Jackie Russ: The Man Revolutionizing The Liberian Music Industry – An Interview


Monrovia- A decade ago, the act of professional music videos for our industry were completely zero and a dream for a majority of those artists that have retired from the game and some that are still around. By then, the lists of these videographers we see here today were to no avail. Fast forward, the industry starts to grow, new faces began to germinate with an innovative mindset, pushing new ideas in order to shift the narrative of the type of visual we had circulating in the musical sphere which wasn’t showing any thought of transformation.

However, things start to surface as planned, but there was one thing the industry was lacking in buttressing this revolution and that was the quest of a powerhouse who possess a reservoir of ideas that will help turn this dream into reality, and then there came a genius burgeoning videographer from the slum, tagged “ Jackie Russ”. A guy who is motivated with the burning desire of thinking beyond his expectations and making the impossible, possible. Well, we were fortunate to link with Jackie, as he divulges to us how he started his videographer journey, his influences, his inspiration, work ethics, and how far he wants to go with his craft.

How did your journey as a music video director start?

My journey started about 8 years ago. I decided to try something new and different.
So I bought a camera and started reading and trying to practice what I was learning from YouTube.

What was the hardest music video to create/direct?

I treat every project the same and I don’t consider anything hard.

Where do you see the industry in the next few years?

Dragging as usual. Unless there are a big-money investment and entertainers change their marketing strategies

What makes a good music video? Is it location, camera, director…etc

Every piece of detail makes a good music video. Location, camera, color profile, director, budget, lighting, props, creativity, etc.

What is the lowest budget you can shoot for a music video?

I most of the time focus on the professional fees (labor) that are paid. Most projects have no budget (about 96%).
Our entertainers are not prosperous enough to invest more in their craft.

What equipment do you use to shoot music videos?

There are so many equipment that are used in the process. From cameras to light, from lenses to tripods, so many that can’t be named

Who is your favorite director in Africa right now?

Clarence Peters of course. Second, to him is TG Omori.

What were you doing before videos?

Before directing videos, I was a full-time producer and part-time artist.

Who would you say influenced or inspired you as a director and why?

My inspiration comes from a lot of Directors combined. I follow every Director that I can on social media because I believe that each Director is unique and I can learn from each.

Out of all the music videos you have directed, which would you say are your top 5 favorites?

I love all of my work and don’t have a favorite

what do you think about the music scene right now?

The music industry right now is at standstill. I believe that we are missing important components and we need to properly understand the business of music. In my opinion, we should get experts from around Africa to educate us in that direction…