Singer Noel Gourdin Gets New Start with New Label & New Album
Second Chances are a part of life, but are not always guaranteed. If by chance you are fortunate to receive one, be sure to take full advantage, in the likeness of Noel Gourdin. The Brockton, Massachusetts born R & B soul crooner is taking full advantage of a second go around at musical success. His debut album After My Time was released in 2008 by Epic/Sony, which later disbanded. At that point in time, Noel Gourdin learned the true meaning of resolve, and moral support. Admittedly hit hard by the dismantling of the Epic/ Sony partnership, Noel leaned on loved ones and his faith. As Fate would have it, Gourdin’s spirit and eagerness was revitalized, as well as his relationship with the pen. Pouring his soul into music, and enlisting the help of an entirely new regime (MassAppeal Entertainment) has paid wondrous dividends. A fresh perspective, a new embrace by his team and his friends has been the push that Noel needed. His new single “Beautiful” might just be the product that we as an audience needs.
Gourdin’s sophomore effort, Fresh Definition is exactly what Noel had hoped for since entering the industry. His approach is honest, genuine, and respectful. Music for the soul, timeless. If you ask him, there is not much representation in the manner now a days, so Noel plans to keep the genre alive. I got a chance to kick it with Noel at the Lenny Green “Kissing After Dark” show event this past week, to talk about his second chance and how he plans to make the most of it.
Parlé Mag: You released After My Time with much success, what have you been up to since then?
Noel Gourdin: After the release of After My Time, Epic and Sony part ways. As a result of that, I was depresed, disappointed. I ended up gaining weight, and losing my motivation. I kept asking the question “Why me?” I was overwhelmed with a feeling of regret. I am really close to my family, so at times when I didnt wanna go nowhere, they kept me afloat and inspired me. They pushed me to write again. My best friends were also my backbone. Now I feel rejuvenated. I got a new deal with Mass Appeal in conjunction with E1 Music, an entire new regime. A group of folks who embrace and share my perspective/passion. Top notch promotion from Marvin Mack. Everything about the new project is a testament to being in a better place and having a great team. The public is looking for something new, that is evident by the response to the new single ‘Beautiful.”
Parlé Mag: You describe yourself as ‘City to the heart and Southern to the soul,’ can you elaborate on that?
Noel Gourdin: I was born and raised in Brockton which is only about 20 mins south of Boston, home of legends like Marvin Hagler, and Rocky Marciano, so I was groomed with the city pride. I also have family in the Deep South–Mississippi to be exact. I spent a lot of time there all the way up until about high school. I have fond memories of sitting on the porch and drinking that Southern Iced Tea, listening to stories from family about their way of life and experiences. I mixed the two, incorporating both to develop my soulful style.
Parlé: How was the transition from church based music and performances to more of an R & B feel, did it come naturally?
Noel Gourdin: It was natural. My grandmother was the religious, church going influence. I remember her putting me on stage with the choir and I always admired the passion that was evident in the lyrics that they sung. Also, the spirit that they performed with stuck with me. Touched me rather and always had me enthralled, intrigued. In regards to the transition to R & B, I carried with me the elements of respect and faith that are a part of Gospel music. Everything I do as a person and musically is respectful. Integrity is a priority of mine, and I do my best to exemplify that artistically. I do not perform degrading lyrics, etc.
Parlé: Your music intertwines classic soul and a more contemporary sound of R & B/ Hip-Hop; which of the two is your true passion?
Noel Gourdin: My passion is for R & B Soul. I am an advocate for keeping this genre of music alive. I want to make timeless music, that can be listened to years from now, such as the way people still listen to music from the 60’s. I am all about people feeling the passion in my music; I’m not here to make ringtones, I strive to make music that people can feel, music that my family can be proud of. That’s what my objective is as far as a legacy is concerned. To preach respect and quality living.
Parlé: Who are some of your musical influences?
Noel Gourdin: Ah man there are so many, I do not know where to begin. I would have to say Barry White, Donnie Hathaway, Al Green, and Prince. Prince has been a big influence. On the Blues side, I would say artists like The Journeys and Michael McDonald. You gotta add in Soul Music- music that you can feel the passion that the artist put into it- -The Dells, The Manhattans; One of my all time favorites is Joe also and R. Kelly is big for me.
Parlé: What do you think about where Music is today? More specifically R & B music?
Noel Gourdin: I feel like there aren’t too many soulful elements today, and that’s why I promote keeping Soul alive. Its tough today, with the award shows cutting categories and such. Also mainstream seems to be forgetting about R & B Soul. It takes more than one fan or one artist to save it. We have to band together; I ask people to bare in mind the question “40 years from now what will our children be listening to?” We have to create that timeless music to leave behind.
Parlé: What is your favorite song on the new project?
Noel Gourdin: I would have to say “Brand New” because the song is near and dear to me. its about ME! I feel like everyday that you wake up, you have a second chance, A Brand New Start. Its never over until the lord calls, with that there’s always a chance to get better. People get down when it rains, or things aren’t going so well. I look at it as rain is an opportunity to wash away all mistakes, indiscretions, etc. That’s the approach I took with the song, speaking on my 2nd chance, and gratitude for it.
Parlé: Who are some of the producers/writers you worked wit on the new album?
Noel Gourdin: Production on this project was very much in-house and family-oriented from the beats to the lyrics. Of course you got some heavyweights such as Steven Neff and Alvin Garrett, as well as Rio. I also worked with some home-town people such as Tag Team. On the writing side again you have Alvin Garrett, Kevin Roth, Ruben Studdard, and myself. Also wanna give a shout out to Courtinee Harrell and Ryan Toby for their contribution. Again the project is very teamwork-oriented, and stress-fee (chuckle) Throughout the entire process, there was a great vibe and continuity. Every track has a concept. I feel like the album has a very organic feel to it, with the live strings, horn sessions and base drums. My thing is trying to keep the soulful element of R & B alive. It’s a big part of my life.
Parlé: Any final thoughts?
Noel Gourdin: I want to remind people, Tuesday April 12th the album is dropping. Mass Appeal/E1. Please come out and support. You can get it also on my website www.NoelGourdin.com; hit me up on facebook at Noel Gourdin; follow me on twitter and I will follow back. I make a purpose of remaining in touch with my fans and being personable. Thank you for everyone’s support thus far, and good feedback on the single. I also wanna thank Parlé for the support.
Images by Donald Lee for Parlé Magazine