Marshall Titus

Marshall Titus

BandPopSoul

Hypnotically soulful , sensual, and intoxicating. Marshall Titus is a soul renaissance man, whose music and attitude redefines what soul music is and can be. A former star search finalist, he is considered one of the best vocalist of our time.

Band Press

It Must Be Magic – A&U Magazine

With a Stunning Music Video, Marshall Titus & John Gress Prove Collaboration Is the Key to Empowerment
by Chael Needle

Marshall Titus on the set of the John Gress-directed video, "I Will." Photo by John Gress

On their own, Chicago-based Marshall Titus and John Gress each have an impressive bag of tricks.

Marshall Titus is a singer, songwriter, producer and award-winning actor, with three solo CDs and several theatrical productions, among other accomplishments, to his name. He was part of the pop/R&B group Champaign, his vocal work has graced television and radio commercials, and his songs have been recorded by Linda Clifford.

John Gress has excelled as a photographer. His commerical work has appeared in a multitude of advertising and public relations campaigns, including ones for Chrysler, Lufthansa, and Ben & Jerry’s. His photojournalism is carried on Reuters and has appeared in major publications here and abroad. Gress also shoots fashion and editorial (including the cast of Twilight, which appeared recently in Us Weekly and elsewhere), among other genres.

Together, working on the HIV-themed music video of “I Will,” Titus and Gress make a different kind of magic. Call it a practical magic, for the message of the song and the visuals readily speaks to those who put off going in for an HIV test for fear of finding out that a positive diagnosis will be too much to handle—for oneself and for loved ones.

The pair first met a year ago when Gress directed Titus’s music video for “Fallen Leaves.” They reconnected when Gress was working on a PSA for Positively Aware’s A Day with HIV?in America on-line photo essay project.

“As I started getting this PSA together, and started cutting it, it was a little too harsh—so in order to give it a [softer] edge I needed some music to go along with it,” explains Gress. He met with Titus, who played some instrumental tracks on his lap top.

“The first one was too sexy, the second one didn’t really fit, and the third one was perfect. And that was ‘I Will.’ But Marshall said, ‘Oh, no, wait. You have to hear the lyrics,’” says Gress. Titus’s instincts were right. When Gress heard the lyrics, he decided to incorporate the chorus into the PSA: I will be strong/I?will be brave/Lessons I?learn/on this walk of faith.

Titus had written the song about ten years ago, inspired by the events happening around 9/11. The core message, he says, is “empowerment, self-empowerment.”

A Day with HIV?in America is precisely about empowerment. It seeks to demystify and destigmatize the disease by showing everyday people living with HIV and AIDS through photographs taken by participants from across the country all on the same day. The PSA, which edits together snippets of people sharing their stories about living with HIV, helps explicate the project’s mission by bringing to light the emotional turmoil of living with HIV—the anguish of testing positive, being rejected by loved ones for being positive—but also the emotional awakening that can occur: finding a support system, finding sobriety, finding happiness in raising children, finding wellness, finding a new lease on life.

“The song was a perfect marriage for the PSA and the sentiments expressed by the people in the PSA.…And I think the song just perfectly matched the content of the purpose of the message. Underscored everything perfectly,” says Titus, who recently had the honor of singing “I?Will” for the Reverend Jesse Jackson [A&U, November 2000] at his seventieth birthday party.

The idea for the music video was sparked by the PSA. “As I was listening to [the song], probably a hundred times,” says Gress, “I started to see the lyrics and the voices of all the people in the PSA and their stories come together to make a narrative.”

A month or so later, after a smooth production, where cast and crew worked together in harmony shooting in various locales around the Windy City, the video premiered.

“When we were doing the video, it was really in hopes of enhancing what the PSA was about,” explains Titus. “Not trying to make a PSA but extend the message of ‘stop stigmatizing HIV and people with it’ and to encourage people to get tested and to realize that there is life after being diagnosed positive. We really wanted to encourage people and empower people to live their lives more fully and hopefully destigmatize HIV.”

Interspersed with shots of Titus singing, his voice, all grit and tenderness, caressing the words, the video follows a young African-American gay man as two narrative threads intersect: He meets a potential new beau on the same day he goes in for his HIV?test results and finds out that he is positive. The threat of rejection looms. Will his friends help lift up his spirits? Will his new love interest spurn him? Will he find peace with himself?

“I’ve been brought up in a world with HIV and it’s interesting to me where we are with things [now]. People who think they are negative run from people who are positive because they’re afraid that they’re going to become positive and that they’re going to be marginalized,” says Gress about the stigma and fear that has sharpened a serostatus split in the gay community. Gress hopes that the video lessens the fear of getting tested. Yes, an HIV?diagnosis is serious, but there are people who will “embrace you and love you for who you are,” he avers. Testing is a form of prevention, he adds. “Now we’ve seen through recent science that people who are tested and under treatment are far less likely to pass on the virus to someone else.”

Left to right: photographer and director John Gress; Julius, the lead actor in "I Will," and singer/songwriter Marshall Titus. Photo by Kevin Richards

Gress believes that we need to take a different tack when it comes to prevention. “I’m tired of seeing the division that has existed in our community that is all based on fear. I don’t think this message of ‘wrap it up and be afraid’ really works. The issue is far more complicated than that. If you want to be comprehensive about it, maybe it’s not about positive or negative, but maybe it’s about viral load—or safer sex practices. The odds that someone will transmit the virus in a given year…[can be] really low, and yet we as a gay society run from each other. I just hope that the video can bring people together.”

The video has resonated with viewers and is already up to 12,000 hits (and counting) on YouTube. Titus and Gress are both encouraged by the positive comments on YouTube and other blog and social-networking sites, but they have also been touched by meeting fans in person.

Exclaims Titus: “I’ve had so many people come up to me and share with me their personal experience of being diagnosed positive. And most of them said they had been living with HIV for well over twenty-some years and that watching the video brought back the memories of that experience for them, but, also, they felt very encouraged by [how the story played out]. Many friends of mine whom I didn’t know had been living with HIV opened up to me and shared their story. We see the comments on YouTube and different blog sites—that’s been really encouraging.”

Gress adds: “The night that we premiered the video someone came up to us and told us that he had been positive for more than twenty years and that he found out that very day that his liver was starting to fail because of the harshness of the drugs he took when he was first diagnosed and he came out to our event because he needed to be around people. He grabbed my hand and pulled me aside and said, ‘Thank you for lifting my spirits today, I really needed that.’ And that one moment, and all these other moments, are really what it is all about for us.”

That kind of power to affect others is no illusion. Both Gress and Titus have created a work of art that serves to advocate for others on the most personal of levels.

“I just started off this year by saying I wanted to donate one day a month of my time to some causes greater than myself,” says Gress, who began 2011 by donating time and talent to different HIV charities and ended by directing the PSA and the music video. “I’ve never really been in an advocate role, but it’s been great seeing how through art we can make a difference.

Titus has similarly renewed his commitment to advocacy: “I?likewise have never considered myself an activist, necessarily. Since doing this video I’ve said there’s me before the ‘I Will’ video and there’s me after it. Now I’ve realized that I’ve stepped into the role of some form of activism and I’m very proud of that. I mean, I’m happy to be involved and have some kind of voice on this platform because I’ve had many friends over the years, some who made the transition because of AIDS, and I have many friends living with HIV—and who’s to say…we don’t know what’s going to happen with our lives, moment to moment, and part of what the video is about is empowerment and supporting each other, especially within the gay community. We need it more than ever before, so I’m privileged to be able to have a voice on this platform.”

Thanks to the video, Titus has been asked to participate in the 2012 Texas LGBT Leadership & Prevention Conference for HIV/AIDS, August 9–12, in Dallas, Texas. He continues: “As an artist I’m so thankful that I’ve been involved in a project that has connected and touched people’s lives on [this] level. It’s not just about having a video out there for the sake of entertainment. It’s a piece of work that truly touches people’s lives and empowers people in the way I was hoping the song could. And that our work, and through our creativity, moves people and inspires people.”

Gress and Titus plan on working together again on another Titus video and Titus is readying his next release, a cover of George Michael’s “Father Figure.” Says Titus: “I?anticipate a long working relationship with John. We have good chemistry, and he has such a wonderful visual sense and knows how to tell a story with his camera. The marriage of my songs with his eye is very exciting.”

In closing, Gress says: “If we could help change the climate so there’s less fear and more testing there will be less HIV. If we could, through this video, accomplish that, that would be something great.” That would indeed disperse the smoke and clarify the mirrors.

To preview and purchase Marshall Titus’s music, log on to iTunes and other on-line retailers. For more information about the singer and to watch the video, log on to www.marshalltitus.com.

For more information about the work of John Gress, log on to www.johngress.com.

Chael Needle is Managing Editor of A&U.

January 2012

Marshall titus take a chance on me – danceclassics.net

Raw synth-funk out of Chicago by Marshall Titus. 'Take A Change' came out
in 1984 and features a short and long version. Quite a hard to find 12 inch single.
The song was also released as a 7 inch single on the Budweiser label that year.

Marshall Titus If The World Could Be Mine – Track Source

Georgie Porgie delivers on the Vinyl Soul Sound with vocals from the legendary Marshall Titus!!1,5 Original Produced by Georgie Porgie for Music Plant Group.
Additional keyboards by James Edwards III.

2&6 Remix produced by DJ Tom Tom at Tribe Studios, Mexico City.

3&7 Remix produced by G Cavelle for Music Plant Group. Additional keyboards by James Edwards III.

4&8 Remix produced by Tod Miner at Priaprism Studios for Music Plant Group.
Additional keyboards by James Edwards III.
Executive Producer: George Andros
Written by George Andros & Marshall Titus
Lead Marshall Titus
Backgrounds by Hold on to Peace and Marshall Titus
Georgie Music/ Docosoc Music (ASCAP)

Marshall Titus- Soul Treasures – Soul Treasures

Hi Marshall.

How have you been? Please tell me a little bit about your vidoe clips and something about your forthcoming CD "The Soud Of Refuge".

Soul Treasures
I've been great, thank you.Working on getting some new music together.

Well, I posted two clips from a live performance I did this past April at a club in Chicago called "MIX". The first one is "Fallen leaves" a brand new song I performed for the first time for an audience, this is one of the song's from my new collection of music. The second clip is "Road back to you" from my CD "The Reality of dreams project", I love performing these song's live, they take on a whole new life from the recording's. The third clip is "Rock me" from "The Reality of dreams project" CD....this is just a home made experimental video I shout on my birthday this past Feb,17TH., I look forward to shooting a video with some money behind me....lol

The title of my next collection of song's/CD will be "The sound of refuge" , the dictionary defines refuge as: 1.shelter or protection from danger or distress 2: a place that provides protection.....so the idea is to create song's...a musical soundscape that inspires and creates a place of shelter from noise and chaos of the world. Two song's from "The Sound of refuge" are "I Will" and "Fallen leaves" these song's will reflect where I am in my life right now, and continue my artistic evolution....at least that's my desire.

Marshall Titus- IMDB – Internet Movie Data Base

(1988) He acted in the musical, "Dreamgirls," at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Chicago, Illinois with Lynette DuPre in the cast. The crew included Danny Herman (choreographer), directed by William Pullinsi.

(1989) He acted in Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, "Jesus Christ Superstar," at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook, Illinois with Neil Friedman also in the cast. The crew included Tom Sivak (musical director), Rick Belzer (lighting designer), Martin Levan (sound designer), Terry Reiser (choreographer), and Scott Harris (director).

(1995) He acted in the musical, "Dreamgirls," at the Marriott Theatre with LaTonya Holmes and Felicia P. Fields also in the cast. The crew included Kenny Ingram (choreographer), Nancy Missimi (costume designer), and Mark S. Hoebee (director).

B Scene! Marshall Titus – backdoormedia

Special shout to Chicago’s SOUL crooner Marshall Titus and his manager Adam L McMath
who turned me on to this legendary singer. Marshall’s story is hella deep, and even though it’s outside the realm of HipHop, I look forward to following this man’s artistic path… And keeping y’all informed, of course.

Check out his latest single Even If. Available now.
Also check out one of my favs… Fallen Leaves. I mentioned to Adam that this would make
an excellent House remix… With an OUT Rapper… Hmmmmmm.

Link: sonicbids.com/marshalltitus
Link to Fallen Leaves: youtube.com/user/Marshalltitus?feature=mhsn

10 Things you need to know about Marshall Titus – Prideindex Blog

10 Things You Need to Know About Marshall Titus
January 15, 2008 by prideindex

1. Influenced by the likes of Smokey Robinson, Seal, Sade, Luther Van dross, Gino Vannelli, Sting, Annie Lennox, Terence Trent D’Arby and countless others, Marshall Titus aims to achieve success in his own rite.

2. His most recent project “Fallen Leaves” is available for purchase online at www.myspace.com/marshalltitus. Unlike other traditional recording artists who depend on the label system to promote and get their songs played in heavy rotation on the radio, Mr. Titus’ music is sold almost exclusively online in digital music stores such as www.cdbaby.com/cd/titus, iTunes or on MySpace where songs can be purchased and downloaded to the end user’s computer or IPOD. “Radio has no approach to my style of music; it’s not supportive of indie artist of my nature at this point,” he said. “I decided to release new songs as they come out of the oven, so to speak, as oppose to trying to record a whole CD at one time. “

3. Born and raised in Chicago, music has always been a part of his life. “The first song I ever had published was a song entitled “Sweet Melodies” recorded by Linda Clifford on her album “Let Me Be Your Woman” Curtom/RSO Records. I was a co-writer on the song on her third album, which had the disco version of “Bridge over Troubled Waters.”

4. Mr. Titus may look a little familiar to those who may remember him as a contestant on the television talent show, Star Search on which he was a finalist in the Male Vocalist Category. “I can hardly believe it’s been so long ago since I did Star Search That was sort of an out of body experience for me, very exciting,” he said. “That’s what American Idol is today. I have good memories, met a lot of great people, and to this day some people still remember me from that show.”

5. He has achieved success as an actor and performer. He won a Jeff Award for Best Actor in a Musical, for his performance of James “Thunder” Early in the Marriott’s Lincolnshire theater production of Dreamgirls. And his distinctive soulful voice can be heard on numerous radio and television commercial jingles hawking products for national advertisers such as Sears, Coca Cola, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and McDonald’s. On the big screen he had a part in a French film called Mort un demarche de pluie (Death on a Rainy Sunday) and he can be seen in the hit movie Barbershop. He plans to do more television and films as they become available.

6. Titus takes an interesting approach to identifying ideas for new projects. “Ideas for new projects identify me, they tend to excite me for a long period of time, I guess it’s sort of what being pregnant must feel like (lol) when the baby is due it has to come out.”

7. As an African American who happens to be a gay performer Titus has energized audiences with his universal appeal. He believes that a non-closeted black performer can obtain commercial success today, more than ever before. “I know that it would take an extremely brave individual to do that. If it were to happen, now would be the time. It’s like asking the question, is America ready for a black man, or a woman for President if not now, when?” he asks.

8. Titus admits that he does not listen to the radio too often; he doesn’t have an opinion regarding what’s hip-hop vs. R&B. Although he believes there are some talented people in the recorded music industry, he’s very disappointed with popular music produced and performed by most of the black acts of today. He believes the label system has always been driven by other factors as opposed to what good music is about.

9. His advice to aspiring artist, “Wear the world as if it were a loose garment. be patient and kind to yourself, be like water and flow. And above all, build strong faith in your divine source of power……NEVER GIVE UP ON YOURSELF!”

10. The most important thing you should know about Marshall Titus is that he is available for live singing engagements. He can be reached via his email at marshalltitus@sbcglobalnet.

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CD Single Review: Marshall Titus- “Fallen Leaves” – The PUB Report

Whatever happen to the days of thought-provoking lyrics and melodies that took you through a journey of the past , present, and future? Artist like Minnie Ripperton, Sade, Seal, and Donnie Hathaway have created reflective songs that have lasted generations.

Marshall Titus’s new single, “Fallen Leaves”( from his “The Sound of Refuge” project”), brings the same type of memories to mind. “Fallen Leaves” looks back at life…the things that made us smile, and the sadness of losing it all. But Titus’ cyclical outlook on this process only makes it more profound and very few songs can convey this in a way as “Fallen Leaves”. The piano, string arrangement, and minimal percussion create a backdrop for his thoughtful lyrics. Coming from a theatrical background, Titus’ voice expresses every emotion as if it is happening at that very time.

Grade: A-

Editor’s Note: For those of you who haven’t heard of Marshall Titus, please check out his facebook page. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that you have heard his voice either on TV, stage, or film.