Artists On The Rise:
Russ & Paulina
Strip Down "Willy Wonka"

When we first heard Russ on the self-produced banger "Willy Wonka" (featuring Paulina and Jafé), we thought "wow, this is some solid chill vibe shit!" And then we met the producer-on-the-mic, who was at first subdued...and then way LIT. After pulling an all nighter in the studio, Russ arrived to Swagger with singer Paulina Singer just before noon, equipped with a quarter-full bottle of Tanqueray.

It was Tuesday.

With ten albums under his belt, the 22-year-old Russ joins a pack of young musicians who've bucked the label-signing trend, forging his own fledgling label/lifestyle hub, DIEMON. At the start of the summer, the Atlanta-born producer souped up his track "Willy Wonka" by enlisting the smooth vocals of Singer, who recently wrapped a stint in Anne Hathaway's

The Intern

. That was a smart move: Singer's voice soars on the breakout single, and she also helped create its music video, shot solely on an iPhone.

"[Willy Wonka's] sound is like sex," Russ asserted. But he's also quick to point out that while rife with cheeky lyrics like, "Fresh like a breeze in the sauna/I could get whatever when I wanna", the track touches on candy-coated vices. "That’s the beautiful thing about "Wonka", it’s a really a song about being surrounded by distractions, or things you shouldn’t take advantage of because it’s really harmful to you, but it’s hard to stay away because it’s everywhere." Drink, anyone?

Watch Russ and Paulina perform a stripped down version to "Willy Wonka" at Swagger's studio below.

All photos via Ryan Jay for SWAGGER


Oct 7, 2015


Cassandra Alcide