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Certainly one of the most exciting musicians to come out of Acadiana is Wayne Toups. From the moment he bursts on-stage with his accordion, Toups is going full blast and the show is only going up from there. In short, Toups will blow your dance socks off.
His electrifying stage presence is due somewhat to his persona; often sporting a Hawaiian shirt, head band, and ponytail, he is a man in constant motion. It is also because he is a fantastic musician on his accordion, performing a brand of music he calls Zydecajun. As the name suggests, his style fuses the traditional Cajun country sound with the bluesier sound of zydeco, with a definite rock & roll twist and Cajun roots rock is what it is.
Toups, born in 1958, was immersed in his Cajun heritage as a child in Crowley, LA. He started playing accordion when he was 13 and soon headed for the stage, performing the music of accordion masters like Iry LeJeune and Belton Richard. After a stint with Camey Doucet, Toups was inspired by him to try to reach a new generation of music listeners. He became a revolutionary: He created his own art form called Zydecajun.
Toups released an album by that name in 1987. His rock 'n' roll style and primarily English lyrics had an instant appeal for a new mainstream audience, as well as Cajun music afficionados open to something new. And new it was, with Toups listing as musical influences R&B stars Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, as well as the Allman Brothers and the Doobie Brothers. He added them to the musical gumbo of his culture for a sound all his own that has won him a huge following.
Toups has stormed on, with numerous recordings to his credit, while keeping up a frenetic touring pace. He is on the road most of the time and has taken his unique sound all over the world. Festival and television appearances have made him one of the most visible musicians of his culture. His work is on soundtracks for television (Broken Badges) and the movies (Steel Magnolias). He has backed many renowned singers, including Mark Chesnutt and Clay Walker.
CDs such as Blast From the Bayou (1988), Fish Out of Water (1991), Back to the Bayou (1995), and More Than Just a Little (1998) give the listener a good overview of the party music style for which the musician is known. Toups has returned to his roots, but in his own inimitable way. His 2000 CD release Little Wooden Box(his first album for Shanachie Records) is a case in point; it contains songs in both French and English and traditional tunes reinvented as rockers. Whether "Southern Girls" or "Les Filles de la Ville," the common denominator is great, high-energy music. Toups released his second album for Shanachie Records, Whoever Said It Was Easy, in 2004. Reflections of the Past appeared a year later in 2005, with Live following in 2009. Band Courtbouillon was released in 2012.
Wayne Toups (born October 2, 1958 in Crowley, Louisiana) is one of the most commercially successful American Cajun singers. He is also a songwriter. Wayne Toups has been granted numerous awards and honors throughout his career including 2010 Festivals Acadiens et Créoles dedicated in his name, Offbeat Magazine Album of the Year recipient. Member of The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, Gulf Coast Hall of Fame, and Cajun French Music Hall of Fame, 55th Annual Grammy Awards Nominee."Wayne Toups Is Back To His Roots". September 25, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-08. "Wayne Toups". Encyclopedia of Cajun Culture. November 8, 2000. Archived from the original on 2006-12-05. Retrieved 2007-02-06.
Wayne Toups was born into a family of rice farmers in Crowley, Louisiana. He first picked up an accordion when he was 13 and quickly began winning local accordion contests. Toups has combined Cajun music, zydeco, R&B, and rock into a genre he calls Zydecajun. He sings in both English and French.
Toups released his first album, Wayne Toups and the Crowley Aces in Europe in the late 1970s. Toups began gaining popularity in the United States around 1984 when he began performing at local festivals such as the Festivals Acadiens in Lafayette, Louisiana. In 1986 he released his first album, Zydecajun. The Cajun French Music Association's awarded him their "Song of the Year" Award in 1991 for his song "Late in Life." Three of his songs, including wedding favorite "Take My Hand", were featured in the movie Dirty Rice, and some of his work is also featured on the soundtracks for the movie Steel Magnolias and the television show "Broken Badges". He has recorded for the major record labels Mercury/Polygram and Mercury. His 1995 release, Back to the Bayou became the fastest-selling record ever for the independent Louisiana label Swallow Records.
Besides playing his own music, Toups has been featured playing the accordion on singles for many country music stars. He appears on the Mark Chesnutt Number One hit It Sure Is Monday", on Clay Walker's "Live Laugh Love", and Alan Jackson's "Little Bitty." He has also played with Sammy Kershaw, George Jones, Mark Wills, Garth Brooks, and Ty England.
Toups is often known for wearing bright outfits during his performances. He has toured in over twenty-six countries, including in South America, Canada, Europe and the Far East. He has appeared on MTV and on the 1990 Super Bowl telecast.Simpson, David (January 5, 2003). "Wayne Toups and Zydecajun". Louisiana State University at Eunice. Retrieved 2007-02-06. "Wayne Toups". Museum of the Gulf Coast. Retrieved 2007-02-06. Winter, Rose of Sharon. "Wayne Toups:Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-02-06. Cite error: The named reference cajun was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "Living Legends: Wayne Toups". The Acadian Museum in Erath, Louisiana. Retrieved 2007-02-06. "Wayne Toups - The Zydecajun". Retrieved 2010-07-29.