Interview by: Mike Farley
here for Mike's review of
Marc Broussard's latest album
Singer/Songwriter Marc Broussard is a throwback artist, one with soul and heart and grit. Heís like a young Edwin McCain with some R&B influences that distinguish him from many of his peers. Plus, he works hard to gain new fans and is currently touring in support of his Ripley Records debut,
Mike Farley: So how are things going for you?
Marc Broussard: You know what, Iím probably in the best state of mind in my life, just because things are flowing along so smoothly. Itís just a good feeling to know that Iíve got good people taking care of me; my management squad, my publicist, my label. I work with some of the best people in the business and itís a really good feeling to know Iím being taken care of.
MF: So how long has the record been out now?
MB: It came out September 3rd of last year.
MF: How has radio been going with it?
MB: Weíve been real selective on who weíve given it to, but we havenít been real selective on what they choose to play. Itís been interesting to see which song they choose, because weíve probably had three or four different songs on the radio. There was one point in my hometown where we had three different songs on three different stations simultaneously, which was interesting because it brought quite a few more people to my live shows.
MF: I see youíre coming to Cleveland soon (May 9th at the Beachland Tavern).
MB: The live show is a completely different animal than the record, and I like to encourage the media to get out to a show.
MF: Tell me about how Leah Simon discovered you.
MB: Well, Leah is from my area in Louisiana. She grew up in a different time than I did, and sheís been living in LA for years but owns a restaurant here in Lafayette, Louisiana. She was down there working, and I had a show, and some of her employees were saying, ďyou gotta check this kid out,Ē and I was drawing maybe 30 to 40 people to my shows at that point. She came down, but missed my set. I really didnít know who she was, I just knew that she knew people in the music business. I introduced myself and asked her if she wanted to hear my stuff. She said, ďYeah, Iíll be back for Mardi Gras,Ē and I said ďNo, right now.Ē I pulled her outside, and it was 20 degrees out there. We sat on the curb. I pulled out my guitar and played three songs, and she gave me her number. I called her that Monday, she flew me out later that month and we met a bunch of industry people. But no one really bit; they didnít know what to do with me. But Leah said, ďScrew it, weíll make our own record.Ē And thatís when we came out with
MF: Itís a shame that the industry is so screwed up right now, and that they donít know where to place someone like you, because you could be at home on so many different radio stations.
MB: Yeah, what weíre trying to do is make it so that a label canít screw it up. Weíre spending a lot of time touring, because thatís where Iím going to create real legitimate fans. Weíre going to take our time with it and make sure we do things right.
MF: So tell me about Marshall Altman and how he got involved.
MB: In January 2002 Leah was having dinner at her house to introduce me to some of her friends, and Marshall was at the dinner. I pulled out my guitar and jammed for him. And Leah has a grand piano in her living room so Marshall and I kind of jammed together. He automatically knew he wanted to work with me, but I didnít know what he did. But when we were ready to do the record, Leah contacted Marshall to see if he would be interested in doing it, and he came down and produced the shit out of it.
MF: He did an amazing job.
MB: Yeah, itís very interesting. In the short amount of time that we had, I think we came out with an amazing record. Thatís predominantly because Marshall opened up my mind to new avenues of recording. We started out with an organic approach, starting completely from scratch with a lot of the songs.
MF: Which was the track he co-wrote with you?
MB: He had a huge influence on ďJeremiahís Prayer.Ē He brought some really great lyrics to the table on that one.
MF: Who are some of your bigger influences?
MB: Well, growing up in a very jazz/R&B home, I was exposed to Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Earth Wind & Fire, and Weather Report at a very young age. Coming into my own, I started listening to contemporary R&B like Bryan McKnight, as well as older stuff like Otis (Redding), Marvin (Gaye) and Donnie Hathaway. But the last two years, Martin Sexton has been a huge influence. I just did two shows with him this past week and he and I wrote a song together in Birmingham and performed it, which was crazy. And I brought my dad out to play the shows with me as well; heís an amazing guitar player. So it was pretty cool to bring two of my heroes onto the stage together.
MF: Actually my next question was about your dad. Tell me about his musical history.
MB: His dad was a guitar player, bluegrass/country stuff. My dad just learned to play the Chet Atkins style of guitar early on, and then started delving more into black music.
He focused on scales for six or eight hours a day for 20 years. He never really focused on speed, but more technique. And now heís probably the most tasteful guitar player Iíve ever heard in my life. Pops is bad, bro.
MF: Does he play for a living?
MB: No, he works for the state. He did the touring thing when he was younger, but didnít really dig it. So he settled down and had a family. But he does gig; heís like a weekend warrior. And heís starting to do more now since everything is falling into place for me. He wants to do a recording, and itís exciting to see his response to my success as well.
MF: Are you a sports fan at all?
MB: I played baseball in school and a lot of soccer, but itís hard for me to find the time to watch a game now on TV.
MF: Do you have any funny stories from the road?
MB: Not off hand, I just started touring in January. And we did so many shows that everything seems all jumbled together.
MF: What was your favorite venue to play?
MB: I loved New York City. We played Irving Plaza for a sold-out crowd and all kinds of industry people were there. I met Clive Davis and John Mayer. That was a really cool show. But with O.A.R. we played the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, and that was like 4,500 kids. It was unbelievable for me.
MF: So have a lot of people heard of you or are you going out supporting?
MB: Iím going out supporting, but itís cool because Iím going out to cities for the first time in my life. And because of the Web, I have 10 or 15 people in the front row singing my songs. Itís cool to have people recognize you like that.
MF: What would you say is the best food on the road?
MB: We had catering for the majority of the O.A.R tour, and in Indianapolis we had baked cod with Cajun tartar sauce. That was some good shit, bro. But we were Burger Kinginí it most of the way -- it was a low-budget tour.
MF: What about the worst food on the road?
MB: Augh, Burger King.
MF: The one thing that stands out to me when I listen to your record is your voice. After I listened a few times, I was like ďHoly crap!Ē
MB: Well, thatís been my main instrument since I was five, and Marshall made sure that the vocals stood out on the record. There are some cuts on there that Iím still completely stunned by. I reached levels in the studio that Iíd never reached before. I was in the zone, man.
MF: Are the major labels taking notice now that youíve had a record out on Ripley?
MB: Yeah, weíve been dealing with Island/Def Jam, and the deal is close to being done. Theyíre going to take an active role promoting this record first, and be the financier for the development stage, but Island/Def Jam is the home Iím going to be at.
MF: I think youíve got incredible potential, and Iíd compare you to Edwin McCain.
MB: I dig Edwin a lot, and heís a badass singer and songwriter. I love a lot of his tunes, and thatís a huge compliment to me. Iíve had that a handful of times, and when it does come I just take it for all the glory in the world.
MF: Anything else you want to add?
MB: Just mention the website, www.marcbroussard.com, and also that the live shows are available at
Don't miss Marc's next appearance in Cleveland as part of the "Better
Than Everfine Festival" at Towercity Amphitheater on Saturday, June 28th!