advertisement
Music News

"Goodness Gracious": Allison Russell Reacts To Her Song "The Returner" On Barack Obama's 2023 Music List

The title track from the Montreal/Nashville songwriter's 2023 album The Returner appears on the former president's Favourite Music of 2023 list.

Allison Russell

Allison Russell

Dana Trippe

Allison Russell has responded to the news that Barack Obama's Favourite Music of 2023 list features "The Returner," the title track from her 2023 sophomore record.

"Goodness Gracious," wrote the Montreal/Nashville singer-songwriter, "this feels like an auspicious omen for the New Year!"


The shoutout from the former president caps off a banner year for Russell, who released the joyful and cathartic The Returner in September to critical and commercial success, reaching No. 80 on Billboard's Top Album Sales chart. In November, Russell received four Grammy nominations: Best Americana Album for The Returner, Best Americana Performance and Best American Roots Song for the title track, and Best American Roots Performance for single "Eve Was Black." The Returner was also featured on Billboard's Best Pride Albums of 2023.

advertisement

"Deeply, wildly grateful to all of you who have been listening & sharing so generously," Russell said in her comments on the Obama list, which also includes music by Mitski, 6LACK, Tyla, Burna Boy, Beyoncé and more. Obama's annual lists have become a tradition for the president-turned-producer, consisting of his favourite music, movies, and books. Russell previously appeared on Obama's 2021 list with the song "Nightflyer," off of her Grammy-nominated debut, Outside Child.

Her post concludes with an original haiku and the lyrics to "The Returner":

Russell isn't slowing down in 2024: after she finishes a headline tour this month, she'll head out on tour again this spring supporting Hozier and then in the summer supporting Tyler Childers. She'll also make a special guest appearance in Toronto on Sarah McLachlan's 30th anniversary Fumbling Towards Ecstasy tour. Announcing her appearance, Russell shared a story about how much McLachlan's album means to her on Instagram:

Find Russell's full tour dates here.

advertisement
DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla
@anmollium / Anmol Raina

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla

Chart Beat

Karan Aujla & DIVINE Debut in Top 25 on Billboard Canadian Albums Chart

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE land the No. 22 spot on this week's Canadian Albums chart with their new collaborative release, 'Street Dreams.' On the Canadian Hot 100, Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em" ascends to No. 1, while Canadian pop artist Preston Pablo makes a debut.

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE are making moves together on Billboard's Canadian Albums chart this week, with their collaborative project, Street Dreams, debuting in the No. 22 spot.

The seven-track album, released Feb. 16, blends harder hip-hop and smooth R&B pop, the latter shining through especially on the Jonita Gandhi-assisted "Yaad." It's not Aujla's highest spot on the Albums chart — he reached No. 5 in 2023 with Making Memories, his collaboration with Canadian Punjabi artist Ikky — but it gives him some momentum going into his upcoming performance at the Juno Awards on Mar. 24, where he's nominated for TikTok Juno fan choice and breakthrough artist.

keep readingShow less
advertisement