RIOPY’s tender and candid visuals for his composition, “The First Waltz”, breathe a compassionate sincerity into his already-breathtaking pianism. His passion and talent for music have lifted him out of adversity and onto stages outside Le Louvre.
When asked what inspired his newest video, Jean-Philippe insightfully responded, “What life truly is. Back to the roots of what makes us human. Family, simple but meaningful things, love, children, walking around, etc. Daily life. We all look for happiness, even though we do not realise it, and we think this happiness will come from external source while it’s been here this entire time, inside of us. Real, simple and authentic.”
We had the opportunity to talk with Jean-Philippe about his tumultuous upbringing and his inspiring rise to appreciation out of the tempest of his past. Head below to enjoy…
How are you?
Feeling blissful, thanks.
Firstly, you have an incredible life story. You spent your childhood in a cult before cutting all ties at the age of 18. Do you remember how you came to realise that music was your escape from such extreme experiences?
It always has been a part of me, something inextricable from who I am. I guess I am lucky I found music from such an early age. It was helping me cope with the pain, subconsciously. I was just attracted to the piano all the time. It was my place to go, my safe haven. I would not think more of it, not intellectualise what it was doing to me. It was purely emotional, a need. I always say piano was more of a need than a passion, it was and is a part of me. Now, this being said, I came to realise much later in life roughly when I healed myself, that music was the biggest part of my healing. It kept me sane all these years. I do not think I would have survived if it was not for my piano. Now, I am sharing it and I receive a lot of messages from people saying my music is helping them. It touches the roots of my heart to see that my music is helping a lot of people as much as it helped me. It is the best feeling ever. I feel useful.
You have come an enormously long way since your battle with homelessness, depression, and OCD – what do you think is the most valuable lesson you have learnt along the way?
Every day there was a lesson to learn, and I did. I had to learn everything, how to survive, how to live, how to deal with my demons, the pains, the anxiety, the depression, how to accept myself, etc. I had to do everything by myself and find my own way to happiness. It took 30 years. I am grateful today because I’ve always seen every challenge as an opportunity for growth, my own personal growth. The endgame was to wake up without an extreme pain in my stomach every single morning.
How did you land on the name RIOPY?
My full name is Jean-Philippe RIO-PY. My mother’s maiden name is PY, my ‘biological maker’ was RIO. My mother left him when I was six months old and she wanted me to have both names for some reason, so I always had this double-barrelled name. I decided to take the hyphen out for my stage name, to make it easier.
What advice do you have for anyone who is trying to pursue a dream whilst experiencing a really tough time?
There is always hope. Believe in yourself, nothing is made of stone, do not let anyone tell you it is not possible. Everything is possible, it is up to you, not anyone else. The rough time I had gave me drive. The drive gave me a purpose. It took a long time for me to heal and be able to get my passion out to the world, but it was worth it. Follow your heart. Having a passion is the most beautiful thing ever, because it gets you into this safe zone, this inner magical world that no one can take away from you.
You have just dropped the tender and candid visuals for “The First Waltz”! What inspired the visuals?
What life truly is. Back to the roots of what makes us human. Family, simple but meaningful things, love, children, walking around, etc. Daily life. We all look for happiness, even though we do not realise it, and we think this happiness will come from an external source while it’s been here this entire time, inside of us. Real, simple and authentic. That’s why I asked those amazing french documentary makers to film it, to capture my daily reality, not fiction. Documentary style. They also did the video for “Human compassion” and the upcoming “Fantasy”.
Congratulations on the upcoming release of your album [extended] Bliss! How does it feel to know that your newest project will be available for the world to hear?
Thank you. It is a catharsis. The [extended] Bliss has three new tracks: “Human Compassion”, “The First Waltz” and “Fantasy”. These new tracks have a kind of metaphysical meaning, linked to our different states of mind I wanted to draw musically.
Is there a particular song on the album that really resonates with you the most?
It is a tough one as I love playing them all so much and it changes with my mood, the time of day and how I am feeling. BUT I would say “Fantasy”, as it is the latest piece I composed, it is the 40th track of the trilogy and the first track of [Extended] Bliss. It is had a very special place. “Fantasy” is quantum piece of music for me. Quantum as if you pay attention to it, it will start being alive and make sense, and as soon as you take your attention away from the piece, or being distracted or just trying to play it as background noise, it will not make any sense, as if fading away. Try it, it really is quantum.
What do you hope that people can take away from the album?
It is a journey inside yourself, a journey of Bliss. My bliss won’t be the same as you, we all have a different experience of reality and that’s what makes life so beautiful. This album is for everybody. I hope it will enable the listener to travel to magical places within themselves.
You also recently performed a special concert outside Le Louvre. How was that experience? How did you prepare for such an exciting opportunity?
Surreal. We all know Le Louvre – one of the most emblematic places in the world, with so much history, I was super excited to play there and curious about the energy. Every time I play somewhere, there is an energy, from people, from places, from anything really. It always is different which makes it more interesting. Life is about feelings. At Le Louvre, the sound of the piano was bouncing inside ” La cour carre” which is the kind of interior garden inside the museum, it was exceptional. I tend to not think too much about settings and all, to allow me to just focus on what I do best: just play.
What is something you’re excited for next in life?
So much to discover, to see, to feel – there is not enough time in one life time so I will have to come back. haha. I love life, I cannot wait to tour and I am excited about the world as a whole. So much is happening, but I am very positive about the outcome, we are making the world better one step at a time, there is a change in the collective, there is a big change in consciousness, we all have to play a part in it, it is happening more than what people might think, and it starts with our home, our planet.