Watch the Chilly Gonzales documentary on iwonder, Shut up and play the piano, is now streaming on iwonder. We suggest you first watch some of the YouTube clips below to see if you are interested to find out more about this entertaining musical genius, before watching the great full documentary on iwonder. See how Chilly connects music across the ages, across genres, across everything really. The Hollywood Reporter says: "Admirably ambitious, and highly entertaining."
82 min • Culture, Society • 2018
Chilly Gonzales is a Grammy-winning composer, virtuoso pianist and entertainer. Criss-crossing between rap, electro and solo piano music, he became the outrageous pop performer who invited himself to the ivory tower of classical music.
The eccentric artist inspires and collaborates with the likes of Feist, Jarvis Cocker, Peaches, Daft Punk and Drake.
Change seems to be the only constant in Gonzales' journey. Every time his audience thinks it has finally figured him out, he makes a radical move and breaks with its expectations. The cinematic documentary Shut Up And Play The Piano follows Gonzales from his native Canada to late 90's underground Berlin, and via Paris to the world's great philharmonic halls.
It dives deep into the dichotomy of Gonzales' stage persona, where self-doubt and megalomania are just two sides of the same coin.
Playing without looking:
Selected Youtube Clips to continue your Chilly Gonzales binge
Pop Music Masterclass by Chilly Gonzales:
Watch short clips of Chilly connect the dots in music:
BBC Radio One: Deconstruction
#Billie Eilish on 1Live Radio
"On On Off Off Off Off On On"
"Let me connect Billie Eilish now to the Rolling Stones"
#Queen #BohemianRhapsody on 1Live Radio
"Major keys for happiness, Minor keys for murder" #Wordpainting
...watch out for the "borrowed accord" for your ear to pay attention
Did I mention Britney Spears? Let me show you the similarity to "Hit Me Baby One More Time"
#Dance Monkey on 1Live Radio
"Let me add some jazz, the main voice could be a jazz singer from the 1930s"
or is it "The end section of Tainted Love"?
"Instead we hear a "naively" played synth piano...4 chords lasting the entire song"
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Chilly Gonzales:
Jason Charles Beck (born 20 March 1972), professionally known as Chilly Gonzales, is a Grammy-winning Canadian musician. Currently based in Cologne, Germany, he previously lived for several years in Paris. Known for his albums of classical piano compositions with a pop music sensibility, Solo Piano I and Solo Piano II, as well as his MC and electro albums, he is also a producer and songwriter.
Gonzales broadcasts a web series Pop Music Masterclass on WDR, the documentary Classical Connections on BBC Radio 1, The History of Music on Arte, and Music's Cool with Chilly Gonzales on Apple Music's Beats1 radio show. He has written several newspaper and magazine opinion pieces in The Guardian, Vice, Billboard, and others. He is the younger brother of the prolific film composer Christophe Beck.
Early life and career
Jason Charles Beck is the son of Ashkenazi Jews who were forced to flee from Hungary during World War II. He began teaching himself piano at age three, when his older brother Chris began taking lessons. Beck graduated from Crescent School in Toronto, Canada. He was classically trained as a pianist at McGill University, where he began both his composing career, co-authoring several musicals with his brother, and his performing career, as a jazz pianist.
In the 1990s, he embarked on a pop career as the leader of the alternative rock band Son, with Dominic Salole and Dave Szigeti. Son was signed to a three-album deal with Warner Music Canada in 1995, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records. Their first release, the Prince/Elvis Costello-flavored LP Thriller, was moderately successful, spawning one single that received heavy radio airplay ("Pick up the Phone") and leading to several opening gigs for the Barenaked Ladies. The album's production values were limited; Warner Bros. simply released the band's hastily recorded demo.
Son's second release, Wolfstein, was recorded at a fully equipped studio in LA with the assistance of his brother Christophe. Nominally a concept album about a man who starts turning into a wolf after hitting one with his car, it features a darker, more complex sensibility than its predecessor.
To Warner Bros. the album represented too radical a change in direction, and lacked singles acceptable to the Canadian pop charts.; the most upbeat tune on the album had the radio-unfriendly title, "Making a Jew Cry". The label gave little promotional support to the release, and dropped the band soon after.
The Berlin years
Finding dealing with the expectations of the Canadian music industry difficult, Gonzales moved to Berlin in 1999, despite speaking no German. He declared himself the President of the Berlin Underground and adopted the stage name Chilly Gonzales in 1999.
With this change in image came another major change in Gonzales's musical style. His four albums on the German label Kitty-yo (Gonzales Über Alles (1999), The Entertainist (2000), Presidential Suite (2002), and Z (2003)) were largely built around rap, though his skills as a keyboardist were demonstrated on a series of interspersed instrumental tracks. European critics and audiences were more receptive to the eclectic and experimental nature of Gonzales's output. His first Kitty-yo single, "Let's Groove Again", became a dance floor hit upon its 1999 release. It was used in a 2007 BBC promotional trailer for their new TV programme The Restaurant. Gonzales performed regularly at nightclubs and on the summer pop festival circuit.
Solo Piano, Chambers, and classical music
In 2004, Gonzales released an album of instrumental material, Solo Piano. Praised by public and critics, it drew comparisons to the work of Erik Satie and so attracted a new global audience to his work. Solo Piano remains Gonzales's best-selling album to date.
Collaborations and songwriting
In the meantime, Gonzales continued to develop as a producer and songwriter for other artists, collaborating on singles and albums with Peaches, singer Jane Birkin and indie rocker Leslie Feist. The output of the latter collaboration – Feist's 2003 album, Let It Die, became a bestseller, won critical acclaim and industry awards. Gonzales returned as a contributor on Feist's 2007 album, The Reminder, which was nominated for 4 Grammy Awards and won five Juno Awards.
Apart from his solo career, Gonzales is also a member of the Berlin-based hip-hop band Puppetmastaz.
Gonzales played in the songs "Give Life Back to Music" and "Within" on Daft Punk's fourth studio album, Random Access Memories, which won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. In June 2013, his studio album Solo Piano II was longlisted for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize.
Gonzales collaborated with Jhené Aiko on the track "From Time" from Drake's third album Nothing Was the Same. They began linking up after Gonzales learned that Drake had used the entirety of Gonzales's song "The Tourist" as "Outro" on So Far Gone.
In 2016, Gonzales hosted Music's Cool, a 2-hour radio show on the Apple Music radio station Beats 1. In the show, he analysed the musical theory behind various artists, including past collaborators.
Soft Power and Ivory Tower
In early 2008, Gonzales signed with Mercury Records, and on 7 April Soft Power was released. While maintaining a typically eclectic mix of styles, Soft Power was basically a pop recording, with a sound reminiscent of the Bee Gees and Billy Joel. Gonzales chose to sing on the album.
Gonzales' album Ivory Tower (produced by Boys Noize) appeared on the !Earshot National Top 50 Chart in 2010. His song "Never Stop", from the album was one of his better known tunes, and the opening piano tune was featured on Apple Inc.'s worldwide advertising campaign for the iPad 2. Apple adapted the tune for electric guitar.
Guinness World record
On 18 May 2009, at the Ciné 13 Théâtre, Paris, he set a world record for the longest solo-artist performance with a total time of 27 hours, 3 minutes and 44 seconds, breaking a record set by Prasanna Gudi. He played over 300 songs.
On 17 March 2017 Gonzales released Room 29, a collaboration with Jarvis Cocker. The album is a song-cycle, and tells of happenings in one room at a Hollywood hotel. Gonzales and Cocker gave the first concert of the album on the day that it was released, in Hamburg, Germany at a concert hall named Kampnagel.
In 2018, Chilly Gonzales launched his own music school. Seven musicians from around the world joined him to study at The Gonzervatory, an 8-day all-expenses-paid residential music performance workshop in Paris. The workshop included coaching sessions with Gonzo, followed by masterclasses from Gonzales' friends and collaborators including Peaches, Socalled, Fred Wesley and Jarvis Cocker. Evening rehearsals culminated in a finale concert at the Trianon Theater.