By Steve Houk
It could be because after 13-plus years of making music, the popular Louisiana-bred singer/songwriter has a loyal and passionate fan base that loves his brand of bayou soul so much, he’s consistently playing to packed houses across the country and in Europe.
But to Broussard, life is good because of a lot more than that. To him, there’s a big difference between the kid he was back when success drove his life, and the man who has a family now, and different priorities than fame and fortune. And that’s made his life better than ever.
“There’s alot different there, those two gentlemen,” said the 33-year-old Broussard during a break from the road. “My version of myself today and the version of myself back then are very, very different human beings. Priorities have changed significantly, and with the birth of all four of my children, has come a significant perspective shift. The biggest difference is that I’ve just grown up, grown up alot, and so what motivates me now is very different than what motivated me back then. Riches and fame is what I wanted to secure back in the day, and those two things have very little sway over me these days. I’ve never been in a better place mentally or spiritually.”
Yes, Marc Broussard does seem to have his act together and his priorities straight, blending a successful career filled with well-honed songs that are a unique blend of rock, pop, R & B and blues all bathed in his Louisiana sound, with a close-knit family life. Broussard brings his special brand of rock to The Birchmere June 3rd.
Broussard is deeply proud of his Louisiana roots, so much so that the vibe of The Bayou State has been a part of his music from the beginning all the way up to and including his latest album, “A Life Worth Living,” released last year. It’s an album full of songs about family, home and all that he has learned to treasure since his breakthrough a dozen years ago.
“No doubt about it, absolutely, home has always been there,” said Broussard. “In fact, the writing process for this last record that we just put out was filled with songs that were inspired from where I’m from. We actually wrote so many of those songs that I ended up recording a separate project called ‘Louisiana EP’ that I hope will come out later this year.”
In addition to his own half dozen records, Broussard’s solid reputation and respected chops have helped him become a part of a number of unique projects over the years, including contributing songs to tribute records of artists like Randy Newman, Bruce Springsteen and Fats Domino, as well as guest slots on albums by Leann Rimes, Trombone Shorty, Josh Hoge and G Love. But one of his most recent touring projects is the Southern Soul Assembly, a sit-around-and-sing dynamic with his friends and respected roots rockers Luther Dickinson, JJ Grey and Anders Osborne. During their tour, the four songwriters sit in a semi-circle on stage, each with an acoustic guitar, alternately playing their own songs. Broussard feels the SSA ranks up there among his favorite musical journeys ever, in that he was able to be both a participant and a fan, a rare treat for him.
“We all had such a good time that we agreed we should keep doing it,” said Broussard. “And so SSA should hit the studio later this year. I would say that when I’m on tour with other bands it’s typically an opener or closer situation, and I don’t often get to watch the shows every night of those that are on the bill with me. But with SSA I was able to sit onstage and watch some of my real favorites do what they do, and it was just a real joy for me to be a fan in such a unique way.”
Broussard has always been a generous guy, including entertaining troops in the Middle East and founding the Momentary Setback Fund to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, a project near and dear to his Louisiana roots. But even though they’ve taken a bit of a back seat in recent years, his charity efforts will take on a renewed priority soon, especially one he’s proud of and has high hopes for.
“For years now, the philanthropic efforts have kind died down in favor of some of the more aggressive approaches that we’ve taken towards putting out music and getting new record deals and what not, and that was something that I never wanted to see happen,” said Broussard. “So I’ve kind of gone into philanthropy with a new vigor and just launched a non-profit foundation myself called the SOS Foundation, the Save Our Soul Foundation. The goal is not only to use the SOS Foundation as an apparatus for me to raise money for charitable causes that I’m passionate about, but to actually have a platform that can we can help other artists as well, to raise money for causes that they’re passionate about. It’s a great opportunity, I couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds.”
Regarding those reaffirmed efforts, Broussard knows that as well as garnering fans of his music along the way, he’s also garnering people who will help out those in need when he asks them to.
“I recognize that as an artist with a fan base, I’m in this really unique position to help people. My fans, every time I ask them, they pay for tickets to shows, they pay for records, they buy my music without hesitation, and hopefully whenever I let them know I’ve made a new project and that all the proceeds are going to charitable causes, they’ll jump at the opportunity to help out.”
For Marc Broussard, by experiencing life, you learn what’s most important. And where he finds himself right now, in an industry that can reduce good men to rubble, is a place he feels very blessed to be in.
“I’ve never had a better time in this business, man. It’s been a great, solid couple years. And it doesn’t seem like it has an end.”
Marc Broussard performs Wednesday June 3rd at the Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA. For tickets click here.
Steve Houk writes about local and national music luminaries for the Zebra and other local press, and his own blog at midliferocker.com. He is also lead singer for the successful Northern Virginia classic rock cover band Second Wind plus several other local rock ensembles.