ON-STAGE PERFORMING BIOGRAPHY
Brandi Michelle Russell is no stranger to the stage. She has studied performing arts since she was a child and has over 20 years of professional experience as both onstage performer and offstage creative.
From a young age, Brandi performed for eight years as a soloist for the prestigious Pensacola Childrens Chorus, and studied drama at the Pensacola Little Theater. Furthering her performing arts studies, she spent two years in the Musical Theater department at the University of Central Florida, studied Meisner acting technique with the known Yvonne Suhor and JJ Ruscella, and had a year of Uta Hagen acting technique with instructor Lani Harris. Her vocal training continued into adulthood as she studied classical and musical theater singing and performance with Richard Owens, Setske Mosteart and Jim Brown. She won Critics Choice award at the 1999 Florida Thespians festival for her performance of “You Could Drive a Person Crazy” from the musical Company and at the same festival, won an All Star Cast Award for her role of Sonja in the musical Godspell (a role she would later reprise in her adult career).
Brandi’s professional performance career began as a musical star in the United States, where she performed leading roles in the Actors Equity Association productions of Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey), Rent (Maureen), Anything Goes (Reno Sweeney), Kiss Me Kate (Lois Lane/Bianca), and Frenchy in a special production of Grease! starring together with Joey Fatone from NSync, Alfonso Ribero from Fresh Prince of Bel Air and the late Jeff Conaway from the original Grease film. Further musical credits include the dark role of drug- addicted Flo Manfred in the World Premiere of Meat Street: The Musical, where she gained rave reviews, and the leading role of Maria in MUMS the musical (which premiered at Orlando Fringe Festival in 2003). She also proved her acting skills in an Equity production of The Vagina Monologues, where she won a local Best Actress award. Brandi continued her career by singing and dancing for the best of the entertainment worlds companies, including Walt Disney World in the acapella jazz/pop vocal group American Vybe and the rock concert/stunt show Tarzan Rocks! At Universal Studios Florida, she played the Bride of Frankenstein in the Beetlejuice’s Rock & Roll Graveyard Revue, was a vocalist in the group California Girls in Universal Studios Japan, singer/ dancer at Busch Gardens production show Moroccan Roll, singer / dancer for Holland America Cruise Lines, and leading vocalist and vocal captain for Thomson, Marella & Silverseas Cruise Lines.
After moving to The Netherlands and performing for some of the country’s prestigious entertainment companies, such as Arjan van Dijk and Inspiration Point Dinner Theatre, she was cast again as the role on Sonja for the Music Theatre Bavaria’s production of Godspell, which was performed in both Germany and Austria. She premiered yet another original production as Maria in Watermensen, a musical based on the fairytales of how the Dutch land was created from water. In 2008 she auditioned for a televised talent contest, and in December of that year, was crowned the winner of POPSTARS, (similar to American Idol) landing her a recording contract with Warner Music Benelux, where she scored a number one hit in the charts. After one year with Warner Music, Brandi decided to co-write, record, and release her own album, Electronic Porno Pop, which is available on iTunes worldwide.
Her solo album was blessed with the co-writing talents of Bruce R. F. Smith (number one hits in NL and Japan), and the Grammy-award winning songwriter Alan Glass, and was produced by Swedish talents Peter Hägerås, who has worked with artists such as Taylor Dayne, NEO, and Paul Potts, among others,- as well as legendary Swedish producer and remixer Emil Hellman who was a producer of artists such as Michael Jackson, Kylie Minogue, Ace of Base, George Michael and Agnes Carlson, with hundreds of worldwide number 1 hits on pop and dance charts. Their creative support allowed Brandi to venture into the realm of electronic pop-dance music, giving yet another addition to her musical experience.
After releasing her first album, Brandi was seen performing the song Purple Rain as opening act for Rick Astley (among other 1980’s stars) in the tour A Night to Remember, and sang for the opening of international sports events such as Ride for the Roses and the Tour de France. Brandi has also been seen as a guest artist performing in famous clubs around the world, performing in America, Japan, Austria, Germany, Poland, The Bahamas, Mexico, Belgium, The Netherlands, and the famous Club Opera in Stockholm, Sweden.
Brandi Michelle Russell has been a constant supporter of GLBTQ rights. In 2011, one of her hit singles Leather and Lace was chosen for Stockholm Pride, where she performed for over 80,000 people. In the summer of 2012, she were approached by the Dutch national paper De Telegraaf and the lifestyle television station OUTtv to make an anthem for Amsterdam and Antwerpen Pride, where she performed for over 1 million people and scored a number 3 summer hit in Belgium.
In 2013, Brandi decided to leave the world of dance music and return to her classical and musical theatre roots, combining her talents with the rock-opera vocal duo called BraxiMusic, with their first single “IL NOSTRO AMORE” winning 1st place in international songwriting contest Unsigned Only, in the category Vocal Performance, and finishing as a finalist in two categories (Adult Contemporary & Music Video) in the annual British Songwriting Competition. She produced a multi-media theater show called Crossing the Classics: From Bowie to Bocelli & Prince to Pavarotti, which toured them around Europe, the Caribbean and the UK, and booked on numerous cruise liners as a Guest Act / Headliner show. BraxiMusic were also featured on Hollands Got Talent in 2017, and have had the opportunity to perform at London’s West End famous venue The Hippodrome.
Returning to the musical theatre stage in 2017, Brandi played the Russian wicked stepmother Grimallover in Theatre Royal Westfield’s production of Cinderella, where she received glowing reviews:
“Real scene stealer, commanding the stage with sinister physicality and toe – curling laugh to boot”– Yorkshire Post
“Considerable comic mileage” The Stage UK
In 2019, she worked with Royal Caribbean Productions, playing the role of Flo Manero in Saturday Night Fever, and in 2021, was part of the opening cast of Virgin Voyage’s Scarlet Lady cruise ship, where she was seen as the Unicorn Vocalist in the show Untitled Dance Show Party Thing and as Dr. A in the adult themed one-woman show Never Sleep Alone.
She currently resides in Orlando, Florida, where she performs at Universal Studios in the a’capella show Sing It and with her band Osaka Fall.
OFF-STAGE / CREATIVE BIOGRAPHY
Brandi Michelle Russell’s career in the entertainment world does not stop at a successful performing career. She has in fact, worked as a show producer, entertainment manager and coach for theaters and art programs worldwide.
After moving to The Netherlands in 2005, she began working as Assistant Director and Creative Show Producer for dinner theater Inspiration Point. She wrote, cast and ran rehearsals for a 4 hour long dinner shows. The cast of 15 rehearsed for one month before performing a successful six month run to sold out audiences.
Brandi continued her work as a director for musicals and plays at the children’s theatre school Faust Theater, and gave special private performance and vocal coaching sessions to students wishing to find work in the arts. She also freelanced as vocal / performance coach for theatre groups such as Subsuburbia and Artiance, and created a special vocal music education program for Child Focus on the Caribbean island of Saba. Her students have since gone on to being accepted in various Arts Universities around the World, and have established careers as young performers in the industry.
In 2010, Brandi worked as Show Producer for theme park Walibi World Six Flags in The Netherlands, where she (because of her POPSTARS television show win) was asked to create and star in a Halloween-themed show Miss Brandi Camazots Live! for the annual Fright Night event, which ran 4 days a week in the month of October, to audiences exceeding 25,000 people per night. She also created two 30 minute musical street shows that were performed at the park on a daily basis, and helped create new “scare zones” for the 2011 and 2012 Fright Night events.
Brandi worked as creative producer for various event companies across The Netherlands, creating one of a kind productions and entertainment. In 2011, she was commissioned as Production Coach for the Arjan van Dijk Event Company, to boost existing shows and event entertainment. She created two separate evening filling productions: Chanapyre (a Halloween-inspired show) and Around the World (a musical revue with a travel theme).
In 2013, she crossed the (small) pond to work together with British entertainment company PEEL Talent. Brandi Michelle Russell was co-creator / developer of the classical crossover concert Venice Sail Away event onboard the cruise ship Thomson Majesty. This event became incredibly popular and received rave reviews on sites such as Cruise Critic, and is now being reproduced on all the ships in the fleet. PEEL utilised her production talents further in developing new ideas such as Atrium concerts, performance-based roles such as classical-crossover Specialty Hosts, and has assisted PEEL in the development of individual cabarets for production cast members, and interactive singing workshops for guests onboard the cruise. She has also been involved in writing vocal arrangements and installing a new show, Concerto Pop, onboard the Marella Celebration cruise ship.
She continued her development of cruise ship entertainment as Production Manager and Leading Vocalist onboard the Silverseas Spirit, managing and scheduling an entertainment team of 6, with 4 production shows and 6 individual cabaret performances, which she assisted in creating and coaching. This brought up the entertainment score as the highest ever to be reached in the SilverSeas fleet of ships.
In 2014, Brandi developed and produced a 50 minute production show called Crossing the Classics: From Bowie to Bocelli & Prince to Pavarotti. Made for vocal duo BraxiMusic, Brandi not only created the original concept, but designed all LED screen films for audience interactions, and helped design new lighting and technical plans for each location. This production show performed over 100 times in theaters and 5 star resorts worldwide, and is also quoted as being one of the best shows to be seen onboard any cruise ship.
David Meredith, manager of the Albany Theatre in Coventry reviewed: ” Crossing the Classics blew our audience away. We brought them back as a result of popular demand, but even we – in all honesty – were shocked by how good their new concert show is. Their choice of music is consummately clever, and of course their talent is absolutely top-drawer. Each as an individual is a true star, but together they complement and contrast in equal measure to produce a breath-taking musical partnership. The icing on the cake is the use of video to add a new depth and dimension to the meaning of the songs. This is a concert show that demands to be seen by as many people as possible.”
Brandi continues producing shows and coaching both individual performers and entertainment / event companies who are interested in creating the highest quality product possible. Recently, she completed a contract onboard R0yal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, not only seen in the show Saturday Night Fever, but also as Company Manager, where she led a team of 23 performers.