Life is all about balance and how you manage to deal with the roadblocks set before you. Singer Noel Gourdin knows all too well about both of those things. Since breaking into the music scene with his 2008 hit “The River,” Gourdin has fought to get more attention for his brand of contemporary soul while still maintaining the integrity of the genre of music he grew up loving.
After releasing the well-received “Fresh: The Definition,” Noel is on his third effort titled “City Heart, Southern Soul.” Noel Gourdin continues waving his soul music flag high on his junior effort. Although all of his songs are rooted in personal experience, Gourdin’s latest album, which hit music outlets February 18th, seems his most personal. It paints a portrait of a young man maturing into the grown person he always wanted to be.Evidence of that growth can be found in songs like “Heaven Knows” where he expresses his commitment to his woman despite hitting a rough patch in their relationship. You realize the Massachusetts native is growing because instead of running for the door, he suggests ways for he and his woman to overcome the obstacle by going to church and talking to a counselor.
While this may seem like a leap for the soul singer, it hardly is. The Urban Daily caught up with Gourdin as he prepared for the album’s release. He opened up about the authenticity of today’s R&B music, why he likes being and working with people considered to be the underdog, and how he’s grown with each album he’s made.
TUD: What made you name your project “City Heart, Southern Soul”?
NG: City to the heart and southern to the soul has pretty much been my motto. Me being born in Brockton, Mass, which is 20 miles south of Boston, and growing up there has made me used to that city pace. My parents were born in Mississippi and I spent time down there growing up as well. And two years ago, I moved down south to Alabama. So I’ve always been the country boy wrapped in a city boy’s skin. I love that slower pace of living in the south. Someone in the family said, “Well that’s your motto. Why not go with it as your album’s title?” It describes my musical style as well.
Your music is very soulful and speaks positively to and about women. In a landscape where the popular music choice seems to be the opposite of your music, how do you plan to succeed?
I plan in being successful just through making music from the heart and soul. Today, it just seems like there’s a lot of contrived music out there. As with the other artists in my genre, all we can do is try to coexist and make music that our fans want to hear. I’m just trying to make music as true as I can. I want to make soul music with respect to where it came from. It’s crazy that a lot if the artists in my genre don’t get as much recognition as they should. The Joes of the world, Anthony Hamilton, Eric Benet, Dwele, and Eric Roberson–you have all of these great artists that don’t get the time of day. It’s crazy when people say soul is gone and soul is lost. Soul hasn’t gone anywhere.
On your last album “Fresh: The Definition,” you worked with a very small group of writers and producers. Was the same concept applied to this record?
“Fresh: The Definition” was a special project for me because I was able to have a little but more creative freedom than I did in my first album. It seems like with each album, I have more creative control than the last. On this album, there were no reins and I was able to do what I wanted to as far as everything. I was really involved. It was really great because ultimately that’s what an artist wants.