Q&A with Baton Rouge-based, Grammy-nominated artist Nelson Blanchard, releases new catchy and heartfelt music

"I think of music as being a reflection of all factions of culture.  Once in a while, music transcends all that, as in the case of WE ARE THE WORLD, etc! It has been proven that music can be a tremendous force for good."

Nelson Blanchard: Music From The Heart

Nelson Blanchard was born on January 13, 1953. At the tender age of 10, he was already a performer in clubs with The Richard Brothers, a popular local group from the Pierre Part, LA area (Nelson's birthplace). He studied music throughout elementary and high school, playing in special state and district bands (including the Governor's Honor Band). He studied music education at LSU and Nicholls State University. Nelson has performed with various groups throughout his 35-year career, as well as with soloists including the likes of Percy Sledge, Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas, Kenny Neal, and Tareva Henderson. Nelson is a former member of the very successful group called LeRoux. Over the years, LeRoux enjoyed performing with many of classic rocks' greatest bands including The Allman Brothers, Wet Willie, Journey, Kansas, Heart, The Doobie Brothers, Charlie Daniels, Foreigner, Marshall Tucker, The Outlaws, ZZ Top and many, many more. In 1981 LeRoux topped the charts with the song "Addicted" which reached the # 3 position on Mainstream Rock.               (Nelson Blanchard / Photo by Daniel "Boone" Sanda)

Baton Rouge-based, Grammy-nominated artist released new music, recently his new album called “Nelson Blanchard” (2023). The 11 tracks are catchy and heartfelt. “I’ve always had the desire to do the CD, I’ve just never really had time for myself. I’ve produced, I would say, well over 150 CDs for other people through the years. Since the mid-80’s I’ve been in the recording business,” Blanchard said.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the music influenced your views of the world? What moment changed your music life the most?

The world is a screwed up place right now, but music ascends all boundaries and is the one way I know I can communicate and be heard. I keep politics out of my music. The moment that changed my music life the most, like many musicians, was when I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show.

How do you describe your sound and songbook? What characterize your music philosophy?

Actually my sound comes from many influences, not the least of which is R&B. My music is a kind of roux, or mixture of rock, country, blues and R&B. My music philosophy is MAKE IT FROM THE HEART, my heart!

What´s been the highlights in your life and career so far? Are there any memories which you’d like to share with us?

I would say getting nominated for a Grammy in 2007 and being inducted in the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2009 with my group Louisiana’s LeRoux. Also, enjoying being in the top five on Billboard’s blues chart three times and holding the #1 position on iTunes for a week in 2020. One of my fondest memories goes way back to 1969 when my band won a battle of the bands in Morgan City, LA and as a result, opened for The American Breed (“Bend Me, Shape Me”). 

What's the balance in music between technique skills and soul/emotions? How do you understand the spirit, music, and the meaning of life?

I think your skills as a musician are best used to express your real feelings and not to showboat, unless there’s an intentional spot for that! I believe that our talent is God-given, therefore, I think what we should use that talent judiciously. As for the meaning of life, I rely on the Bible for that!

"Actually my sound comes from many influences, not the least of which is R&B. My music is a kind of roux, or mixture of rock, country, blues and R&B. My music philosophy is MAKE IT FROM THE HEART, my heart!"

(Photo: Nelson Blanchard)

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I miss solos and people who could play them well! My hope is that the world will be a much better place where music will be upbuilding again. My fear is having to wait too long for it to happen.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want the music to affect people?

I think of music as being a reflection of all factions of culture. Once in a while, music transcends all that, as in the case of WE ARE THE WORLD, etc! It has been proven that music can be a tremendous force for good. 

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

One thing I have learned is this: despite any hardships, financial or otherwise, people always need their music! And that’s understandable.

Do you think there is an audience for Roots music in its current state? or at least a potential for young people to become future audiences and fans?

…yes and yes! But app developers will have plenty to do with its success.

Nelson Blanchard - Home

(Photo: Nelson Blanchard)

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