OffBeat Magazine is celebrating 30 years and reached that milestone with our November 2017 issue. To mark the anniversary, over the next 12 months OffBeat will re-publish excerpts from features and interviews from the past 30 years. In our fifth installment, from our July 1999 issue, Todd Mouton interviews singer songwriter Zachary Richard whose latest CD is our lead off review in this issue.
“I’m all over the map. I’ve been all over the map. I was a recording artist in Quebec, which is where I knew my first success, and they didn’t know Cajun from a hole in the ground. So it was never this thing of, ‘Okay, Zachary Richard is a Cajun artist.’ And so my flirtations with a variety of styles were just the artistic expression of a songwriter who was gonna try this or try that.
Once you are accepted by the public as a singer songwriter in your own right, then the fact that I would do a reggae-influenced song didn’t make me a reggae singer. The fact that I would do a Cajun song didn’t make me a Cajun singer. I was just a singer songwriter who was flirting with these different styles. That’s never been the case for me in the United States. I was never able to go beyond the restrictions of that perception of myself as a Cajun, zydeco, Louisiana thing. I’m not disappointed, but Cap Enragé in a Cajun bin doesn’t do justice … it’s not what it is.
I always thought I belonged in the rock bins between Bonnie Raitt and REO Speedwagon in the Rs, you know. And I always wound up in the Cajun bin instead, and that’s not where I felt my logical place is. There’s a whole other place that I would like to be able to go, where I’ve been prevented from [by] purely commercial marketing reasons, but I have to admit that I was the doctor that made the Frankenstein.”