Titus Calderbank has a voice that can stop an audience in its tracks. The Vancouver folk-soul musician can effortlessly shift from a smooth croon to a soulful vibrato to a note-perfect howl — sometimes all within the same song.
His awe-inspiring voice was the cornerstone of Titus's wildly ambitious 2017 project, when he aimed to write, record and release 365 songs throughout the year. He called it the 365 Songwriting Challenge — but by the end of the year, he had only written 185, barely half of his original goal.
"I would work a full day, get home and then start working on these songs. I would go until 3 or 4 in the morning, however long it took," Titus remembers. Laughing, he adds. "I kept asking, ‘Why am I doing this to myself?!'"
Even though he fell short of his original goal, 185 songs is still a hell of a lot — that's a lifetime worth of material for many artists. Not every song was magic, of course, but many of them were gorgeous folk ballads or towering R&B-inspired anthems. Full of plaintive guitar, nimble keys and the occasional ukulele, the stripped-down bedroom arrangements highlighted the aching power of Titus's voice.
Having spent 2018 honing his live chops, including an appearance at JUNOfest, Titus is now preparing to release official studio versions of some of the highlights from his 365 Songwriting Challenge. "Mistakes" is a climactic alt-pop ballad, its spare piano and thundering drum crescendos providing a hymnal backdrop for Titus's soaring vocal dynamics. "Could've Done Better" takes a more folksy approach with its acoustic fingerpicking and introspective, bittersweet lyrics.
These songs were recorded at Vancouver's Echoplant Sound studio with Ryan Worsley (Said the Whale, Dear Rouge). "They basically have the same arrangements that I made during the 365 Songwriting Challenge," Calderbank explains. "There's just a few more fun, weird synth sounds and live drums."
The songs earned him a spot in CBC Music's Searchlight 2019 competition, as fans voted Titus into the top 10. He's got a confirmed performance at Quebec City's prestigious Festival D'ete this July and new material in the works, this time without limits or restrictions. Titus already has a jaw-dropping voice and huge catalogue - and now it's time for him to share it with the world.