The album 'Santiago' by Russ is heavily inspired by the novel 'The Alchemist' authored by Paulo Coelho, hence why the name of the album is named after the protagonist in the novel. According to Russ, SANTIAGO is his journey to self love and self mastery by touching on the obstacles that have provided resistance along the way - feelings of emptiness, inadequacy, imposter syndrome, doubt, anger, sadness, shame. It's his attempt to understand, navigate and heal which makes this album the most vulnerable and honest music he has made.
The Concept
Approaching this project, I explored what the journey to self love and self mastery would look like. The aim was to visualise overcoming obstacles and achieving self mastery while also hinting at the inspired novel. This pursuit led me to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs are Physiological Needs (food, clothing, shelter, sleep), Safety Needs (resources, health, personal security), Love and Belonging Needs (friendship, family, love), Esteem (respect, status, recognition, self-esteem, strength, freedom) and finaly Self-Actualization (the realisation or fulfilment of one's talents and potentialities). Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to higher needs.

Visualising the Hierarchy of Needs using a pyramid allowed me to hint to a setting and idea explored in 'The Alchemist', the Pyramids of Giza. Santiago, the protagonist, has a recurring dream of hidden treasure in the Egyptian pyramids, but always wakes up before he can get the directions. He takes off on a journey to find it, which is his personal destiny.

Santiago is Russ, Russ is Santiago because as Paulo Coelho once said, 'One man's journey is every man's journey.'
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