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Meet the Montrealer who tours with Madonna and taught her daughters to play piano


Ric'key Pageot has been Madonna's go-to pianist for over a decade, playing for the singer on multiple world tours.

On Thursday, he accompanied Madonna, or 'M,' as he often calls her, to an extra special place: his hometown of Montreal.

"Being associated to the Queen of Pop when I come back home [...] it's pretty surreal. It's been a surreal week. But it's always special to come back to Montreal," he told Noovo Info in an interview Friday, the morning after Madonna's Thursday show at the Bell Centre.

But this tour is different from the others.

Pageot isn't playing piano for Madonna on her ongoing 'Celebration Tour.' Instead, it's his student -- Madonna's 17-year-old daughter, Mercy James -- who graces the stage each night.

"I've been teaching her piano for 10 years, and I always envisioned that she would be onstage one day with her mom," Pageot said. "I always prepared her for that. Teaching her different styles of music, teaching different aspects of the theory -- not only how to read classical music but also knowing how to read chords, playing [rythmically], listening to pop arrangements."

"To see her excel every night on stage is just... I just beam with joy every night."

It was through his role as Mercy James' teacher that Pageot developed a closer relationship with Madonna.

"It was another side of her I'd never seen before," he described, recalling how, after Madonna moved to Los Angeles during the COVID-19 pandemic, he would visit her home every week to do lessons with her daughters. "And that relationship carried on to this tour and I feel like I'm really part of the family now. I feel like the kids are like my little sisters."

After a brief respite on Friday, Madonna will play another Montreal show on Saturday.

Pageot took advantage of the time off Friday night by performing a recital at Bolduc Pianos on St-Laurent Street.

"Tonight I have my recital: classical music by Black composers," he said. "There's a whole history of Black composers in classical music that I didn't even know about growing up [...] so I wanna make sure that the kids, the next generation, have that opportunity."  

With files from Noovo Info's Juliette Poireau. Top Stories

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