“Bayou Soul” artist Marc Broussard, who grew up in Lafayette Parish, La. (where he still lives), is a product of his environment in more ways than one.
“My father is a rhythm and blues as well as a jazz guitar player, so he had a major influence on my upbringing as a musician,” says Broussard, who performs at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, April 1. “He was sort of in charge of the stereo system at home for quite a long time.
“It was definitely inescapable to be influenced by this region. There is no doubt that I was influenced by the Cajun and zydeco culture and I’ll always be a part of me, but my father’s musical tastes gravitated more towards artists like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, James Taylor and Otis Redding. And to this day, those are still some of my biggest influences.”
Being influenced by his father’s taste in music has served him well. Broussard’s voice and musical style — a blend of rock, soul, R&B and blues with overtones of Cajun, zydeco and jazz — have allowed him to broaden his horizons and enhance his fan base.
Being charitably minded doesn’t hurt, either.
Broussard’s SOS (“Save Our Soul”) series of charity albums — of which SOS III: A Lullaby Collection, is the latest installment — have all been well received. From the initial SOS: Save Our Soul, a 2007 collection of R&B cover material, to 2016’s SOS II: Soul on a Mission, he has donated 50 percent of the profits to charity. And for this recent release — as well as his new children’s book, “I Love You for You” — he will be donating a portion of the profits to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, La.
“We try and identify organizations on the ground doing the most crucial work that we can find, the most comprehensive approaches on the ground and then support them hopefully in perpetuity with my albums and whatever else we can throw at them,” he said, adding that the songs for the SOS albums are “about 95 percent cover material, and we try and write a song that will fit the motif.
“Picking the songs is really by committee. I put together a playlist of 30 songs, some of the guys in the band will put together a playlist with a bunch of songs, my manager will weigh in as well with his own playlist, and then we cross-reference the lists and see if there is anything that is on all of the lists, and those are usually automatic. Then we start whittling away from there, we have discussions about it and we try to make sure that the playlist is as recognizable as possible as well as something that we’re going to enjoy playing.”
The children’s book, he said, came together rather quickly.
“I’ve got a dear friend who is an illustrator and I’ve worked with her husband, who is a film producer, on a few different productions, and we’ve become friendly over the years. And every time that we are together we’d both admit that it was probably a good idea for us to put together a project at some point. And it wasn’t until the last time that we were hanging that I realized it was time for another ‘SOS’ installment. So, I said, ‘Hey, let’s do a children’s book. I’ll find a children’s charity.,I’ll do an album of lullabies and we’ll do a whole child-themed release.’ And she was all about it.
“I actually wrote the story on the plane ride home from that trip: I wrote the entire book. I got super inspired on the plane and just knocked it out. I sent her a copy and she loved it, she started working on some drawings for me, and the rest is history.”
He’ll be backed by a five-piece band in South Orange. “I’ve got bass, drums, guitar, keys and sax — my keys is also my sax,” he said. “I’ve got Jason Parfait playing both instruments, which is a sight to behold, to be quite honest with you. It’s pretty amazing to watch him play a sax solo while also keeping the keyboard parts going. He is a very talented man.
“The whole band really is. Bobby Junior (Bobby Schneck Jr.) on guitar is easily the best guitar player that I’ve ever had in the band. So yeah, we’re gonna rock out. We play about a 90-minute show generally and it’s a mix of my songs mixed in with some medleys of some of the covers that I’ve done over the years.
“The show is really a rhythm and blues show. So you’ll hear everything from me to Al Green, P-Funk, The Isley Brothers, James Brown, Stevie Wonder. We sprinkle it all in there, to try and put on as much fun of a show that we can. So make sure you bring your dancin’ shoes if you’re comin’.”
Broussard also has some things coming in the latter part of 2022 that he is very excited about.
“I’m actually releasing singles exclusively through my own app in the App Store, so if you just type in my name, you’ll see my app,” he said. “We’re releasing some new original stuff exclusively through the app. But I just solidified a deal to make another ‘SOS’ album, and this time it’s going to be a blues album and Joe Bonamassa is going to produce for me. So that ought to be a really good time. That will be cut in June and hopefully we’ll be able to get that out by the end of this year.”
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