Broussard, Marc

views updated

Marc Broussard

Singer, songwriter

The Louisiana-born vocalist Marc Broussard has made a major impact on roots-music audiences with his gruff voice and swamp-infused mixture of funk, blues, rock, and classic soul. Since coming on the scene with his 2002 album Momentary Setback, Broussard has rapidly gained the support of music industry heavyweights, signing first with the Island label and then with the legendary Atlantic Records. Broussard had the confidence to remain unfazed in the face of this sudden attention. "I started singing in front of people when I was five," he explained to Michael Corcoran of the Austin American-Statesman. Asked at what age he started getting good, Broussard replied, "Five."

Broussard's early start as a performer was no accident, for he grew up in a musical family that included several traditional Cajun musicians. Born in Carencro (pronounced Karen Crow, he explained), Louisiana, on January 14, 1982, he was the son of guitarist Ted Broussard, a member of the Louisiana Hall of Fame for his musical accomplishments. Those accomplishments included a long stint in a popular swamp blues band called the Boogie Kings, but the elder Broussard's first love was jazz. Marc Broussard grew up surrounded by the rich musical environment of southern Louisiana. When he was five, he surprised his father by singing the Chuck Berry rock and roll classic "Johnny B. Goode." Ted Broussard cued his son to sing it back in different keys, and Marc did that, too.

Soon he was onstage with the Boogie Kings, singing the likes of the Beatles' "Maxwell's Silver Hammer." His determination to become a performer was sealed when he was nine, after a little girl asked for his autograph. He took up the guitar at 11, and by the time he was a teenager he had graduated to more significant roles with his father's band in clubs in Lafayette, near Carencro. He soaked up music wherever he could, singing in choirs in high school and church.

Broussard rooted around in his father's large collection of classic soul, jazz, and Motown records, and he also made some discoveries of his own. "My father … he likes jazz, he's a jazz musician, so Led Zeppelin, for instance, was never in our house," he told Jeff Vrabel of the Florida Times Union. Broussard told Vrabel that he started studying the group's work on his own. "They're so experimental, and it almost seems like they're just goofing off most of the time, but it sounds killer." The young vocalist's energetic stage performances attracted the attention of Los Angeles music consultant Leah Simon, leading to the release of his Momentary Setback album on her independent Ripley label and to valuable video exposure.

Just 18 in 2002, Broussard already had a circuit of solo acoustic appearances under his belt and had accumulated a group of original songs. He was ready to record Momentary Setback, but the album turned out to involve something of a musical declaration of independence for Broussard, who had always followed his father's musical lead. "During the recording of my first record, he felt his influence would be greater than it was," Broussard recalled to Mariko Beck of New Jersey's Bergen County Record. "When it didn't turn out that way, it was sad for him and awkward for me." The two later reconciled musically, and Ted Broussard eventually learned all of his son's songs.

Momentary Setback got attention in the roots music community, and one of its songs, "Just Like That," appeared on Lost and Found, Vol. 1, an anthology of Americana songs released by the influential Lost Highway label. Broussard was also invited to contribute a track ("Back in Your Arms") to the Light of Day Bruce Springsteen tribute album in 2003, and he landed a major touring gig that year as an opening act for the Dave Matthews Band. He later opened for various other arena-level stars, including Tori Amos, Willie Nelson, O.A.R., Citizen Cope, and Maroon 5.

With his career in full upward motion, Broussard was signed to the Island label and released Carencro in 2004. The album was named for his hometown, where Broussard continued to live, even after reaching the top levels of the Los Angeles-based recording industry. The album included both radio-friendly tunes like "Rocksteady" and vocally harder-edged fare. Asked by Vrabel to categorize the album, Broussard replied, "I call it psychobilly acid-rock, most of the time. Nah, I just call it soul music." After the release of Carencro in 2004, Broussard made several cross-country tours and continued to gain exposure over the next few years at the giant Southern festivals that were becoming increasingly important in breaking new roots talent: Austin, Texas's South by Southwest, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee.

The year 2005 saw Broussard emerge as a leader in recovery efforts after hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated Louisiana that year. He released a Bootleg to Benefit the Victims of Hurricane Katrina album and personally interrupted his touring to build homes with the Habitat for Humanity organization. He has served as a spokesperson for United Way of Acadiana, and his efforts were recognized when he received Hard Rock International's Love All, Serve All Award. A video of his hit "Home" remained in rotation on the VH1 and CMT cable channels during this period.

For the Record …

Born on January 14, 1982, in Carencro, LA; son of Ted Broussard (a guitarist); married; wife's name, Sonya; children: Gavin, Gibb, Evengeline.

Performed with father, Ted Broussard, 1989-c. 2000; released debut album, Momentary Setback, 2002; signed to Island label, released Carencro, 2004; aided in Hurricane Katrina recover efforts, released Bootleg to Benefit the Victims of Hurricane Katrina, 2005; released S.O.S.: Save Our Soul, 2007; signed to Atlantic label, 2007, released EP Must Be the Water, 2008.

Awards: Hard Rock International, Love All, Serve All Award.

Addresses: Management—Brick Wall Management, 39 W. 32nd St., New York, NY 10001, e-mail: Rachel Rosemire, [email protected] Web site—Marc Broussard Official Web site: http://www.marcbroussard.com.

The post-Katrina period saw Broussard consolidating his position through touring, guest appearances, and new music of his own. He released S.O.S.: Save Our Soul, an 11-song album of classic soul and R&B cov- ers, in 2007. "Broussard manages to put a new sheen on the songs while remaining faithful to the original arrangements, retaining the material's old-school values by recording live in the studio with his band," commented Steve Jones of USA Today. Broussard also recorded a duet, "Nothing Wrong," with country-pop diva LeAnn Rimes, and he appeared with Paul McCartney, Elton John, Neil Young, and other superstars on the 2007 album Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino. In the fall of 2007 Broussard toured the Middle East for four months as part of the MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) command of the United States military.

At the end of that year, Broussard's career took a big step forward once again as he was signed to the Atlantic label. While readying his full-length debut for the label he released a five-song EP, Must Be the Water. By that time he had notched numerous television appearances, and he added one more in February of 2008 when he performed "Home" on the TNT channel as part of the festivities accompanying the National Basketball Association All-Star Game. The future of the young vocal prodigy from Louisiana looked bright.

Selected discography

Momentary Setback, Ripley, 2002.

Carencro, Island, 2004.

Bootleg to Benefit the Victims of Hurricane Katrina, 2005.

S.O.S.: Save Our Soul, Island, 2007.

Must Be the Water (EP), Atlantic, 2008.

Sources

Periodicals

Austin American-Statesman, January 27, 2005, p. 17.

Florida Times Union, July 8, 2005, p. WE13.

New York Post, August 1, 2004, p. 87.

People, September 13, 2004, p. 53.

Record (Bergen County, NJ), August 5, 2005, p. 15.

USA Today, August 15, 2007, p. D5.

Online

"Bio," Marc Broussard Official Web site, http://www.marcbroussard.com (February 27, 2008).

"FAQ," Marc Broussard Forum, http://www.momentarysetback.com (February 27, 2008).

—James M. Manheim

About this article

Broussard, Marc

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article