When Canadian rapper Drake released his 2x Platinum single in 2013, many argued over the validity of the former Degrassi star’s claims. However, a little unknown bit of fiction is that Started From The Bottom was actually written about Atlanta entrepreneur, Russell Greene. He’s the founder of the wildly popular FIT Radio app, managing partner of the city’s hottest nightclub, and is currently working on a new invention. He’s humble, a risk-taker, and a father of a newborn daughter named Zoe. I recently sat down with Russell at his Opera office to learn more about his rapid rise to success.
As I followed Greene to his office, I looked around and thought about all the wild scenes that must take place night after night inside the Midtown nightclub. On the surface, running a hot spot like Opera sounds like it’s all fun and games. But when we sat down and started chatting, Greene is strictly business. Sitting behind a trading screen and a perpetually buzzing iPhone, Russell is clearly a busy man. An Atlanta native himself, he’s proud to be, “one of the few who’s actually from Atlanta,” he jokes.
Greene got his start in the nightclub business at the age of 19 as a security guard at Opera (then 1150) while studying Physiology at Georgia State. In just 5 years, at the age of 24, he became manager of Opera. “I was thrown into the fire when I had to manage 120 people with no operational experience,” he recalls. Today? He’s a partner in the club. But, how did running a nightclub translate into starting a music streaming app?
After seeing thousands of party-goers pack out Opera night after night, he realized, “there’s a reason people come dance. They want to move.” The same people dancing the night away would approach Greene the next day and tell him that they wanted the same music for their work outs. He realized that it didn’t make sense to have to sit down and make playlists, especially since he regularly books world famous DJs. Fast forward to today and FIT Radio is one of the top grossing apps in health and fitness on the app store. While there are a plethora of music streaming apps out there, “I want to own the health and fitness lane,” he stresses. But even with the success of his app, he’s not done yet.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we speak to Russell about Atlanta, what’s next for FIT Radio, and his latest invention.