Since his emergence onto the jazz scene in the mid-1990s, Parisian-born guitarist Marc Antoine has left his mark with his classical soul vibe. He is revered for both his impressive expertise on the guitar, and the European influence infused throughout his music. He has become a fixture in the smooth jazz community throughout the years and continues onward to success.
Antoine has collaborated with many famed artists including George Benson, Celine Dion, Take 6, and the late Selena. He has also composed for many film soundtracks including, Get Shorty and Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil.
Hi-Lo Split (Peak Records, 2007), is an energizing release from Antoine Showcasing percussive Latin and Brazilian harmonies, R&B, and acoustic melodies, it's sure to appeal to a broad audience.
AAJ contributor Katrina-Kasey Wheeler spoke with Antoine about Hi-Lo Split and his future plans.
All About Jazz: What was your inspiration for Hi-Lo Split?
Marc Antoine: Just fun! I listen to the music I recorded at the start of my career and tried to get into that fun mood of making music.
AAJ: "For a Smile, is based on your son. Do you find that it is the simpler things in life like love and family, or your surroundings that act as the greatest sources of inspiration?
MA: Well, I had a mental block at the beginning and then my wife Rebecca told me to go to my room and think of my son's smile. It was the first song I wrote. So, yes, love and family is important to my creativity.
AAJ: Can you please give a short description of the main idea/inspiration behind each song on the album? For example, "VooDoo Doll is quite an attention-grabbing title. Not only are the songs wonderful but the titles also spark one's imagination and adds to the listening experience.
MA: I think it's different for everybody. A title could be a place, a person or a situationit doesn't matter. What matters is what the listener feels. When I write, it's more about feeling than anything else. I grab my guitar to play and that's it. The people who are into Tao would understand. For me, it is more difficult to find a title than to write the music.
AAJ: Do you find that recording at your studio at home allows the ideas and creativity to flow easily?
MA: Yes, one-hundred percent! It is nice to go down there in the morningstill in your pajamas, drinking coffee and listen to what you did the day before.
AAJ: While listening to Hi-Lo Split it sounds as though each song came together effortlessly in that each song is such an amazing addition to the album. Did this album come together straightforwardly? Did you know from the onset what type of songs that you wanted to include on this project?
MA: I didn't plan anything on this record and most of it came from a jam, "Hi-Lo-Split is a result of that.
AAJ: Do you have a favorite track among this group of songs on this project?
MA: Not really and for me when I am done with a record I can't listen to it anymore, it's done, you can't change it , you just have to move onto the next thing.
AAJ: Hi-Lo Split is your Peak Records debut. You are attracted to many types of music as evidenced by your albums. You have become a mainstay in the genre. Is it important to you as an artist to continue to create music that appeals to your fans, but change it up from time-to-time to keep it fresh?
MA: It's a tough one. In my case I would have to be four or five artists. But, I am the only one. I don't think all my fans would like the stuff I'd like to record sometimes. In Hi-Lo Split I kept them in mind. But sometimes you have to make music for yourself also. A good remedy is to jam as much I you can and with many different type of artist and music.
AAJ: In the music industry today, there is a battle between the music that the artist wants to make and the image that record companies want to market; which often times are mutually exclusive. Have you encountered this?
MA: Well, we do sometimes have that problem. But nobody can ask you to be something other than yourself. And when the problem becomes too big, then it's time to go.
AAJ: Do you feel that at some point in an artists' career it is necessary for him to compromise his artistic vision in order to reach a broader audience, or will the music speak for itself and ultimately find its niche?
MA: Life is about compromise, it's up to each one of us to see how far we are prepared to go.
AAJ: Are there any artists with whom you would like to work with and have not yet had the opportunity to do so?
MA: Too many to list, but, I would like one day, to do a project where everybody would be from a very different musical horizon.
AAJ: You have worked on many film soundtracks. Is this something that you have always been interested in doing? Is this something that you would like to continue to do in the future?
MA: Well, the future is not only about audio, it is becoming audio/visual. So, yes I would like to work more with the visual side of it and maybe on day make a film out of my music. Why not!
AAJ:Will you be touring extensively to promote this album? This fall you will be participating in the third annual Dave Koz & Friends At Sea Cruise. What is it like to perform at this type of an event?
MA: I have a few things coming up. Some concerts with Slim Man and Bona Fide. I will also be at the huge event that the Wave radio station puts together, The Wave Fest. I am planning to perform with a package with Paul Brown and Kenny Rankin. Of course, I will be on the Dave Koz cruise in November. The fans can take a look at my website for my tour schedule. My wife and I, we didn't know what to expect when we first went on that cruise and we had a lot of fun. I can say now that I love them, give me more... It's a big package with a lot of artists having fun with the crowd, and it's a big size theater; amazing. I commend the promoter on a job well done.
AAJ: Is there anything that you would like to say to your fans?
MA: Thank you for being my Fans for such a long time (15 years already) and I hope you'll enjoy listening to the new record as much as I enjoyed making it. Love you guys.
Marc Antoine, Hi-Lo Split (Peak Records, 2007)
Marc Antoine, Modern Times (Rendezvous, 2005)
Marc Antoine, Mediterraneo (Rendezvous, 2003)
Marc Antoine, The Very Best of Marc Antoine (GRP Records, 2003)
Marc Antoine, Cruisin' (GRP Records, 2001)
Marc Antoine, Universal Language (GRP Records, 2000)
Marc Antoine, Madrid (GRP Records, 1998)
Marc Antoine, Urban Gypsy (GRP Records, 1995)
Marc Antoine, Classical Soul (GRP Records, 1994)
Courtesy of Marc Antoine