Richard Russell XL Recordings


Richard Russell is the man behind some of the world’s biggest recording artists, including Adele, Dizzee Rascal, M.I.A, Giggs and The Prodigy. On April 8th, he is ‘in conversation’ in the MyVLF Theatre, with Lee Brackstone, head of Orion’s new music imprint White Rabbit. The pair will be talking about Richard’s new book, Liberation Through Hearing, which tells the remarkable story of his record label, XL Recordings.

For almost 30 years as a musician, producer, label boss and talent conductor at XL Recordings, Richard Russell has discovered, shaped and nurtured the artists who have rewritten the musical dictionary of the 21st century.

Liberation Through Hearing sees Richard Russell telling the remarkable story of XL Recordings and their three decades on the frontline of innovation in music; the eclectic chorus of artists who came to define the label’s unique aesthetic, and Russell’s own story; his highs and lows steering the fortunes of an independent label in a rapidly changing industry, his celebrated production work with Bobby Womack and Gil Scott-Heron on their late-career masterpieces and his own development as an artist.

Always searching for news sounds and new truths, Liberation Through Hearing is a portrait of a man who believes in the spiritual power of music to change reality. It is also the story of a record label that refused to be categorised by genre and in the process cut an idiosyncratic groove which was often underground in feel but mainstream in impact.

Richard Russell said, ‘Writing this book was an opportunity for me to reflect on the last few decades. I hope people will get something from it. I’ve tried not to compromise in anything I’ve done, and that includes writing Liberation Through Hearing.’

Lee Brackstone added, ‘To have any understanding of the music that has soundtracked the past three decades you need to read this book. Liberation Through Hearing documents Richard Russell’s investment in the great artists who defined rap, rave and all its infinite tributaries with a piercing honesty.’

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