MONTREAL, QC: Up-and-coming singer/songwriter and DNN collaborator Jason Deeh Pitre got the shock of a lifetime on Saturday night when one of his musical idols, Grammy Award winning pop singer Seal, took in his regular summer busking performance in Montreal, and then joined the young singer for a duet of the classic “Stand By Me” Fortunately, a passerby was there to capture the magic.
It is the stuff dreams are made of, and an understandably excited Deeh Pitre took to Twitter to share the news with his friends.
Deeh Pitre was busking at his usual summer location, outside the Notre Dame Cathedral at about 7:00 Saturday evening. It is a gig he has held for a couple of years, and he has drawn the notice of local admirers who are spellbound by his high lonesome sound, his soaring falsetto, and his rock-informed playing. Deeh Pitre is also known locally as a member of The Scroll, a band that straddles many fences, ranging from rock to post-rock to folk to ethereal experimental music. DNN Tribune readers will remember Deeh Pitre from his haunting soundtrack to the cult film Last Thirteen (2016), which he contributed to the filmmakers for free. DNN On Air also hosted a one hour musical special on Deeh Pitre in December, shortly before the film’s premiere.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Jason related what happened when Seal happened to stop by and take in his show. At first, he didn’t recognize the famed singer, noting only that a well-dressed man was harmonizing with him under his breath. The man remained for the duration of Deeh Pitre’s allotted performance time. When Deeh Pitre’s time was up the man approached him while he was packing up and counting his money.
“You really touched me”, Jason reported the man as saying. “You have an amazing voice! Seriously. Your guitar playing too. You really touched me.”
Deeh Pitre still did not recognize the stranger and said thanks. The man continued, “I was sitting there for a long time. I was really impressed. You touched me…” It was at this point that Deeh Pitre suddenly realized he was talking to Seal, one of his musical heroes for many years; he claims the first tape he ever bought was Seal’s first album.
The fan in Jason immediately came out, and he gushed about what a fan he was. Although he is usually reticent to do so, he asked Seal if he would mind posing for a photo with him. Not only did Seal assent, he asked Jason if he could join him for a song. The two settled on the familiar “Stand By Me”, although Jason had several Seal songs at the ready.
What followed was one of those moments that make life exciting for everyone. Not only did the two sing the classic song together, they knocked it out of the park in front of those lucky enough to notice what was going on. Jason describes it as a moment of epiphany; despite his years of singing, he says he gained a whole new understanding of the potential of the human voice during those brief minutes when he shared vocals with the formidable Seal.
Afterward, he described Seal as “cool” and “a class act”, and offered a primer on why Seal is such a tremendous talent. As this author pointed out to Deeh Pitre when he excitedly first tweeted the news, you really could not ask for a better endorsement than that of Seal joining you as you busk.
DNN recognized Deeh Pitre’s obvious talent right away, and for a brief time we enjoyed having him around as a kind of “secret” treasure. We knew he had the goods; we knew the world would one day know it too. But we enjoyed knowing something the world didn’t for a few months.
The world, or at least Canada, has heard about Jason Deeh Pitre now. What started with Jason’s tweet has gone viral, and Jason’s story made it to CTV Montreal news. We hope more people will discover the soaring high notes and soul of Deeh Pitre. DNN offers our heartiest congratulations to Deeh Pitre.
See the complete video of Seal and busker Jason Deeh Pitre singing “Stand By Me” on a Montreal street corner: