

Speaking to her thousands of fans on her Instagram story, Russell referred to the tracks on this album as being inspired by “true raw experience”, and this channelled vulnerability manifests clearly in Russell’s lyricism. With their richly emotive quality, touching largely upon the intensely turbulent experience of romance, the artist has hewn her pain into something beautiful.

Russell’s voice is a shining beacon in the landscape of her numerous musical skills. It’s unsurprising that Lionel Richie himself previously referred to her vocal control as being “just phenomenal”. The astounding range and powerful resonance have already drawn in comparisons to the iconic vocal prowess of artists Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande and Olivia Rodrigo. There is a theatricality and dexterity that lends it to any emotion, which Russell attributes in part to her love of film noir and vintage pop culture. As her LP flows from channelling feelings of sorrow to those of jubilation, Russell’s voice slips seamlessly from dark tones to bright tones, reeling all the way to the most delicate, airy notes.

Her vocal proficiency is especially prevalent on her newest song ‘Playground’, produced by Jackson Foote and co-written by Jbach. Unlike the other songs on the album’s track list, this gem of a tune is entirely fresh material; a bouncy, upbeat track that shows a sassier side to Russell’s musical personality. As the singer admonishes a former lover, the inflection of her words are sometimes punchy and assertive, other times soaring passionately to a climactic acoustic point. ‘Playground’ is as impassioned and inspired as it is dance-inducing.

Heather Russell is bringing a new face to the world of feel-good pop music, and with such an impressive start to the year already, we will certainly be keeping our eye on her.

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