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Drake’s Pianist Chilly Gonzales Accepts Role as His ‘B—-’

Jag Gundu, Getty Images

When Drake sampled fellow Canadian Chilly Gonzales‘ song ‘The Tourist’ on his 2009 mixtape, ‘So Far Gone,’ he received criticism from the Paris-based Canadian pianist, producer, sometime-MC and Feist-collaborator, who claimed he was simply “not a fan.”

The Grammy-nominated pianist has maintained a lengthy, respected career on the relative fringe of the musical industry, using monikers like “F—eye” or “the one-eyed Jew,” and attempting feats like breaking the world record for longest solo-artist performance. It understandably came as a surprise to Gonzales’ fans when the idiosyncratic multi-talent played keyboards for Drake at the 2011 Juno Awards, and later played the beautiful piano outro on Drizzy’s ‘Marvin’s Room.’

“That was before he liked me,” Gonzales told the BoomBox’s sister site Spinner, of his newfound respect for the popular rapper. “I said I’m a musical genius, not that I’m not a hypocrite. Of course I’m a hypocrite like anyone. You go from a hater to biggest fan the minute that your hero pays attention to you.”

Gonzales met Drake in 2010, through his father, who lives in the same building as the MC. “He basically called down to him — ‘Uh hello, Drake? This is John Beck, I’m the father of Gonzales?’ And then I hear [Drake] going ‘Yeah, Chilly Gonzales, yeah.’ ‘Oh, well, why don’t you come on up.’ So like Drake comes on up with a manager guy and he’s like, ‘Man, it’s such a pleasure to meet you. Man, I’m so proud. I used some of your music on my mixtape.’ And anyway I was like, ‘I’m in love with you.’ It was like a Bill Clinton level [of] charisma — I just could not be mad at him anymore. He was like, ‘Will you go over to your dad’s piano and play this song for me?’ And I was like, ‘Yes!’”

Following their meeting, Drake asked Gonzales to work with him, drawing the 39-year-old pianist into an vastly different world. “I’m at an entry-level position at a huge corporation run by the mafia,” Gonzales said, of his position in the ranks. “I learned so much watching him work, and seeing how I fit into the pecking order. When he’s juggling Kanye, Swizzy and Alicia [Keys] for his album, of course I can’t really be the squeaky wheel and be like, ‘What the f—, you got me a ticket, man. You want to f—ing work with me or not? What the f—, I’m a f—ing musical genius — that’s not the moment to do that.”

Years after claiming he’s “not a fan,” Gonzales appears to have accepted his position in the Young Money rapper’s totem, explaining that he’s happy to play attendant to Drake, if it will further his own intentions. “

I’m letting myself be Drake’s bitch for a while, in hopes of getting closer,” Gonzales concluded.


Watch Drake Perform ‘Forever’
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