Cathedral Performances A New Acoustic Twist For Billy Raffoul

Canadian singer-songwriter Billy Raffoul to perform at The Phoenix as part of Canadian Music Week

When Leamington Ontario native Billy Raffoul toured Europe two years ago, he found himself booked to play in Hamburg Germany’s St Michael’s Cathedral as part of that city’s Reeperbahn Festival, the only time that venue is allowed to be used as a concert venue. That date was so successful and the acoustics in the venue so spectacular that Raffoul’s European agent suggest he perform in other European cathedrals on his next visit.

So, as Raffoul is set to perform Friday at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre as part of the annual Canadian Music Week festivities he has just returned from dates in Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, and Munich where he performed acoustically at several Cathedral venues.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever done a tour of churches,” Raffoul noted as he touched base to promote Friday’s Phoenix date and the release of his latest `I Wish You Were Here’ six-track EP. “These Cathedrals have beautifully sounding acoustic rooms. It’s a bit different and next time, we’ll do something again, but it’s a great way to change things up, keeps you on your toes so that you can change your setlist every night. I have about 20-24 songs to select from each night and suffice to say I am probably more well-known in Europe than anywhere else.”

Having debuted in 2017 with his single “Driver” following the release of his `1975’ and ‘The Running Wild’ EP’s, Raffoul delivered his debut full-length album `A Few More Hours’ in 2020 with a single “Acoustic” generating over 66.4 million Spotify streams. The release of his next EP `International Hotel’ later in 2020 resulted in U.S tours with Kings Of Leon, Kaleo and X Ambassadors and his prolific song writing skills were rewarded with Raffoul claiming a SOCAN song writing prize for his single “Western Skies”. Success that resulted in Western Canada dates supporting Juno winner JJ Wilde.

Not wishing to be a teenage heartthrob like Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes or Johnny Orlando, Raffoul wants to be known solely for his song writing and his live performances. “It’s about the songs, it always will be. It’s about creating stories or re-telling old stories, that’s what I get excited about.”

“I came into this business at a time when it was switching from people actually making CD’s to streaming to now back to making vinyl,” Raffoul notes. “But performing live is the only thing which hasn’t gone out of style. People will always want to hear live music and I have always had this to fall back on no matter how my music is being consumed. I started touring by playing anywhere people would have me and that element really hasn’t changed.”

Raffoul says he has been influenced by artists like Dallas Green. “I am a big admirer of his,” he allows. “I have seen him perform in California and to do what he is doing is very inspiring to me. His ability to go into a city and perform two totally different shows; one with his City And Colour band and the next night do a show acoustically is something I have aspired to emulate.”

The six tracks on “I Wish You Were Here” aspire to reflect this quality with “Wish We Could Get Higher”, “Alligator”, “Jim Carrey”, “Better”, “Bliss”, and the title track with Raffoul stating, “The goal was to get them to a place where we see them on stage, I write music to experience sharing it with other people.”

These songs will be a part of Raffoul’s set when he hits the stage Friday at The Phoenix. “It’s a fun set of new songs that we have never done before, electric stuff but some acoustic moments also,” he allowed.

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