Grayson Russell releases first album

Published 2:38 pm Friday, June 27, 2014

Grayson Russell of Clanton released his first album, "Wherever I Go," on June 20.

Grayson Russell of Clanton released his first album, “Wherever I Go,” on June 20.

Clanton native Grayson Russell is best known for his acting roles in commercials and motion pictures, but he recently broadened his horizon to the music industry.

Russell released his first album, “Wherever I Go,” on June 20.

The Christian album has a country/pop sound and contains tracks that Russell said spoke to him because of the encouraging lyrics.

The 16-year-old is no stranger to the world of music, as his parents Jerry and Crystal Russell started a Christian music ministry in Clanton.

“My dad and mom both sing, so it just came natural to me,” Russell said. “I was singing before I was acting. I started playing guitar four or five years ago and began singing and playing with my church youth praise band.”

While singing has been a lifelong talent of Russell’s, he shared that he is still adjusting to the art of producing music in a studio.

“For me, I think I am more comfortable acting. Being in front of a camera allows me to use my entire body to convey emotion, which I prefer,” Russell said. “Recording a song requires you to be able to express the emotion of the lyric with only the use of your voice. That was pressure for me, which is why I love live performances—they are a perfect balance of the two.”

The album was produced by Joyce Martin Sanders of Nashville and features Poison’s Will Doughty on keyboard, Kellie Pickler’s Josh Henson on guitar and Rascal Flatts’ Jim Riley on drums.

Russell said that everything was recorded at CTM Productions in Nashville and the process took about six months from start to finish.

“Writers would pitch songs to my producer for me to listen to. After two months of listening, we had 10 incredible songs, one of which was written for me—‘Warrior,’” Russell said. “We spent one day with the musicians recording all the music, and about a month later, after it was mixed and we had the sound we liked, I spent three days in the studio recording the vocals.”

The Peach Kickoff Summer concert on June 20 at McKinnon Toyota Nissan in Clanton served as Russell’s album release concert.

In addition to the concert, Russell has a busy summer ahead with appearances leading worship at summer youth camps in Florida, and then participating in several album promotion events in Tennessee.

When asked what it’s like to balance high school, acting and singing, Russell shared that he has to be very “careful” to make adequate time for all three.

“It’s a lot of hard work and sacrifice,” Russell said. “I don’t have a lot of free time, but it is very fulfilling and a whole lot of fun.”

Although Russell is dedicated to his new venture with producing music, he guaranteed that he is still pursuing his acting career along with his music career, and has an appearance in the sequel to “Season of Miracles” lined up for later this year.

Russell played an autistic baseball player named Rafer in the initial “Season of Miracles” film in 2013, a role for which fans and critics have acknowledged his broader acting range.

He will reprise the role in the sequel, and filming will begin in the fall.

Russell’s album is available for purchase at The Sports Shop in Clanton and online at It is $15 and will also be available on iTunes soon.

“I feel overwhelmed to have the privilege to record such fantastic songs written by some of the greatest writers in Nashville,” Russell said. “There are some catchy tunes and some slower, thought-provoking tunes, but all are songs that offer hope and encouragement.”