GAIL RUSSELL –COUNTRY SINGER SONGWRITER

Gail was born in New Plymouth [New Zealand] and was raised on a small sheep and dairy farm 25 miles north of New Plymouth. Surrounded by country music at a very early age she recalls that both parents were very talented singers and musicians .

Her mother was the Superintendent of the local Sunday School at Waitoitoi in North Taranaki and it was here that her Mum taught her and other local children in the farming district such songs as ‘Tell Me The Old Old Story and ‘Shall We gather At The River .

She says those songs certainly influenced her love of country music for what it is today along with listening to other American Singers like Doris Day , Patti Page , Rosemary Clooney and Hank Snow .

Many summer evenings after the cows had been milked were spent on the porch with her father playing his Piano Accordion and singing . He was great at playing the accordion Gail says

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Gails first solo performance was at a Primary School concert at the age of 12 , when her teacher [Russell Wylie ]made her sing Blue Hawai’i and San Antonio Rose.
From that time on stage alone she knew that she wanted to make music a big part of her life .
Through High School , she took singing lessons and performed in productions and competed in singing competitions .She continued studying voice at Teacher’s College and wanted to become an Opera singer but never got that far as marriage and children came along in the 70’s.

After a decade away from Taranaki Gail joined a country music club when she moved back to New Plymouth and decided that it was time to do something for herself as her children were getting older .
She soon found herself becoming addicted to singing country music and after a year had the request to join a dance band .

She had already purchased an Ovation Guitar which she still plays today and had a good repertoire of Emmy Lou Harris , Billie Joe Spiers, and Dolly Parton songs that she could sing , plus many old time songs that were suitable to sing at RSA’s
Her band The Isonics were formed with two musicians from Iceland [Gutti and Rosi ] both married to NZ girls.

 

This photo was taken after winning an Overall Country Music Award

Most weekends were spent entertaining and gave Gail great experience which was what she needed as she progressed with her music career. In 1991 Gail moved to Wellington and performed with other bands in the same sort of venues. At this time she also started competing in Country Music Awards and had lots of success over the next decade gaining places .

Along with her duo partner Rewa MacGregor they as ‘Innovation Duo’ took out Two Over All Awards in 2002 .One was the Gourmet Paradise Overall Award and the other was the Wellington Veterans Overall Award.
It was in 2003 that Gail decided to try her hand at songwriting and one of the highlights for her was when she won a songwriting award with a wedding song that she wrote for her niece .

The song called ‘This is our special wedding day’ , took out the song writing award at the Gourmet Paradise awards in 2005 .With this success she wrote more songs and finally her album I’m Just A Country Girl At Heart was released in May 2006 with nine of her original songs .

During the next year Gail got her songs out to the world by sending out demos to various radio stations all over the world and by getting Andrew Dean of Nite Sky Records [USA’ ] to promote her .

 

In August of that year to her surprise she found that she had climbed very high on world charts coming in at spot no 4 On the world’s most played artist and at spot no 3 On Joyce Ramgatie’s Worldwide Country Charts .
Gail has recorded another album ‘Where The Roses Never Fade which includes ballads and some gospel songs, some of which are her own originals .

In 2011 , Gail released her third album ‘Beautiful Lady’ which she had dedicated to Patsy Riggir of New Zealand . Gail was inspired by Patsy Riggir when she first started singing country and has always loved singing her songs . On this album are three originals of hers as well . This album is getting very good feedback and being played all over the world by dj’s .

Gail is now getting world wide recognition for her music and features well in country charts .Gail is often approached by songwriters to record their songs and to date has recorded songs written by Glenn Erickson , Ed Gowen and Ron Walton .
Gail works tirelessly to help the younger generation with their singing and is very involved on the committee of The North City Country Music Club in Porirua ,Wellington.

Gail works part time as an OT support worker at Porirua Hospital for the mentally ill , and says that her interests include cooking , writing songs , playing guitar walking , spending time on the net talking with friends , travelling when she can , listening to Irish Country Music Radio.com and spending time with her family .

She and her partner Peato often get asked to make guest appearances at country music clubs , shows and country music festivals and when time allows they enjoy entertaining at rest homes for the elderly .

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