Today, we are delighted to be joined by Ric'key Pageot, an accomplished LA-based musician and Steinway Artist who has performed with the likes of Diana Ross, Madonna, Cher, Dr. John, and many more. In this conversation, we discuss Ric'key's upbringing in Montreal, how it exposed him to different cultures, his determination to attend McGill University, and how his career has progressed since then.

The environment in which you grow up can significantly influence your life, shaping everything from the friends you make to the schools you attend. Montreal, though not always recognized as such, is a uniquely vibrant and diverse city. With its exceptionally high rates of integration, it sets itself apart from other cosmopolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles. While these cities are home to diverse communities, they still wrestle with high levels of segregation.

Ric'key shares what it was like growing up in a family brimming with talented musicians – and the various concerts they held – before reflecting on his time at McGill and how it prepared him for life as a performer. We also discuss Parlor Social, the band he started with his wife, Dessy Di Lauro, and how their music pays homage to the Harlem Renaissance culture while also propelling it forward.

Ric'key's musical journey has led him down some incredible paths. In today's show, he reflects on his journey, the many lessons he's learned, and some of the amazing people he's met along the way. So sit back, relax, and tune into this fascinating conversation with Ric'key Pageot.

Key points from this episode:

  • Ric'key's upbringing in Montreal and his experiences growing up in a musical household.
  • How Ric'key discovered the piano and the jam sessions he had with his family.
  • Ric'key's Haitian heritage and its influence on his career as a musician.
  • Ric'key shares a story about occasionally crossing paths with Justin Trudeau during his childhood.
  • An overview of the professional art school that Ric'key attended during his teenage years.
  • The different genres of music that inspired Ric'key as he grew up: classical music, R&B, and hip-hop.
  • Why Ric'key chose to pursue his BA in Jazz performance at McGill University in Montreal.
  • How a combo class prepared Ric'key for his career as a professional jazz musician.
  • A rundown of the traditional jazz musicians who have greatly influenced Ric'key.
  • Ric'key shares about his first tour with Madonna and how he met Herbie Hancock.
  • What it felt like balancing his studies at McGill whilst being a touring musician.
  • Ric'key's experiences working with Dr. John and his band.
  • The incredible diversity of Montreal, its unique well-integrated society, and the positive impact this had on Ric'key.
  • Ric'key discusses his working experience with Cirque du Soleil.
  • Why Ric'key learned to play the accordion and how this skill contributed to him securing a job with Madonna.
  • Insights into Ric'key and his wife Dessy Di Lauro's group, Parlor Social, and how their music is a tribute to Harlem Renaissance culture yet also propels it into the future.
  • The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Parlor Social.
  • Updates on their upcoming performance at the Newport Beach Jazz Festival.
Ric'key Pageot Musical Journey

Ric'key Pageot Tweetables

  • "It was a great school. I loved it. But it's kind of sad today, I don't think they have the same program anymore. They lost government funding. And it's really unfortunate that music and the arts are no longer priorities in schools." — Ric'key Pageot [00:12:32]
  • "I was sort of a classical nerd. I really wouldn't listen to anything outside of classical. I think I only really listened to hip-hop, R&B, and stuff like that. It's only when I grew older I began appreciating other types of music." — Ric'key Pageot [00:15:42]
  • "[Combo class] was amazing for memory training. One of my teachers said 'You're not playing the song until you actually get rid of the sheet'." — Ric'key Pageot [00:22:46]
  • "Tony really opened up my eyes at a professional level, not as a music listener when I was a kid, but as a professional player. At that point, it made me open my ears to different styles of music and how piano or keyboard parts are played in different styles of music." — Ric'key Pageot [00:34:23]
  • "Montreal is so well-integrated, you're surrounded by every culture — Montreal is really underrated for that." — Ric'key Pageot [00:41:11]
  • "I'm all about tradition and moving tradition forward. That's how Parlor Social came about. It was about paying homage to the Harlem Renaissance culture and moving it forward." — Ric'key Pageot [00:54:37]