Though he was born in California, Canadian singer and pianist Patrick Watson was raised outside Montreal, in Hudson, Quebec, singing in local church choirs as a boy, studying jazz and classical piano performance, composition, and arrangement, and singing and playing keyboards in the ska band Gangster Politics
in high school.
Watson left the band after graduating and began to explore other types of music, including electronica and ambient. He released Waterproof9 in 2001, an experimental music accompaniment to a photo book by Brigitte Henry titled Waterproof. In 2002, after returning from a trip to Vietnam, he decided to start a four-piece chamber pop group, bringing in bassist Mishka Stein, drummer Robbie Kuster (both of whom he had met at university), and former Gangster Politics
guitarist Simon Angell. The group (which was technically a solo project with a backing band) released Just Another Ordinary Day independently and began performing around Canada, including at the 2005 Pop Montreal Festival, a show that led to the formation of Secret City Records
, the label that issued Watson's sophomore album, Close to Paradise (which featured the same band), in the fall of 2006, with a release in the U.S. the following year. Watson's third full-length album, Wooden Arms, arrived in spring 2009, and was nominated for that year's Polaris Music Prize. The emotional yet pared-down Adventures in Your Own Backyard followed in 2012, and the ambient-leaning Love Songs for Robots arrived in spring 2015. The latter featured prior collaborator Joe Grass on guitar in place of Angell. ~ Marisa Brown, Rovi