If you’ve been fortunate enough to attend one of Marc Broussard’s sold-out shows recently, there are two things you’re guaranteed to witness: his soulful-raspy vocals will blow the roof off the venue, and he’s got one helluva full-beard. After the show, he can often be found hanging out with fans and shaking hands. If you get the chance to chat, you’ll instantly notice a side to the man behind the beard not everyone gets to see—he’s as down-home and humble as they come.
An extraordinary musician and songwriter, Broussard blends his southern roots with rock, classic soul, and R&B for a contemporary feel. He’s currently signed with Vanguard Records and has released five studio albums, one EP—charting twice on Billboards Adult Top 40 Tracks. He produced a duet with LeAnne Rimes and toured with some of the best in the industry: Maroon 5, Dave Matthews Band, and Bonnie Raitt to name a few. He’s also performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Larry King Live. At the age of 32, with a ton of outstanding career highlights, you’d think it would be nearly impossible to schedule time with Broussard, but on the contrary—he gives me his direct home number to call.
Born and raised on the bayou from the small town of Carencro Louisiana, (Population 8,082), Broussard lives on the same street he grew up on. After dialing I’m greeted by a little boy’s voice, “It’s for dad,” he announces in the background. Shortly after, Broussard’s southern-hewn tone is on the line and he apologetically admits, “Hey brother! I’m sorry, but I’m actually just about to jump in the bath, can you call back in about 10 minutes?” Excited to learn Broussard takes time to enjoy the simpler things in life, I was happy to oblige.
As a father of four, Broussard says that his wife and family are often the inspiration for writing his latest songs. He also mentions he comes from a strong musical upbringing—everyone in his family sings. His father Ted Broussard is an acclaimed Louisiana Hall of Fame guitarist, and also a sideman for several bands in the area. He credits his dad for not only kick-starting his music career but also landing his first gig. “One day we were watching Back to the Future at home, and my father saw how much I enjoyed reenacting the scene where Michael J Fox sings Johnny B. Goode,” he recalls. “That following weekend he put me on stage to perform the song. I was only five years old… and the rest is history.”
His family’s musical influence also played a huge part in developing his tastes. Broussard explains, “Because I was exposed to music at such an early age; I was privy to learning these old fantastic soul songs really early. That’s what I lived on; that’s what I grew up on.” Broussard’s own style of music has even been described as its own genre—Bayou Soul. However, he doesn’t take his personalized music category in vain. He humbly remarks, “Louisiana has whole genres that are almost completely exclusive to this place. So most folks here aren’t surprised or mystified by the prospect. I’m just another local musician to them.”
Although Broussard isn’t one to sing his own praises, his philanthropic efforts speak volumes. In his last album, LIVE from Full Sail University he performed at Full Sail University, and collaborated with them in producing an album and video of the show. Net proceeds from the DVD and audio CD went towards a scholarship at the university he presented to the winner last October. He states, “We are close to giving out another, and I can only hope that I can find new ways to work with this school. The people there are truly amazing.” He’s also donated proceeds from the sale of his Bootleg to Benefit the Victims of Hurricane Katrina, performed a month-long tour for U.S. military troops, and serves as spokesperson for Louisiana’s United Way foundation.
With the amount of energy dedicated to his passions, it’s hard to imagine Broussard has time to relax and take it all in, however he still enjoys life on the bayou and shares, “the best part of my job is getting plenty of quality time when I’m not traveling doing shows. The support system my wife and I have here could not be replicated elsewhere. If I’m not at a gig, I’m here twenty-four hours a day. I like working around the house on home upgrade projects—my father is also a woodworker and I really enjoy working with him. Fishing occasionally in the swamp is a very welcome retreat, but overall I’m just a homebody.”
Broussard admits while enjoying downtime at home, his style follows suit. “Typically I’m a overalls and boots type of guy, but on stage, you’ll catch me dressing up a little better.” However on or off stage, Broussard rocks a full beard that has brought more edge to his look than seen on previous album covers. The label initially had some concerns but they forgot about it,” he says. Broussard also reveals his wife initially suggested to grow it out, and is also its biggest proponent. “The overall response from fans has been a mixed bag. Some folks on social media aren’t always nice. My wife has been asked to hold back from responding to negative comments on Twitter. She wants to respond with “his wife loves it,” he laughs. “I even get guys stopping me in the grocery store to comment on it; it’s intriguing I think for people to see such a long full-beard. I know for some it could be viewed trendy or a fleeting thing, but I’ll probably have it the rest of my life.”
As Broussard continues to embark on his bearded journey, he’s recently become the secretary of state for the Louisiana Beard and Facial Hair Association. “The group was started by a friend of mine as a way to raise money for charity through beard contests. He asked me to be involved and I said, of course!”
The future continues to look bright for Broussard, as a new highly anticipated album drops in July. He describes it as stand-alone from the others, showcasing a different side of his personality. “It’s more about the darker side of love, and life.” Witnessing firsthand the energy of a live Broussard show in my own town, we’re sure only bigger and bearded things are in store for this talented, good ol’ boy from the bayou, and can’t wait to hear the new album!