339. A Vocal Artist Who Draws on Silence
As a child, he loved to draw. In school he was the one they asked to paint murals. Family and friends fully expected him to be a painter, sketch artist or an illustrator. Then, he had an epiphany. For reasons he couldn’t explain, he could never bring himself to pick up a pencil to sketch again.
Singer, songwriter, producer and actor, Marshall Titus describes himself as a renaissance man whose music, style and attitude redefine what soul music is and can be. “My music is a true reflection of who I am,” he declares. “I’m an artist who cannot be influenced by current trends or traditions, guided by my inner longing and urge to create.” As reviewer Howard Dukes wrote on Soultracks.com, “Titus possesses more than a little Johnny Taylor with the gravel in the voice that loses none of its power and emotion when the vocalist moves from the gravel road to the tree tops.” The Chicago native currently lives in Hamburg, Germany. He is performing at festivals and concerts in Hamburg and throughout Germany.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“I grew up going to church and was in the Children’s Choir. The choir director, tried to give me lessons, but I was never a good student. I always played by ear and everybody was trying to teach me how to read music. I mean, I can read it, but I was very resistant to trying to read the notes. His third grade teacher introduced him to classical music and he loved Tchaikovsky. When his sister chided him for listening to a classical music station, he began listening to R&B, soul, Motown, and all the hits of the time. I made a complete turn from classical to the more popular sounds. I became a big fan of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and I think it was really Smokey Robinson who gave me my first inspiration to become a singer and songwriter.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“I mark 1979 as the year I made my first turn to becoming a professional musician. I was 21. I met a song writer and his wife, Keith and Alice Echols, and started writing with them and another friend, Calvin Bridges, a gospel artist. Keith Echols introduced me to Paul Wilson, one of very few black producers in Chicago at that time. He was producing radio and television jingles. So, in 1979, I did my very first national jingle for Coca- Cola’s ‘Have a Coke and a Smile’ campaign. It was huge! From there, I did tons of jingles and commercials for just about everybody: Coca-Cola, Schlitz Brewing Company, Kentucky Fried Chicken, you name it. Also, I started doing theater with a company called Free Street Theater in Chicago.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“I’ve come to the clarity of knowing that the most important thing for me is to be at peace within myself, and to always stay within my center. I have the freedom to do whatever I want without being confined to someone else’s vision of me. I love that I am having this experience, living and performing in Hamburg, and it’s because I gave myself permission to have it. If I had followed what logic alone told me, I wouldn’t be here. I’m thankful that I’m a risk-taker. I don’t believe in failure; the only time I fail is when I don’t trust myself.”
Steps to Success from Marshall Titus
1. Take at least 15 minutes each day to unplug and be silent and still.
2. Never allow yourself to be confined to someone else’s vision of yourself.
3. Don’t live by logic alone. Be willing to take risks even when it seems illogical.
4. Recognize that you have the freedom to be and do exactly what you want.
Connecting With Marshall Titus
YouTube: “Marshall Titus” – Subscribe to channel CDBaby: cdbaby.com/cd/marshalltitus7
Subscribe to the Podcast Free: