Shawna Gayle Russell (born August 14, 1978) is an American country music singer, songwriter and musician from Okemah, Oklahoma. Russell’s musical style combines country, rock and Americana influences. To date, Russell has released two albums on Way Out West Records, a Nashville-based independent label which she co-owns.
Russell first sang in public at age seven. When she was thirteen, she and her dad, Keith, formed a country band that played for clubs and Elks Lodges on weekends. At age seventeen, she joined her uncle Tim’s band, which was already a successful regional band on the club circuit across the Southwest U.S. Russell honed her vocal chops and developed her talent on acoustic rhythm, electric slide and lead guitar while touring across much of the U.S. performing 2-6 nights a week at many of America’s top live music clubs, including The Grizzly Rose, Billy Bob’s, and the Wildhorse Saloon. Before striking out on a solo career in 2007, she spent three years fronting and playing guitar in fellow Oklahoman Ty England’s band, which included a USO Tour of Korea in 2005.
Russell released her debut album, Goddess, on March 4, 2008.
Recorded in Oklahoma City and produced by Tim Russell and Ted Curtis, the album featured noted musicians, including drummer Russ Kunkel and bassist David Santos. They were joined by Julian King, Grammy-winning vocal engineer for Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Toby Keith. The project was mixed by Grammy-winner Nathaniel Kunkel, whose discography includes work with Diana Ross and The Police. Russell co-wrote 12 of the 13 songs included on the album which received positive reviews from Country Weekly The Oklahoman, and a CMA Close Up magazine “New Artist Spotlight” feature where her voice was compared to Martina McBride, Stevie Nicks and Bonnie Raitt. The album produced three singles; “Goddess,” “Should’ve Been Born With Wheels” and “Fire In The Desert.”
Russell’s self-titled sophomore album was released on June 7, 2011. Recorded in Nashville, the album reunited Russell with King (this time in the producer’s chair), with Clif Doyal and Tim Russell serving as co-producers. Russell wrote, or co-wrote, the 10 songs on the project, which included remixes of three songs that originally appeared on Goddess. Top Nashville session players joined Russell in the studio for the project including guitarists Bryan Sutton and Jon Conley, keyboardists Charles Judge and Jim “Moose” Brown, drummers Shannon Forrest and Billy Thomas, along with bassist Mike Brignardello. More country-leaning in its sound than her debut, Russell’s second album received accolades from Roughstock, Music News Nashville, the Oklahoma Gazette, Billboard, and others. The album has produced two U.S. singles, “Get Right Or Get Left” and “Waitin’ On Sunrise,” the latter of which charted in the Top 30 on the national MusicRow CountryBreakout Chart in May 2012, and two European singles, “Sounds Like A Party” and “Everybody’s Got A Story (Remix).” The 11th Annual Independent Music Awards recognized Russell's sophomore release with a nomination for best "Country Album" in 2012.
To date, Russell has released two music videos which have gained support at CMT, GAC, The Country Network, and other video outlets.