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“Pianos, unlike people, sing when you give them your every growl. They know how to dive into the pit of your stomach and harmonize with your roars when you’ve split yourself open. And when they see you, guts shining, brain pulsing, heart right there exposed in a rhythm that beats need need, need need, need need, pianos do not run. And so she plays.” 
― Francesca Lia Block, Love Magick

Russell Deason is an award winning pianist and accompanist, vocal artist, arranger and producer based in San Francisco, California.

At age five, ​Russell began to sit at the piano and try to play along with the radio. Despite only two years of formal instruction in childhood, Russell began exploring on his own, becoming the church's and schools perennial choral accompanist throughout his teens. His mother, who had been the first to identify and guide his talent, made him her accompanist at church performances.

His first paid gig came at thirteen, playing piano for a Ladies' Luncheon at his church.  Five dollars, a free meal, and lots of adoration: Russell was hooked. From there he would go on to perform for weddings, private parties, country clubs, piano bars, churches, singers needing accompaniment, and even at funeral services.

In high school, ​Russell also began to branch out into acting. He has appeared on broadcast and cable television, radio, and video.  He has played the Captain in The Sound of Music, impersonated Liberace, and gives embodiment to an alter ego called The Holy Homo to name a few, but always returns to his center: musical performance. Most recently he has performed with the Cabaret troupe The Velvet Variety, served has Host/Pianist of the hit 2+2=Cabaret show, and has worked with jazz phenom Kalil Wilson, Broadway and Cabaret standout Larissa Kelloway, famed drag performers Katya Smirnoff-Skyy, Delighted ToBeHere (of America's Got Talent fame), Belle Bottoms and many others. He has also served as Music Director for the legendary annual Donna Sachet's Songs of the Season benefit (now in it's 25th year) and the recent Australian Bushfire benefit.  Helping to promote his colleagues fits Russell's passion like a fine pair of hands tickle the ivories.

In more mundane but sometimes more renumerative pursuits, Russell has worked in retail, sold pianos and organs, taught ballroom dance, even tended bar–until 1996, when he settled in California as a manager of corporate real estate properties. Now semi-retired, Russell devotes himself to playing, singing, and producing shows. Russell is a staff pianist at the legendary Martuni's Piano Bar in San Francisco where you can find him holding court every Monday for happy hour. Add the accompaniment of numerous singers and performers, a semi-regular pianist at the infamous The Alley Piano Bar in Oakland, one half of the cabaret duo Pepè and Cheap, numerous parties and events, vocal soloist (Piano Fight, Martuni's, Feinstein's) and you'll find a man busy with his passion. While continuing his performing career, Russell now serves as Executive Producer of Crushed Velvet Productions and Founding Artistic Director of cabaret troupe The Velvet Variety, which has presented over a dozen productions since its 2016 inception.  Russell is the recipient of the Bay Area Reporter's annual Bestie Award for Best Cabaret Performer 2019.  

​Glib, funny, and self-effacing, Russell is a charming and memorable emcee and performer who loves bringing levity, balance, and flavor to any public production.

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