Style-merging Marc Broussard remains determined to go his own way

Mario Tarradell
The Dallas Morning News (MCT)

Trials and tribulations provide ideal fodder for great R&B songs. But what if your personal life is in good shape? What if there's no pain for the gain?

Louisiana soul man Marc Broussard recently pondered such a predicament.

"I was thinking lately, my wife and I have been doing so well as a husband and wife, that I was thinking I needed a little bit of heartbreak in my life," says the 27-year-old singer-songwriter by phone from a tour stop in Chicago. "Maybe those heartbreak songs come from this business. It is a heartbreaking business. We're all struggling for attention and input."

Broussard knows a little bit about the fight to be heard. Since 2002, he has been paddling upstream through the rushing waters of the recording industry. His talent — a genuine knack for merging R&B, funk, blues and vintage pop into a muse-affirming sound that belies his young age — has yet to reach the mainstream masses.

His latest CD, 2008's "Keep Coming Back," is another worthy example of his cool, stirring melange, which brings to mind genre legends Al Green and Bobby Womack.

But "Keep Coming Back" is also his fourth disc in as many record labels. After his inauspicious debut, 2002's "Momentary Setback," released on tiny Ripley Records, his major label bow, 2004's "Carencro," was released on Island. The acclaimed disc started some buzz, but Island rejected his follow-up effort, calling it "too urban."

Broussard begged off the label and then entertained a contract with the resuscitated Stax Records that fell through. He recorded 2007's "S.O.S.: Save Our Soul," a collection of R&B cover songs, on his own dime and licensed it to Vanguard.

Atlantic Records came to his rescue, releasing "Keep Coming Back" and supporting his upcoming fifth album, which he will record in December.

"I would much rather be on one label for the rest of my life," says Broussard. "But I think it shows that there's always going to be some love out there for an artist like me. It's encouraging for my career."

Broussard doesn't intend to change a lick of his sound for commercial acceptance. He does want to be successful. He wants to make more money to travel and support his wife and three children.

Still, this Louisiana artist, son of Cajun music guitarist Ted Broussard, will always feed on the artistry of his upbringing.

"When you take styles and things that you like to listen to and mash them all up, that's called your own style. It's definitely influenced by my upbringing in Louisiana, because that influences my life," he says. "My father is a very talented musician, and he played a big role in what I was listening to growing up, but all in all it has been my own search for stuff that I really like listening to and making music that I like listening to myself."

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