“I don’t look for enjoyment in singing and songwriting. It’s more like something I know I have to do.”
Those are the words spoken by a true and talented musician. Australian singer, songwriter, and producer Darcy Callus has a purpose, and that purpose is to make music. Over the next year, he will be spending his time working on his debut album.
“I think my first release is going to be a very direct and pure expression so as to really showcase what sets me apart from everyone. For the most part, it will be something relatively simple in it’s arrangement and instrumentation.” said Callus. “I have an idea of the sonic quality of the album too; I want the voice, piano and other parts to sound a particular way. Of course, it’s hard to really know what will happen until it’s done, but this is what I’m aiming for.”
Callus is focusing on creating material for his first album that will also allow for an easy transition to his second. He has an ambitious goal. Callus plans on writing around 150 songs that he will then chose the best for his albums. “At least one in every 10 songs is usually very strong, but just a small handful of songs out of every 100 are real gems. Those are what
you’re looking for.”
For this first album, Callus is working with Dave Stroud and Bryan Todd. Todd is a producer that is also currently working with the Season 3 winner of The Voice, Cassadee Pope. Stroud has worked with many artists, including Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson, Michael Jackson, Jamie Cullum, Prince and Justin Bieber.
“Learning with Dave Stroud in Los Angeles is a hallmark of the fact that I’m on a successful path. Dave has worked with some of the best artists in the world, and he thinks enough of me to take me under his wing, so that must mean something,” said Callus. “I incredibly grateful to have met him.”
Callus started singing in choirs, but became serious when he was 16. Callus’ career really took off in 2010, when he was a finalist on the Australian X-Factor, and recognized as one of the best in the competition. Callus recognizes it as the highlight of his promising career so far.
The album will be entirely original songs. Songwriting is one of his specialities. That is where he stands out from the crowd. He often avoids the cliché topics that you have heard before and expresses real emotions in a new light.
“Usually it’s something I’ve seen or experienced that’s really moved me; that’s when I produce my best work,” he said. “Having said that, it can be anything, and inspiration can come from thin air. It’s often about taking something that looks rather ordinary and seeing something special in it.”
Callus is multi-talented. Not only is he a stand-out singer and songwriter, he is a jazz pianist with classical training, and a producer.
“Producing for me is one of the most exciting things to do in music. It always feels new to me,” he described. “Sometimes you make a real connection with an artist and develop an understanding of what their message is, and your role is to make sure that message comes across clearly and enticingly. Other times, it's more about making something that just feels great and grabs your attention. Both are great. And it’s where I get to geek out and sometimes experiment. You often have to arrange and perform the music, and engineer the sound. I love crafting the soundscape and sonority of the album. I’ve always loved being in a studio too; from a young age they’ve always felt like a place where you can make magic happen.”
Callus produced the upcoming album for artist Juri Jinnai, a.k.a. “Emergency Tiara.” Jinnai describes Callus as her favourite person to make music with.
“He is very open minded to other's opinion without being hesitant about his own. As a result, projects always represent the best of all the people who are part of,” she said. “His amazing piano skills with his good ears is, of course, one the reasons he is so special. But also, he has the biggest passion in everything he does and it's very contagious. He gets everyone excited to work.”
Callus is incredibly versatile, and his upcoming album is highly anticipated. When someone loves what they do, it is a guaranteed success.
“When you sing, you’re able to express things in ways that you can’t otherwise,” he said. “You’re allowed to express and play with emotions and feelings that you often can’t in every day life, because songs and their performance are like a stage upon which anything is allowed and accepted. The great thing about songwriting is that you can mix and juxtapose words, stories and ideas with music and emotions. So you can write about something usually very sad, and set it to sweet music, giving new perspective and insight. You can reveal meaning in something that seems meaningless.”