After spending time in both London and LA at the Lee Strasbourg studios, Russell, much to the sadness of his peers and mentors, felt he was never going to make the transition from child star to adult actor. He was just 17, and as his passion for music had continued to deepen, he decided to rent a room in his dad’s factory to create and rehearse with a newly formed band. They spent several years gigging on the London circuit, during which time a family friend introduced Russell to Andrew Green at ByVirtue Music Management. Working with a producer there, he was eventually offered a 4 track EP deal with Telstar Records and his cover of ‘Eleanor Rigby’, received positive critical acclaim.
He was then introduced to Hit and Run Music Publishing, owned by veteran music manager Tony Smith (Genesis) and Phil Collins, and was offered a publishing deal writing for existing artists. It was here that he met and wrote with Steve ‘Tha 4Orce’ Ellington, Geoffrey Williams and Femi Williams (from the Young Disciples) and Johnny Dollar who has written/produced for Massive Attack, Sugababes, Gabrielle, Neneh Cherry and Mutya Buena. During this period he parted company with Andrew Green and teamed up with a new manager, Brian Reza. One of his co-writes “I Feel You” was selected to be included in the All Saints album, “Saints and Sinners”, which went on to become a Platinum best-seller.
Russell formed a real musical affinity with studio engineer and producer Steve ‘Tha 4Orce’ Ellington and they decided to form a new band, which was called, NASH. Russell, drawing on his acting experiences was the perfect front-man, totally at ease in front a few or thousands. Singing, producing, playing guitar, he was also the principal song-writer. There was tremendous alchemy between them, resulting in a unique fusion, bursting with soul, vibrant beats and richly layered orchestration and arrangements. The six piece group also included, Peter Cherry on bass, Tim Baxter on keys, Don Bannister on live drums and Izzi Dunn on the cello. They secured a deal with Polydor/Go Beat Records and although NASH initially found it hard to breakthrough in the UK, they sold 40,000 copies of their highly acclaimed album ‘The Chancer’ around the world, charting in Australia & Asia with both album and their single ‘100 Million Ways. The bands heart-felt deliverance was bursting with energy and was full of delightful twists resulting in a growing fan base and increasingly successful performances & tours both on home turf and internationally.
WHAT THE CRITICS HAD TO SAY:
“Less acid jazz than Jay Kay, more soulful than Kravitz, this London duo’s debut is as convincing an attempt to reclaim the charts for ‘proper’ music as will be released this year” GQ magazine
“Nash is good for you, like music used to be” Front magazine
“Classy, British hip-hop soul” The Times
“A truly tremendous example of British soul at its best” Touch magazine
“Thank God that someone’s still got the balls to make music like this…..a great new talent” Worldpop
“A truly tremendous example of British soul at its best” - Touch magazine “One of the most inventive and exciting artist launches of this year” The Tip Sheet
“The quintet purvey a weather beaten smorgasbord of old-skool jazz, soul and R@B, with exuberant front-man Russell Nash’s chameleon voice capable of evoking Al Green one minute, Stevie Wonder the next” London Metro
“Nash’s fluid voice is consistently a thing of beauty” The Guardian
“A winning debut” The Observer
“Russell Nash’s voice has the saccharin shrill of the best Motown movers and husky urban know-how of the finest contemporary shakers” The London Evening Standard
Russell Nash was born in London in 1971. As soon as he could walk he was obsessed with dancing, spending many hours rehearsing and giving performances to imaginary audiences. His mum, recognising that her middle son was certainly different from his football playing contemporaries, took him out to buy him tap shoes and enrolled him in a local dance & drama studio. He was equally excited to discover the thrill of being taught new dances - and girls in leotards. Only eight years old, he entered an open audition for a West End production of Oliver. He couldn’t believe his good fortune when he was cast in one of the lead roles, however the offer was very short-lived as the company soon realised he was legally underage for the part. By way of compensation, they invited him to ‘Come along and watch the rehearsals’, as if watching another boy living his dream would somehow lessen the devastation he felt. Russell did however make his first major stage entrance, when he became so entranced watching and learning from the Oliver cast working out, he leant too far forward and in his enthusiasm, fell headfirst out of the visitor’s box, bringing the entire theatre company to a standstill.
His parents understood that their live-wire son needed to be immersed in performance and felt he was not to be restricted by conventional education, so at age of 12 with their love & support, he auditioned and was accepted into the renowned Sylvia Young Theatre School. He was in his element, learning from some of the best in the business. His professional career took off as he honed his craft acting in television, theatre, film and musicals, whilst also in demand for mainstream commercials and modelling in between roles.
THE FICKLE FINGER OF FATE
The unexpected intervention of fate has played a key role in Russell’s career. He was cast for an international tour of Oliver as one of Fagin’s crew and as understudy to Dodger. One week before departure, the boy who was cast as Dodger woke to find his voice cracking and breaking an octave lower than the part required, and Russell awoke to find himself in the lead role. From that tour onwards, he was consistently cast in some of the juiciest roles available for a juvenile actor and his career went from strength to strength.
As a busy teenage actor Russell worked with Roger Daltrey on two productions, where a working respect and friendship was forged. It was Roger Daltrey who led the young Nash to pick up a guitar for the first time, when he invited him to learn two songs very quickly, so that he could audition at the famous Abbey Road studios, for the lead in the movie ‘Buddy’s Song’. He lost the part to Chesney Hawkes but Daltrey, impressed with the musicality of his young Little Match Girl fellow actor, asked him to join him in Hastings to perform on the demos for the soundtrack. A passion was fired and for the next five years, in every spare moment, Russell dedicated himself to making music, fascinated by harmony and technique, teaming up with some really wonderful like-minded musical soul mates. He knew music was going to be his destiny.
Another poignant moment in this period occurred when he was appearing in Lionel Bart’s ‘Blitz’. Diane Langton, the actor who had also been alongside him in the feisty and ill-fated production of ‘Angry Housewives’ was a big mate of Bart and insisted on re introducing them. Naturally Bart remembered the performance of one of his cheekier Dodgers and was delighted to spend time with him. He generously shared insight into how he composed and heard music. These two men, one coming to a sad end of his life and the other full of enthusiasm just beginning, had a profound discussion about composing, neither knowing that many years in the future, Russell would be co writing a musical of his own.
*Royal Variety Performance – Lead in Sylvia Young Theatre School Company
*Canada Tour of Oliver, lead of Dodger, directed by Peter Coe. ‘82
*Tyne & Wear – Peter Pan lead ‘85
* TV series, Terry and June ’86
*Lyric Hammersmith – Musical, Angry Housewives, director Art Woolf ‘86
*TV movie playing The lead Arthur in Roger Daltrey’s musical version of the Hans Christian Anderson classic tale of ‘The Little Match Girl’ directed by Michael Custance ‘86
*Salome’s last Dance, directed and cast by Ken Russell.’87
*TV series How to be Cool, starring Roger Daltrey. ‘88
*William Tell TV series filmed in France for Canadian TV. ‘89
*Bearskin – an Urban Fairytale, with Ian Drury and Tom Waites, directed by Ann & Eduardo Guedes. ‘89
*UK regional tour of Oliver, playing Dodger, with Roy Hudd as Fagin. ‘90
*National Theatre London in a commemorative Gala Performance celebrating the history of the Mayors of London. ‘91
*Blitz Musical (Lionel Bart) Tyne & Wear National Youth ’92