Nicolas Dupuis is never far from home. As Anomalie, the shape-shifting production project he unveiled in 2016, Dupuis has channeled his musical upbringing (his mother, a piano teacher; his father, a host on Radio-Canada), formal schooling, and stage-seasoned chops into two companion EPs — Metropole and Metropole II — the Chromeo collaboration Bend the Rules, and a series of singles lighting a pathway to his upcoming long-form debut, Galerie.
The Metropole series, released in 2017 and 2018, was the story of a city — Dupuis’ native Montreal, where he still resides — visiting familiar landmarks, cosmopolitan rhythms, and well-worn streets. By early 2020, Dupuis’ love letters to home had taken him around the world and back, powering two sold-out tours spanning North America (Red Rocks Music Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Electric Forest), Europe, and Asia — plus, a social audience now into the millions,
and earned endorsements from contemporaries like Charlie Puth, Snarky Puppy and others. On-stage, Dupuis honed an astute balance of electronic production, progressive jazz harmonics, and hip-hop rhythms with a four-piece group, reinventing genres known for their slippery, expansive definitions.
But by mid-2020, the world had changed. Those sold-out shows? Replaced by next-door neighbors who, during lockdown, nixed Dupuis’ daytime practice sessions. Unable to write, and seeking room for his ambitions, Dupuis and his girlfriend decided to settle into their own space in Montreal, buying their first home, with a designated personal studio where Dupuis could re-discover his momentum.
As restrictions eased, they spent a week outside Ottawa, camping with friends, communing with nature, and uncovering sounds that would form new ideas — including early inspirations for Galerie’s mesmerizing and cosmic lead single, “Bond.” Lockdown began to recede from view. In his own space, and properly recharged, Dupuis returned to the studio ready to channel his prismatic influences into Galerie, tapping new instrumentation, collaboration, and intentions to develop his most accomplished project to date.
“[The pandemic] made me realize I did need some time for myself to re-evaluate where I wanted to head stylistically,” says Dupuis. “The upright piano has been a huge upgrade creatively. It's a much richer sound. It was part of the experience of making the sound as well, in terms of texture, with a more raw, organic sound and the way I was tackling drums.”
The result is a delirious genre fusion inspired by D’Angelo, J. Dilla, Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds, Herbie Hancock’s Sunlight, and Robert Glasper’s Black Radio. You might call it Cubist, with each song revealing a new side, depth, or angle in Dupuis' sound.
“Montreal is still an inspiration for me,” he says. “But it was very important for me to not do a Part III and just start fresh. This one is a bit more vague in that sense. These different stories are canvases that together form this aesthetic or creative proposal.”
Take “Come Running To Me,” a bold flip of the 1978 original, trading Hancock’s arrangement of Sunday morning woodwinds and soft, deliberate brass for an updated palette of Saturday night synths and strutting hip-hop drums.
“I started arranging my version of “Come Running to Me” last year just for fun, dropped a snippet on social media and have had people asking for a full version since then,” says Dupuis. It’s a familiar exchange; that crowdsourced encouragement launched nearly half of Galerie’s tracks. Though his creative process is often singular, Dupuis still invites this reciprocal push-and-pull between artist and audience, unafraid to open his trust to their reactions and experiences.
“There's an additional creative drive when I know that I'm doing something somewhat quickly to post it on social media,” he explains. “It's often resulted in something that I wouldn't necessarily come up with or approach if it weren't for that purpose.”
Even during a period of unprecedented isolation, community comes easy for Dupuis, a regular Twitch streamer who sharpened his collaborative instincts in Montreal’s nighttime hip-hop cyphers. Anchored by a house band that he would eventually join, these weekly sessions opened the stage for local artists to blend modern favorites with jazz and R&B standards, becoming a breakthrough for Dupuis’ own crossover visions.
“Especially today, every musical genre is much larger than it was before,” he says. “There's some form of crossover in pretty much everything we listen to.”
“Memory Leaves” lives in that uncharted territory, combining Dupuis’ dextrous playing and melodic finesse with a stirring verse by Masego devoted to craft, fleeting inspirations, and an artist’s life.
“I've rarely connected with someone creatively as I did with Masego,” says Dupuis. “You feel when there's something that happens that quickly, and you're on the same wavelength. That happens kind of rarely.”
In kind, “Memory Leaves” pairs amiably with earlier singles “Bond” and the beat-driven “Dribble.” Together, these tracks aren’t just an exhibition; they’re a resounding thesis, a road map tracing how consonant styles overlap and interact. By reinvigorating jazz harmony, Dupuis is slyly driving broader audiences to discover or renew their love for the foundational components in today’s voices.
Galerie’s forward-facing approach may call to mind a timeless phrase familiar to any jazzhead: The Shape of Jazz to Come. Ornette Coleman’s 1959 opus re-configured traditional notions of harmonic structure, its title and content serving as both a blueprint and open question for progressive music’s future. With Dupuis’ reverent but revolutionary project, that answer is no longer in the past or on the horizon; it’s here.