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How and when did your first break in the music industry come about?

I auditioned and got the Shane Minor gig in July of 1999.  What was so cool about that was before I knew it; we were on tour opening for Shania Twain.  So, I jumped from playing R&B and Funk in a Nashville club to playing in front of 20 to 25,000 people in a few months.

What goals have you accomplished and what do you still want to accomplish with your music career?

My first goal when I moved to Nashville 10 years ago was to get a touring gig and make a living doing it.  It may have taken a little longer than I expected, but I have accomplished that.  I then wanted to gain experience and establish myself as a solid and versatile drummer in the touring community. 

Although I have toured with many acts as an opener, I would love to play large venues with a headlining act - that's when you know who the people are there to see!  I would also like to do more studio work and eventually do that exclusively.

What is your motivation behind your accomplishments and what continues to motivate you?

First and foremost my motivation is my love of music and playing drums.  I love playing for people and allowing them to escape for an hour or two when they attend a show - that is such a powerful God-given gift.  After college, I had a "real job" but all I could think about at work was playing music.  I realized that I wasn't fulfilled.  I quit that job a year and a half later and I haven't looked back!  All that I wanted since I was a teenager was to play drums on tour and in the studio.  I am very blessed that I have a job that I love and I'm not trapped in a cubicle!

I am still motivated by those same things along with always trying to improve as a musician and get to the next level.  Providing a quality life for my family also keeps me going.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life (music related or not)?

God is my greatest influence.  He has blessed me throughout my life and continues to everyday.  My wife, Maria, is also a major influence.  She helps keep my head on straight and keeps me grounded.  My children, Camryn and Carter, are also influences in my life.  Everything that I do is for my family and reflects on them.  They help me realize what is important in life.  The greatest thing that I can be is a loving and caring father and husband. 

Musically, my greatest influence was a bass player named "T-Bone."  He was playing with Shane Minor when I got that gig.  I was as green as grass and he showed me the ropes of the road.  It was tough at times, but he made me the player that I am today.  He passed away suddenly a few years ago and I still carry his lessons with me everyday.  He taught me to bring 110% to the stage and I "bring it" for him every show.

If you could collaborate with anyone musically (whether on the road, in the studio, etc) who would it be and why?

I have been very spoiled to work with some very talented artists and musicians in my career, mostly in the Country genre.  Lately, I have been into the Foo Fighters and it would be really cool to do something with them.  Their music is very drum oriented and has a lot of energy.  Maroon 5 is another group that I would like to do something with - I love their R&B/Funk feel.  Marc Broussard is another.  He grew up a few miles from my home and I was able to check out one of his shows last year and it was awesome!  He sings his butt off and his voice is so soulful and mature.  The end all be all for me would be to work with Sting...enough said!

What advice would you give to those who plan to get into the music business?

Regardless of what phase of the business you want to enter, I think that you need to follow your heart and always stay motivated.  It may seem tough at times, but keep your eye on the prize.  Nothing that you really, really want comes easily.  If you never try, you are guaranteed to fail.  If you give it your all and reach your goal - you know that it was worth it.  If you don't reach it, at least you can go to sleep at night knowing that you did everything possible.


When did you start playing the drums?

I was 10 years old when I started playing.

Do you have a certain brand of drums that you prefer to play and would recommend to other drummers?

I have been a Pearl endorser since 1999 and would not recommend any other brand.  They are the most consistent, durable and best sounding drums that I have ever played.  I also endorse ProMark drumsticks, Zildjian cymbals and Aquarian drumheads.

Do you play any other instruments besides drums?  (If so, what?)

I would love to play guitar.


What is your all time favorite song to play on the drums?

"Some Like It Hot" by The Power Station.


What is your favorite Blake Shelton song to perform live?

I have two, both on opposite ends of the spectrum.  I love playing Blake's first single, "Austin."  It has so much emotion and space.  The other is, "Ol' Red."  That song has so much energy in our live show.  It is like a freight train!

Blake's current single, "Don't Make Me," has been one of the most challenging to master.  Surprisingly, there is a lot going on in that song with the drum loop in the beginning and then the sheer energy in the choruses.

Do you have a favorite memory of being on the road with Blake and the other guys so far?

Blake is quite the pot stirrer on the road.  Everyday is something new and usually hilarious.  YouTube has become Blake's best friend, capturing some of our funniest moments on the road.  One of the things that sticks out is when Blake came out to play basketball on the Toby Keith tour with a pair of pink shorts.  Toby would not take the court until Blake put something else on.  So, Blake opted for Wranglers!

What do you like about touring?  What do you dislike?

I like the change of scenery.  We live in a beautiful country and you don't realize how big it is until you see it from the inside of a bus.  I really love days off between shows because we can check out different cities and if there is a sporting event there, I'm in!  I also love bringing music to the people and giving them a different Blake Shelton experience. They have heard the songs, but they get to see them performed live and take on a different feel.

I also like catching up with friends that I have met over the years through touring.  It's always great to see familiar faces on the road.

Being away from my family and missing my kids growing up is what I dislike about touring.  Sometimes being around the same people on a bus gets old.  You learn way too much about your co-workers!!

What do you like to do on the road in your free time?

I love to work out on the road.  It helps me to get away and clear my head.  I always feel so much better after.  I enjoy hanging out on days off with a few guys and attending sporting events or hitting the local bar.  I have also started reading more, specifically, researching my Cajun heritage.

While you're on the road so much, how do you balance your career with your family and friends?

Luckily, on average, we are gone 3 to 4 days a week, so I'm home every week.  But, once or twice a year, we will have a 3 to 4 week run.  Those are rough.  Kids change so much in that time and my wife has to do everything.  Thank God for cell phones, email and digital cameras!!  I will talk to my family 3 to 4 times a day and that keeps me connected.  I also try to send cards, postcards and flowers to my wife.

Because of my demanding schedule, my time at home is premium.  It is hard to balance family and friends at home, because I don't need to be hanging out with friends when I could be spending quality time with my family.  What happens with your friends is you trade quantity for quality.  They understand what my family means to me and don't give me grief when I can't get away.


What other artists have you played with in the past?

As I stated earlier, I have had the pleasure of working with some very talented artists in my career.  In 1996, I toured briefly with Amie Comeaux, a Louisiana artist who was signed to Mercury records.  I also toured briefly with Mila Mason in 1998.  The Shane Minor gig in 1999 got things started and that led to gigs with Rebecca Lynn Howard, Doug Stone, Craig Morgan and Cyndi Thomson.  In late 2001, I joined Jamie O'Neal and then on to Blake Shelton in 2003.

Do you have any fond memories of being on the road with the artist(s) listed in the previous question?

When I was touring with Cyndi Thomson, we played a gig at the World Trade Center Plaza a month before the terrorist attacks.  With Jamie O'Neal, we had field passes for an NFL playoff game between the St. Louis Rams and Green Bay Packers.  Another fond memory for me was getting to play "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" twice in three months with Cyndi and Jamie.


Do you do any work in the studio? (If so, what is a typical day in the studio like for you?)

I have done some demo work and those are typically low-key.  I usually show up an hour and a half before the session starts to get my drums set up, tuned and mic'd up.  Then, the producer or engineer gets the drum sounds.  This needs to be done before the rest of the band shows up, so that I don't hold up the session - time is money!  Once all that is done, it is time to start thinking about the song.   The songwriter is in there and gives you an idea on what they want on the track.  Then the band talks things out arrangement-wise with chord charts and makes any changes.  Then it is time to lay the track down.  Ideally, I want to be done in 1 or 2 takes, so that I can get out of there!  After that, overdubs and solos are taken care of and then the vocals are n ext.  Now, the song is mixed and ready to be pitched to an artist.

On a master session, it is basically the same, except with more pressure.  The track will hopefully go on an album and then to radio, so everything must be perfect.  We had the chance to record a track for Blake's album and it was pretty intense.  The track did not make the album, but will be included on a movie soundtrack.

Also, you can find Blake and the band's version of the Bellamy Brothers' classic, "Redneck Girl" on the "Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning" EP and on iTunes.

Have you worked on any new projects lately that you'd like to tell us about?

I am currently working with Blake's bass player and bandleader, the incomparable Rob Byus and producer Kyle Miller on a Rock project.  We are having a blast and it is really fun to play a different style.  We have six songs done and four to go.  They will soon be available on iTunes.  You can check out me and Rob's music at his myspace -

After that is done, Rob and I will work on a Funk album.

Finally, is there anything you would like to say to all the country music fans and all our readers?

I would like to thank all of the country music fans for helping me live a dream that I have had since I was a teenager.  I am able to travel and play music and raise a family - the best of both worlds!  I hope to see you out on the road this year!
Added: April 30, 2007
Musician Spotlight: TRACY BROUSSARD - Drummer with Blake Shelton
Interview by Janelle Landauer