JEAN-MICHEL BLAIS ANNOUNCES Il
MONTREAL-BASED PIANIST TO RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM ON APRIL 8 VIA ARTS & CRAFTS
PHOTO CREDIT: ERIC MORRISSETTE
Arts & Crafts is proud to announce Il, the debut album from Montreal-based pianist Jean-Michel Blais. Blais possesses incredible melodic sensibilities as well as an ear for minimalism, using beauty and consonance as a basis for experimentation. Today FACT premiered “Nostos”, the “blearily beautiful” first single from Il, featuring electronic musician Bufflo. Il is out April 8 via Arts & Crafts and is available to pre-order HERE.
Jean-Michel Blais is a 31 year-old pianist from the province of Quebec. His enchanting instrumental compositions pair the melodic pop sensibilities of Amélie-era Yann Tiersen and Arts & Crafts alumni Chilly Gonzales with the breathtaking technical skill of classical minimalists like Philip Glass and Erik Satie. Il is his debut album of original compositions.
Blais grew up in a rural French Catholic town in Quebec bereft of Culture save for a giant encyclopedia he’d read feverishly as a child. At age 9, Blais began tinkering on his family’s organ, improvising, and at age 11 he started to write original compositions and began taking piano lessons. A natural talent, by 17 he was invited to the Trois-Rivieres Music Conservatory and began training as a classical pianist. However, Blais was entering the throes of teenage rebellion and found the constraints of formal training a cumbersome rigid structure. Gravitating towards experimentation, Blais wasn’t content to be told how to play, and instructed to not improvise or compose.
A few years later, he attracted the attention of famed playwright and director, Robert Lepage, who introduced Blais to a who’s-who of Quebec’s entertainment industry. With no particular plan for a music career, he quickly took a step back and decided it was time for more explorations.
He moved to Europe in his mid-twenties, living in Berlin, and spent six months in South America. During that time he’d intermittently compose music with long gaps of not even touching a piano. Blais finally settled in Montreal where he rediscovered his love for composing and performing which caught the ear of Arts & Crafts. Written and recorded at home over two years by improvising every day, Jean-Michel Blais’ debut album, Il, is now set to be released.