Russell Sammut Bonnici – or rather, Russell Esby – is an 18 year old guitarist and singer songwriter with a huge passion for music. The Yuppie spoke to Russell about his music, and the process of songwriting:
When and why did you start playing/singing?
I started playing about 4 years ago when I was around thirteen. I always saw music as a really cool way to express yourself, and when I picked up my mum’s old 12 string guitar, learning songs from a free site online – I got hooked.
Who are your main musical influences?
With so many great musicians these days it’s hard to decide but I find myself listening to a lot of Jack Johnson, George Ezra and Ed Sheeran. Local musicians like Leigh Holmes, Janice Azzopardi and Lino Spiteri are also extremely inspiring.
How would you describe the process of your songwriting?
Usually, I start with a chord then hum the sound I think should come next. Then I replicate that on to the guitar or piano until I get a whole progression. After that I wait until I have the right mindset to start writing lyrics to the music, and when I do it’s a huge weight off my shoulders every time.
You’ve played in quite a few events, which are you most proud of?
I’d have to say the spontaneous events. Like one time I caught a Tal Linja bus with my guitar, and the bus driver asked if I could play some Bob Dylan. After playing my cover of Knocking On Heaven’s Door the passengers didn’t want me to stop and I ended up doing an unplugged gig on the bus. It was unexpectedly a great vibe and I enjoyed every second of it. Another time I was busking in Valletta and on a break I ended up talking to a few people who stuck around the area to hear me play, we became friends and we ended up singing and playing songs together. It’s moments like these I like the most because it’s when music brings people together, even when they’re total strangers.
What are your future plans for your music?
Apart from more covers for my Facebook page and YouTube channel, I plan on officially releasing two albums. One is an individual project called “Post-Sentiments,” which will be a singer-songwriter album of heartfelt songs I’ve written these past two years. The other album I’m working on with another songwriter Sean Anastasi. With a few songs already written, the album name isn’t as of yet decided but we coined a name for our duo band – “Sideline.” In conclusion, I really look forward to what the future holds and hope that I can make an impact with what I love doing.
To hear more of Russell Esby, you can follow him on Soundcloud, here.
I feel that I can properly express myself through my writing, and that it's a great way to make myself heard, so that I too can someday make a difference in this complicated world.