In The Making

Why Chilly Gonzales calls himself a musical genius

"To be in touch with someone's wishes is to have a kind of intimate connection with them."

'To be in touch with someone's wishes is to have a kind of intimate connection with them'

(CBC Arts)

Grammy winner Chilly Gonzales has been known to brag a bit, often calling himself a musical genius as a sort of personal tagline. When he says it, you kind of believe it. The combination of the sheer force of his confidence and his clearly tremendous amount of musical knowledge, as well as his capacity to explain the complexities of why a piece of music is as good as it is, makes the phrase feel right on him, just like the bathrobes he often performs and his photographed in. And of course, he's not serious. It's just a joke — there's a wink.

But what does he really think? And why does he say it? How much of a joke is it to himself? In this clip from Gonzales's episode of In the Making, he puts aside the wink for a moment.

Watch the clip:

Why does Chilly Gonzales call himself a musical genius

3 years ago
The Grammy-winning musician often proclaims himself as a musical genius. How much of it is a joke? 0:38

"In the beginning it's provocative to say, 'I'm a musical genius,' and I enjoyed the reaction it got because they didn't know if I was serious or not," says Gonzales. "But I think what everyone could feel is that at the very least I wish I were a musical genius."

For Gonzales, the visibility of this wishing is what connects him to others even through this over-the-top undignified bragging. To see him striving to claim it reminds us that he's human. "To be in touch with someone's wishes is to have a kind of intimate connection with them."

In Gonzales's episode of In the Making which you can stream now or watch Friday at 8:30pm (9pm NT) on CBC TV, the musician steps away from centre stage, starting his own musical school in Paris, France. The school, called The Gonzervatory, is an eight-day, all expenses paid musical training camp for emerging musicians and counts Peaches among its faculty.

What is In the Making?

In the Making is an immersive journey inside the creative process. The documentary series follows host Sean O'Neill across the country and around the world alongside some of Canada's leading artists as they bring new work to life and face pivotal moments of risk and reward. All eight episodes are available to stream online now, with individual episodes broadcasting weekly each Friday at 8:30pm (9pm NT) on CBC.

Each episode follows an artist from across the creative spectrum — visual art, film, music, dance, theatre — with a unique approach to art-making and something to say about the world. Sean visits artists at home, in studio, backstage, and in the field, giving viewers rare access to intimate creative spaces and inspiring moments of realization.

Watch the trailer:

Stream every episode of In the Making now, or watch Friday at 8:30pm (9pm NT) on CBC TV.