Marc Broussard Doesn’t Need a Ferrari
The truth is that any questions I had about Marc Broussard were answered on a subliminal level when I saw him perform live, and spoke with him in person. This Louisiana-based, son-of-a-down-south-legend, blue-eyed soul singer/songwriter is electric and the genuine article. Whether or not his recent album has that same magic is a question, but I am a believer in Marc, and that is what matters most. When artists come and go at high-speed, and we’re made to decide who stays in our hearts and who we can confide in for the long haul, Marc Broussard is a voice that may very well Keep Coming Back. The following interview takes place just after an acoustic promo performance for Marc’s most recent album release. Rambling through City Hall Park to the sounds of a saxophonist who looks an awful lot like Jazz Man from The Simpsons, we’re both wearing shades. Mine are Ray Ban, his appear to be Rolex — which is awesome . It’s also overcast.
Mario Spinetti: How do you like New York City?
Marc Broussard: I love the city just as it is, but to come out here and play shows is a dream come true. I’d love to live here at some point, but it’s obviously really expensive.
There are different spots within and without the city…
I’m pretty dead set on… Tribeca. [Mutual laughter]
Well yeah, that’s expensive.
[We reach a police rail overlooking City Hall]
So! New record! How do you feel about it?
I’m feeling really good about this record, Mario, I gotta say. It’s a record that I’ve had more involvement with personally than any of my previous albums.
Is it your first production?
I’m not listed as a producer, but yeah. Being able to voice my opinions and have them actually carried out was something new for me. I was present from top to bottom on this project, even for mixing, and there was no editing, which is great! No editing at all! Which is a fantastic way to make a record. You’ve got musicians talented enough to do it, so why beat detective* them?
That’s wonderful, and very uncommon.
In today’s world, yes.
But you’re on Atlantic Records now, and in that tradition, natural, edit-free performances are more commonplace.
It’s more in line with their history. I’m really fired up about being on Atlantic. They’re 100 % behind developing my career, not just developing a record; they’re in the Marc Broussard business, not just the Marc Broussard record business.
That’s also very rare. Again we’re talking about anomalies. You’ve got a record with no editing, and a label that’s looking out for your better interest.
Yeah, absolutely. They want to make me a career artist. They’d like to see me around for a long time, which is a great thing. It’s not just throwing my music up against a wall to see if it sticks. They actually want me to develop and foster the grass roots we’ve laid in place… and they’ve got seven records guaranteed out of me, so if it works well, it’s going to work well for a long time.
Wow! That sounds good though. If I were going to pick a label to be on for seven records…
Yeah, [Atlantic is] the best label in the world right now. And it’s because of a philosophy: having a very small, powerful roster and not trying to flood the industry with a bunch of crap.
When you were growing up was there anyone who influenced your work in a major way?
Growing up, my father [Hall of Fame guitarist Ted Broussard] introduced me to Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. Personally though, it wasn’t until I discovered Brian McKnight around 6th grade that I really started exploring music on my own. He’s a phenomenal singer and definitely had a major influence on me. As of late, I also feel a really close connection with James Brown, just because the guy’s got so much attitude and that’s really what I want to be bringing to the table – something completely original.
What would you like to see happen with your career? Is there a goal?
Obviously we all want to sell out arenas and stadiums – that’s the dream: to sell 20,000, or 30,000 tickets a night, but it’s not necessary. Considering I’m from Louisiana, I don’t need a whole lot more than what I’ve got right now: a nice house, a very modest home. I’ve got a wife with three kids, and my kids go to the best school in the area, so I don’t really need a whole lot more. I don’t need a Ferrari, and I don’t need a big mansion. If I could have a career like James Taylor or Mose Alison – somebody that can sell 5,000 tickets for the rest of my life, I’m down with that, man. Playing places like the Beacon Theatre… I could live with that.
It sounds like you’re well on your way.
I think so! We’ve got a lot of fans out there who have been die-hards for some time. Hopefully with the release of this record, and a record label pushing things for us, we can break that ceiling and start making some waves.
If there’s one thing you’d like to be remembered for, what would it be?
I’d like to be remembered for bringing families together with my music… music that’s positive enough for parents to dig on, and funky enough for kids to dance to.
Interview By Mario Spinetti – Photos By Anjuli Bhattacharyya
*[Beat Detective; pronunciation: \’bēt\ \di-’tek-tiv\; function: verb; definition: a process by which various computer functions analyze misplayed rhythms, and adjust them to graphic perfection. Can be used as a corrective tool or as an aesthetic effect. Comparable to airbrushing in visual mediums, it’s said to exist on over 95% of “pop” records post-dating the late ‘90s, when the tool was conceived.
I recently spoke with a group of professional engineers about Beat Detective and Autotune, which is a similar device that corrects misplayed pitches rather than rhythms, and we came to the conclusion that through years of conditioning, the expectation of most contemporary music listeners is mathematical perfection. In other words, what the contemporary listener expects to occur naturally within music is actually “Beat Detected” where rhythmic elements are concerned, and “Autotuned” where pitches are involved, such that record-makers and musicians are left with musical standards that are nearly impossible to fulfill without the aid of computers.