Keith Canvas – biography
Keith Canvas – Belgium’s golden jazz-pop child at the brink of a proper breakthrough
Keith Canvas’ music and singing justly draw comparisons to Michael Bublé, Kurt Elling and Jamie Cullum, but Canvas is always his original self. Blessed with a fascinating vibrato and effortlessly multi-instrumental, Canvas is a huge talent at the brink of a proper breakthrough.
Although heavily influenced by the old jazz masters, the Jazz singer- and musician seems to burst with flavor and originality. His debut single ‘Is This What You Mean’ turns out to be a greedily accepted visiting card and gets raving reviews, can be listened to on Radio 1, and manages to enter Radio 2’s fixed playlist, as well as several regional radio stations across the land. In the meantime Canvas obtains radio-interviews, TV performances and a considerable amount of booking-requests.
The end of 2014 sees Keith Canvas releasing his second single ‘Little Bird’. Even more so than in its predecessor, Canvas convincingly harmonises his voice and piano playing to an infectious climax. Radio celebrity / musician Jan Hautekiet gets a prominent supporting role as whistler.
Keith Canvas simultaneously releases his Debut Album ‘Beyond the Frame’ and his third single taken from that album ‘Gotta let you know’ on March 23. The Album, which is semiautobiographical, paints a very dreamy picture, yet manages to thrill and intrigue from start to finish.
Canvas has surrounded himself with possibly the greatest trio of musicians an artist could wish for, and together they’ve been making crowds go crazy as the ‘Keith Canvas Quartet’.
Take Frank Deruytter, rightly one of Belgium’s most renowned and award-winning saxophone players. He’s earned his stripes playing with Marc Moulin and Toots Thielemans, among many others, and adds panache, spice and emotion to Canvas’ songs. By his side: bassist Jacques Pili, a huge name in both pop and jazz, known for his work with singer Maurane and drummer Bruno Castellucci. Pili powers the quartet with his subtle – and when needed dominant – riffs. Behind the drums is Eric Bosteels, effortlessly keeping time, pounding, grooving, soloing and directing. This versatile and highly sought-after studio musician often shares stages with Hooverphonic, Raymond van het Groenewoud and Bart Peeters.
Keith Canvas is the alter ego of Bart Mertens (born 1978), a multi-talented singer, piano player, composer and songwriter. He trained at the Brussels Royal Conservatory, where he studied under David Linx, one of the greats of 21st century European jazz, a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and the son of Jazz Middelheim godfather Elias Gistelinck. After many musical adventures (Mertens toured with DHT ft. Edmée, who had a European hit single with ’Listen To Your Heart’, and along with Hans Forceville started dance-lounge band La Gazz, playing big festivals all over Europe) he is now focussing on his own career. Keith Canvas is currently working on his debut album, which is scheduled for release in early 2015. He is recording with his band in the Closed Session Studio in Roeselaere. Expect infectious jazz spiced up with pop, blues and bossa nova influences.
Canvas: “I’ve infused the album with a vintage Al Green feel. I love the warmth and cosiness of that sound. That’s why I’ve even recorded some of the songs at home, on my upright piano.”