Watson: A solid national following,
Born in California, and raised in the small town of Hudson, Quebec, Former Vanier music student Patrick Watson began singing in local churches at the age of 7 and grew up studying classical and jazz piano. After creating music and releasing albums in various styles, he put together a four-piece band that performed with the likes of James Brown, Philip Glass, The Dears and the Stills in 2004 and 2005. In 2006, he released the album Close To Paradise which has received glowing reviews as well as seen huge sales numbers.
In February 2007, it was announced that the band's latest release, Close to Paradise, jumped to the #4 position on the Canadian top-200 album chart, trailing only Nelly Furtado, The Shins and Justin Timberlake at the time. The song "The Great Escape" from this same album was featured on a third-season episode of the top-rated American TV show "Grey's Anatomy". They appeared recently on the hugely popular Francophone TV show Tout Le Monde en Parle, which airs nationally on Radio-Canada.
2007 was quite a year for Patrick Watson. In addition to their Polaris Music Prize nomination, which the band ended up winning at the awards ceremony (along with $20,000) on September 24th, they were also nominated for a Juno Award (Best New Artist), and earlier this year picked up three GAMIQ (Quebec Indie) awards as an independent Quebec artist (Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Best Indie-Pop Album).
The band's latest CD Wooden Arms was released on April 28, 2009 and the reactions have been overwhelmingly excellent: i.e. "jaw-dropping depth and invention ... Wooden Arms is up there with the best in cracked-mirror pop music. It's out there -- almost defiantly so at times -- yet it makes such a lustrously tuneful bid for the fringes that any mainstream curiosity has no choice but to follow. [3.5 stars out of 4]" - Toronto Star
Patrick Watson is embarking on a 2009 worldwide tour to promote the latest CD which will take the band throughout Canada and then on to San Francisco and L.A. before continuing on to Brussels, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin and Cologne. They then finish the European leg with shows in Paris and London before finally returning home to complete the tour back home in Canada.
You can read a recent Gazette article about the band's latest exploits (linked just below the video).
RECENT ARTICLES ON PATRICK WATSON:
Wooden Arms, 2009
Close to Paradise, 2006
His page from
the Indie Music Filter website:
His page on
the Secret City Records website:
Full bio from his Band's website:
Patrick Watson is a Montreal-based art-rock quartet that carries the name of its chief songwriter and frontman. They exploded onto the Canadian and international scene alike at the end of 2006 following the release of Close to Paradise on Montreal's Secret City Records. From a packed record launch in September, to a series of late-night loft party/jam session at Pop Montreal, to their MVP performances at Iceland Airwaves in Reykjavik, Patrick Watson, along with bandmates Mishka Stein, Robbie Kuster, and Simon Angell, have proved in a short period of time that they deserve to be considered among the best on a growing list of Canada's promising musical exports.
The versatility of Patrick Watson's music can be traced through the man himself, who began his musical career at age seven singing in local churches on the West Island of Montreal. He grew up studying classical and jazz piano performance, arrangement, and composition, and to this day references Debussy and Satie as influences more readily than Jeff Buckley. Watson met guitarist Simon Angell in their hometown of Hudson, Quebec around this time, and the two have collaborated ever since. Angell's soundscapes and noise-influences having developed into the perfect complement to Watson's colourful melodic compositions and gut-wrenching falsetto.
By the time he was 16, Watson and Angell were attending high school in Montreal, and playing in the high-octane ska group, Gangster Politics. Never one to be satisfied by one musical genre, Patrick abandoned ska by the time he had finished school. He began focusing on engineering his own music with almost fanatical attention to details, incorporating genres and styles from contemporary classical to modern electronica, at once pop-oriented and improvisational.
Watson's music has been visually inspired and cinematic from the start. In 2001 he released Waterproof9-an experimental suite meant to accompany the underwater photography of long-time visual collaborator, Brigitte Henry (who also worked on the stunning art direction of Close to Paradise). Since then, Watson performances have rarely been without wild projections and optical illusions, often incorporating large props (like fitting a band in a giant bubble) and film of all kinds.
While studying music at Vanier College in the late-nineties, Patrick had met Ukrainian-born Mishka Stein, and Swiss/British Columbia ex-pat Robbie Kuster, who were increasingly invited to fill out his rhythm section when performing live shows (with Angell having long-since become a permanent fixture). Though still Watson's project, an informal residency at the legendary Café Sarajevo and an eerie live chemistry between the four musicians quickly led to more group writing and a growing word-of-mouth fanbase.
Just Another Ordinary Day was released in 2003 as a result and stands as a kind of snapshot of an important band in formation, highlighting the bands penchant for dreamy soundscapes at once organic and electronic (echoing Sigur Ros, Bjork and Radiohead) behind Beatles-like pop, with Watson's voice as the centerpiece.
Through 2004 and 2005 buzz on the band's live shows lead to performances with huge international acts and rising Canadian stars alike, from Phillip Glass, Steve Reich and Feist to local friends the Dears and the Stills. Following a breakthrough performance at the Pop Montreal Festival in 2005, the band became the catalyst for the formation of Montreal's Secret City Records, and entered the studio late in the year to complete Close to Paradise, chunks of which had been recorded for up to two years prior, all over the world. In the summer of 2006, they were invited on a European tour with the late James Brown, a fitting last leg to the first chapter of their story. Close to Paradise was released immediately after, in September 2006.
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