At 18, Heather Russell’s music is tinged with a wisdom and maturity that sets her apart from many of her peers. The insight she exudes makes sense—Russell’s lived a lot of life already, building the foundations of her musical career in Toronto before being scooped up to L.A. by a certain Simon Cowell, only to return to her home city in the name of artistic independence.
Her latest single, an 80 Empire-helmed remix of “This Ain’t the End,” from her recent EP My Metropolis, is the type of hit only someone who’s lived Russell’s life could make, one that balances the pop instincts of a Cowell acolyte with the bold and distinct voice of someone brave enough to strike out on their own for the sake of creative expression.
The remix itself showcases an elevated degree of pop songcraft from the duo of Russell and 80 Empire, pushing the focus beyond hooks—of which there definitely still are, the possibilities of each word crooned and contorted by Heather in a myriad of ways—and instead concerning itself with nailing down a consistent, fully realized vibe that’s all its own.
This vibe in question is a deliberate departure by Russell from the sound of the original, inspired by the insight she’s received from the changes in her life: “The original version offers more of a more somber, R&B vibe, while the remix brings the California funnnkk, which symbolically expresses my current bliss and hopefulness for what’s to come in the near future.”
What listeners are left with isn’t just a four-dimensional pop song, one that melds the smart sing-raps of Kilo Kish with the club-readiness of AlunaGeorge, but a window into Heather Russell’s personal evolution: what “was initially based on a previous romantic relationship” fundamentally changed, the singer admitting that “after deciding that I wanted my musical career to take a different route, I experienced a lot of reflection and uncertainty. With that being said, ‘This Ain’t The End” ’now metaphorically represents something far more meaningful than its original intent.”
You can check out A.Side’s exclusive premiere of the track below and check out My Metropolis here.