Bayou-bred singer/songwriter Marc Broussard is a true Renaissance Man. Raised near Lafayette, Louisiana, heir to his father Ted’s Cajun swamp-pop throne, Marc’s blue-eyed Southern soul has been featured in an NBA All-Star Game, covered by country superstars like Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson, used to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims and Baton Rouge children’s hospitals and elevated to the international stage, due to appearances on Conan and Jimmy Kimmel Live! He has also toured the Middle East performing in support of U.S. troops.
Best of all, Broussard has built such a successful career by following his own instincts. He worked with a major label until it didn’t work for him. He has even pursued such auxiliary projects as a children’s book and a stuffed animal.
“There are so many different ways to cut the mustard,” he tells Folio Weekly. “But the ultimate goal should be sustained joy—especially to the point of elation.”
Folio Weekly: How much experience do you have touring in Florida?
Marc Broussard: My first gig ever in my life was when I was five years old, in Florida. My dad would book a gig every year to help pay for the family vacation, and it just so happened that right before that particular vacation, he found out I had an ear for singing and put me on stage that weekend. So I’ve been touring Florida for 31 years. [Laughs.]
What did your dad and his bandmates teach you about being a musician?
That’s an interesting question, full of pitfalls and success stories. But thank you, Dad, for showing me a whole host of characters doing things in a variety of ways. He offered me perspective, both as an amazing musician and an incredible father. Luckily, I was able to pick up on some of what he was trying to put down.
Different people call your music different things: soul, pop, rock, funk, Cajun. What is it about Louisiana that erases the barriers between genres?
It has a lot to do with family and food. Life and music imitate each other in ways that force us to emote. Life confronts us in the same way that a song punches us in the gut. The culture here has fostered a very healthy outlet of sharing a good time with the people you love in order to get through the bad times. That translates into music very naturally.
Your last studio album, Easy to Love, dropped last year. Are you working on any new material?
Oh, man, so much is in the works. I wish that I could even begin to explain what we got going on. I’ve got a new swamp rendition of my song “Home” coming out with a B-side called “Which Side of the River Are You On?” along with some acoustic stuff my dad and I have done. After the first of the year, I’m also hoping to put out another SOS: Save Our Soul project. This one will be a lullabies album that coincides with a beautifully illustrated children’s book I wrote, and a stuffed animal.
A stuffed animal?
It’s kind of like a beaver version of me. We’re raising money for a children’s hospital here in Baton Rouge.
How do projects like that—or albums like Magnolias & Mistletoe—allow you to stretch your legs?
It allows me to stay engaged with my audience at a more frequent rate than
some of my contemporaries. Essentially, I want to outpace everybody else. That’s my philosophy about business. It’s really fun to step outside of an original project. I’ve found real purpose with the SOS Foundation, raising money for various charities, and what that’s led to is a real boon for me creatively on a whole host of fronts. It’s allowed me to reexamine the way in which I engage in my craft. And I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had.
Is your career more fun now that you’re no longer on a major label?
Hmm … the answer’s ‘yes.’ [Laughs.] The way I’ve achieved that is through finding out what my purpose is in life—homing in on that whole mystical question—and then setting goals. First, I set impossible goals deep into the future, and then I break those down into more tangible goals that I can chase down. But the ultimate goal should be sustained joy, especially to the point of elation. If you can sustain joy and elation for long periods, then you’re doing something right.