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Madonna arrived in Montreal with her band and Quebecois pianist Ricky Pageau

Madonna arrived in Montreal with her band and Quebecois pianist Ricky Pageau

Madonna in Montreal. The singer, who will perform a concert Thursday and Saturday evening at the Bell Centre, and her band in Dorval on Tuesday confirm her longtime pianist, Montrealer Ricky Pageau.

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Don't get excited just yet, because you're unlikely to run into Madonna on the streets of Montreal between now and her show Thursday night. The 65-year-old singer – who fell seriously ill in June 2023 – prefers to rest between her tour shows. to celebrate.

“For Madonna, being in Montreal is like coming home, because her mother was from Quebec. Today she asked me how I felt about coming home and I answered her with the question. She said: I feel energetic! Being here is always special for her, and she often says: I'm French Canadian too! “She is very proud of it,” explains the pianist, who has worked with the singer for 16 years.

Ricky Pageau is on his fifth world tour with the star he now considers his sister. “Playing at the Bell Center with Madonna, seeing friends and family and people involved in my musical life, it's really special,” adds the man who marvels at finding himself in a chic hotel in his hometown (where he must withhold his name for security reasons). Reasons) accompanied by the Queen of Pop.

Mercy James, Madonna's 17-year-old daughter, performs on the piano during the concert (she performs a classical piece followed by the song bad girl With his famous mother). He is the artist from Côte-des-Neiges, with Haitian roots, and is a piano teacher and mentor.

“I have been working with Madonna for 16 years, but I have another role now. I am not on stage, I play a supervisory role behind the scenes. I have been teaching my daughter Mercy James to play the piano for 10 years. “During this tour, I am trying to show him how to control In his emotions during the performance… and with 20,000 people screaming at you every night,” says the man who praises his student’s calm demeanor.

The Montreal pianist had the opportunity to get to know Madonna in a more personal way during the pandemic. They both lived in Los Angeles, and he would visit her home twice a week to give piano lessons to her daughters.

“I've spent a lot of one-on-one time with her. Our relationship has deepened and I've been able to see a side of her that I've never seen before and I really appreciate it.

Madonna, her daughter Mercy James and pianist Ricky Pageau

Madonna, her daughter Mercy James and pianist Ricky Pageau

To live his dream

In 2008, Ricky Pageau caught the attention of Madonna, when he was musical director at Cirque du Soleil. Without giving him an audition, the singer invited him to participate in some shows. He believes it was his work ethic, discipline, versatility, attitude and chemistry that then worked to his advantage.

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“Persistence, connections, being as good a person as possible, obvious talent, and having good, genuine relationships with people can take us far,” he says.

Between touring with Madonna, performances with Christina Aguilera, and others with Cher and Diana Ross, Ricky Pageau finds time to be part of the Haitian soccer hockey team and perform his own classical music concerts all over the world. He will perform an intimate show Friday evening at Pianos Bolduc.