“As a kid, it was very inspirational to be part of [my dad’s group Nathan &] the Zydeco Cha Chas. I was basically a sponge absorbing everything I saw. I realized at an early age I wanted to be part of that and continue on my own when I became an adult.
I started on rubboard at three years old with my dad onstage and it was a good time for us to bond as father and son. My first accordion was given to me at age seven, a toy piano accordion, and I started playing with that. There was always an instrument in front of me. It was never forced upon you like you have to play zydeco but I always had instruments around because my dad had instruments.
High school, college, being involved in classical and jazz music allowed my musical catalogue to be open to other genres. I can incorporate so much into the music I’m playing, which makes me different from other artists because I have a gospel, jazz and classical background and I fused it.
My whole goal for performing was to make my family proud. I wanted to continue Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas’ legacy. I wanted all the ancestors and living legends of zydeco to be proud of what I’m doing because I’m really trying to do this at a high level and get this music to the next level. I just want zydeco to expand to a wider audience.
Well, it’s happening by myself and other artists collaborating with artists of different genres. That’s the only way that we can compete on that level is to basically mimic what’s going on in other genres so these record labels on a national level will recognize our music as being something of importance.
I’ve collaborated with [rappers] Yung Bleu, Kevin Gates and Juvenile. The urban population is my targeted audience because it’s my age group and that’s why I’ve collaborated with a lot of rap artists.
I’m also working on a country song. That will be my second country song—a collaboration with a mega-star.
My first country song, ‘True Cowboy,’ was released in 2017 on my Unpause CD. It’s pretty popular on the Texas rodeo circuit.
My dad has always expressed that he is proud of me. At first he didn’t grasp the concept because a lot of people are so used to what they’ve done but my dad understands me because he was innovative in his career. I’ve always felt my dad was ahead of his time with his music. We are kind of on the same level, just different eras. But we gravitate to same things as well. We learn from each other, man, you know?”
Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival
Sunday, June 24, 11 a.m.