A fourth-generation musician, Sean Ardoin traces his lineage to Amédé Ardoin, an accordion genius and ’20s and ’30s recording artist who many believe laid the foundation for zydeco and Cajun music. But Sean pursues a progressive style, which has earned him recent appearances on Queen Sugar on the Oprah Winfrey Network and NCIS: New Orleans on CBS. Ardoin prefers to call his music “Kreole Rock and Soul,” which is also the name of his new CD. Here’s why.
Explain “Kreole Rock and Soul.”
KRS is so that I can be seen as an artist in my own right, outside the confines of genre. The industry has a particular view of zydeco and it’s not what we do here currently. KRS enables me to freely expose the world to my music strictly on its merits and then direct their attention back to southwest Louisiana.
Why do you spell “Kreole” with a K?
Lots of Creole cultures around the world use a K in their spelling. I chose this because I am currently spearheading an effort to increase pride, language proliferation, and awareness in our southwest Louisiana Kreole heritage. I want to take my music to the world. The K is homage to those efforts.
You used heavyweight producers on this project, like Aaron Lindsey, a six-time Grammy winner, and Carl Nappa, who worked on ’N Sync’s album No Strings Attached, which sold more than 13 million copies. How was it to work with them?
I really invested heavily in the project. I gave up control in certain areas. I let people do what they do. Of course, I was involved, but it was collaboration. You can’t be great on your own. I’ve always known that. I was just in a position this time to be able to reach out and it worked out perfect.
Your CD has versions of “Abracadabra” by the Steve Miller Band and “Just What I Needed” from the Cars, among other covers. Why did you cover those?
I’ve loved “Just What I Needed” and “Abracadabra” for years. These are popular covers. I usually find covers that nobody’s heard of and try to make them zydeco standards. But on this CD, it needs to have been a number one.
When you’re not playing music, you’re a motivational speaker to teens and younger. You talk a lot about relationships. What do you tell them?
Life happens at the speed of relationships. Your relationships will determine the speed and direction of your life.
I tell that to kids because the people they hang out with are going to alter or get them going in the right direction. This applies to everybody. These relationships are why I’m able to do the things I’m doing—that and being good to people.
Click here to see the OffBeat.com premiere of Sean Ardoin’s “Kick Rocks” music video.