He’s already been dubbed the Belgian Jamie Cullum, Michael Bublé’s brother, and the son Al Green never had.
Fact is, when Canvas starts playing, it sounds as if he’s channeling Jackie Wilson’s spirit. As if Al Green and Gregory Porter are standing by, nodding their heads in approval, while Harry Connick Jr. pats him on the back. Listen to the gorgeous ’Little Bird’, for instance – prominently featuring Jan Hautekiet’s whistling – and hear Canvas convincingly harmonize his voice and piano playing into an infectious climax.
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.
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.