Cailin Russo Owns Her Story

Cailin Russo Owns Her Story

The singer, song-writer just released her newest single "FADE."

The singer, song-writer just released her newest single "FADE."

Photography: Rebecca Hearn

Text: Cullen Ormond

There are talented people who are able to write exactly how they are feeling. And then there is Cailin Russo.

The California-based singer and songwriter, who released her debut EP House With A Pool in 2018, has the rare ability to transport the raw emotions she feels into something tangible and relatable for a wide range of strangers. She is so connected, so in tune with her emotions that she possesses  the seasoned wisdom of someone much older, making it hard to believe she is only 25-years-old.

And her single “FADE,” released today exclusively at V, is the product of her self-awareness. It is a plea for love, a last-ditch effort to mend a broken relationship, a scene from a story known too well and Russo says its “straight from the source.”

“The whole premise of the song just trying to connect with somebody that you love and just desperately wanting them to understand you and they just refuse and so they watch you deteriorate,” Russo explains. “I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced it, but it’s fucking intense.”

“FADE,” which was executive produced by Chris Coady (Beach House, Yeah Yeah Yeahs), is a reflection on the complete cycle of heartache. As an artistic analyst, she magnifies the major moments from the rosey beginning (Shining down/You're smiling now) to the destructive demise (I'm not guilty for my mistakes/I'm not proud of what we made/I just try to mean what I say/You just watch me fade away).

“It’s liberating. It’s an honest message being like I’m not proud of what we made, and I can’t help what it is,” said Russo. “It’s just about taking ownership of the shit that we do and being proud of who you are instead of trying to make something out of nothing.”

However, Russo may be underestimating herself. Yes, she solidly grasps her sadness and wrestles it down from a mountain to a small peak through her own introspection and gift with words – which is a definite feat. But, taking it a step further, she can zoom out to fully understand the situation and transform it into something beautiful, light and strangely positive. She proves that there are lessons to be learned, however painful, through her music.

Russo's stories are emphasized with her music video accompaniments which she co-directed and edited with Ganna Bogdan. Over the course of two days, “FADE” and “DECLARATION” were shot in the hills of Idyllwild, California. Produced by Rebecca Hearn in a pink colored tint, the viewer watches as Russo ascends a mountainous region in the back of a pick-up truck, the wind blowing through her hair. Or in the same video, when she shares quiet, intimate moments with her supposed partner. It’s not angry or sad, it’s melancholy, a feeling only generated after making peace with the past.

"All of the shots going up and down the hill in the back of the truck were super dangerous,” explained Russo. “It came out perfect and I think, gives you the feeling that I wanted to get across."

It’s safe to say that Russo will put herself in somewhat uncomfortable positions for the sake of her fans. Recently, at the League of Legends video game tournament in Paris, Russo with singer and songwriter Chrissy Costanza sang “Phoenix.” She explains that she was nervous until the actual performance when she decided to drop her own self-imposed expectations and just be herself. But the show ended up being her largest to date.

“I just wanted to do the show justice. I gave it everything I had,” Russo said.

The new single has done her fans justice as well, and it will most definitely leave them wanting more. Lucky enough for them, Russo is currently in the studio working on new music.

UP NEXT

Cruise Around the World: Giorgio Armani in Tokyo