Philippe Renan, an accomplished pianist and composer
Born in 1972, Philipe Renan became enchanted by the magic of keyboards at the age of 6. At 13, he began composing and recomposing and has never wanted to stop. At 17 he even left university, in the hope of finding a producer for his music. He eventually lost all his savings and that disconcerting initial foray into show business would be a turning point in how he viewed the industry.
Even though Philippe decided to go back to school and focus on his career, he never lost sight of his passion for music. With every passing year his art took on a new colour, he found new influences, fused inspirations, refined his techniques, fine-tuned his compositions.
The classic and French variety tunes of the ‘80s, introduced to him by his organist father inspired him at first, then faded into the background. They paved the way towards traditional jazz and Afro-American music, shared with Philippe by his West Indian aunts on his mother’s side. Now with a vast and eclectic repertoire of more than 200 compositions, he has a strong musical identity.
From Mozart and Chopin to Bill Evans, from Keith Jarret and Michel Petrucciani to Chick Corea, from Michel Berger, Laurent Voulzy and Georges Michael to Michael Jackson, Philippe Renan has drawn inspiration from far and wide to become the accomplished pianist and composer he is today, and has finally lived up to his own expectations.
Surrounded by radically different musical styles since his childhood, Philippe Renan gradually discovered new genres as the years went by, including RnB and electronic music. Digging deeper, he found ways of exploring these different universes, and was eventually able to create his own.
A musical journey in three movements. From 1985, he focused on several different musical periods, but three stand out above the others.
1996-2013: from French variety to electronic music
Things really got going in the 90s. Pop music and French variety were Philippe’s bread and butter for a long time. He worked at the music store Sonamix for a few years when digital music first arrived on the scene, and became familiar with the main players while honing his digital composition skills. He then produced his first instrumental tracks for short films, influenced by composers such as Vladimir Cosma, Michel Legrand and Eric Serra.
He also found his way into the world of electronic music, began playing in groups, and discovered the magic of concerts. In 1998 he composed his first album of songs entitled L’Essentiel, inspired by French variety music of the 80s and 90s.
In the mid-2000s, after a more electro-pop influenced second album (Toasts in 2005), Philippe began moving gradually away from those initial sources of inspiration and worked on a more intimate, more refined album, mainly using piano and voice (Ballads Intimes). In 2012, after a few transitional years, he decided to share his albums on his music website, www.mathysofficiel.com.
In 2013, his compilation album, Mathys Experience, presented an overview of his first period of musical creations. At that time, Philippe Renan chose the stage name ‘Mathys’ because he wanted to keep business separate from his art. He later decided to stop using a pseudonym and began producing music under his own name. That was the beginning of his decision to pursue his two-pronged career.
2014-2018: the depths of the soul
2014 was a turning point in Philippe’s musical journey. Following the death of his mother in 2011, and then his father in 2014, he began seeing the world in a new light. Troubled by these events, he reviewed his composition techniques and transformed his style. He used more of his natural vocal range. His arrangements became more rhythmic, more contemporary. He discovered new sounds, new worlds. Keyboardist Cory Henry led him towards the most extraordinary gospel grooves, mixed with the electric influences of soul, jazz fusion and electro.
This period of transition inspired lyrics on the beauty of mourning (Mon père in 2017) and the ordeal of separation (Manquer in 2018). Spurred on by this new focus, Philippe Renan created the Possible-Music label to publish his works. He honed his musical identity. The jazz flow of Afro-American music that he had carried inside him since early childhood bubbled up to the surface.
Since 2019: the jazz goes on
Philippe Renan draws from the depths of his mixed musical origins to find the groove and harmonies that inspire him. He issues an invitation to take a new journey, from the standpoint of resilience and the law of attraction, into Smooth Jazz, a style he discovered in the 90s on the demos of his first synthesizers.
In April 2019 he produced his first Urban Jazz track whose style is reminiscent of the brass-dominated music of Miles Davis. Move On marks the beginning of a new era. That same year, jazz fusion-influenced Silver and Light & Sea, with its more traditional style, continued in the same jazz vein. In 2020, Philippe Renan composed Beautiful, an ode to the beauty of the world, and women in particular. In this composition, he pays homage to Kyle Eastwood, whose talents he discovered when the film Gran Turino was released. He was on a roll.
In 2021, he finalised the composition of his first jazz album, laying his soul bare. The album features 11 contemporary jazz tracks that pay tribute to his favourite artists. Mixed in Brazil and mastered at the Abbey Road studios in London, All Right was released in April 2022. The album reflects Philippe’s own journey: three years of hard work, enhanced by many eclectic influences and driven by an accomplished pianist and composer’s desire to share his passion.