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Striving for more

With newfound success, William Prince is not content to settle

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/11/2016 (1030 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

One year ago, almost exactly to the day, Manitoba folk singer-songwriter William Prince sat down with the Free Press to talk about the upcoming release of his debut album, Earthly Days.

At that time, success was only a hope; now, it has become a reality.

Things have been going non-stop for the Peguis-born musician since Earthly Days officially dropped last December — Prince received praise from critics for his observational storytelling and the slow-burning impact of his songs, and the record led to a deal this summer with Paquin Artists Agency. Prince also got some touring under his belt with numerous folk festivals and other high-profile gigs, most recently opening for Canadian music icon Buffy Sainte-Marie in Nanaimo, B.C.

Earthly Days has already earned him a handful of awards and nominations, including a win for Aboriginal Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards (he was also nominated for the Roots Solo Artist of the Year). In December, he’ll head to Toronto for the Canadian Folk Music Awards, where he’s up for two trophies — Contemporary Singer of the Year and Aboriginal Artist of the Year — and will perform at the awards ceremony.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/11/2016 (1030 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

One year ago, almost exactly to the day, Manitoba folk singer-songwriter William Prince sat down with the Free Press to talk about the upcoming release of his debut album, Earthly Days.

At that time, success was only a hope; now, it has become a reality.

Things have been going non-stop for the Peguis-born musician since Earthly Days officially dropped last December — Prince received praise from critics for his observational storytelling and the slow-burning impact of his songs, and the record led to a deal this summer with Paquin Artists Agency. Prince also got some touring under his belt with numerous folk festivals and other high-profile gigs, most recently opening for Canadian music icon Buffy Sainte-Marie in Nanaimo, B.C.

Earthly Days has already earned him a handful of awards and nominations, including a win for Aboriginal Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards (he was also nominated for the Roots Solo Artist of the Year). In December, he’ll head to Toronto for the Canadian Folk Music Awards, where he’s up for two trophies — Contemporary Singer of the Year and Aboriginal Artist of the Year — and will perform at the awards ceremony.

"It was nice that people were just starting to listen, to be honest. I wasn’t so much hunting praise as just (wanting) people to have it, to own something, to form an opinion over it," says Prince, 30, of Earthly Days. "The majority of the opinions have been really positive and great and it kind of provided almost validation in a sense, that I’m writing good songs that people can connect with."

Prince also made two huge appearances at this year’s Winnipeg Folk Festival — a mainstage set before headliner Ryan Adams and as part of the much-anticipated Native North America workshop, which brought in a few of the pioneering folk artists featured on the Grammy-nominated Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock and Country 1966-1985 compilation album. Prince was the only contemporary artist to be included in that workshop.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>William Prince, singer-songwriter, performs at HUT K for a Winnipeg Free Press Exchange Sessions video. </p>

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

William Prince, singer-songwriter, performs at HUT K for a Winnipeg Free Press Exchange Sessions video.

"It was incredible while it was happening, one of those kind of things that I just soaked up in the moment. Meeting pioneers of the folk scene and hearing their stories, them just sharing with me was really huge, so it was a real honour," he says.

The summer was full of other festival stops for Prince, who hit up pretty much every festival within a stone’s throw of Winnipeg — Harvest Sun, Harvest Moon, Rainbow Trout and Trout Forest in Ontario, to name a few.

"It was like a big birthday cake with all these candles I was blowing out one at a time," he says of the festivals. "And it was really awesome that people in places I’ve never been already knew the music. I think one of the nicest new experiences was people having some knowledge before hand."

He says touring is the "last piece of the puzzle" in terms of making him feel like a real, working musician — now he’s out on the road often, and he has help from Paquin, he says everything is "falling in naturally, the way it was supposed to."

"I’m just happy my plan, that I never wrote down (but) I always kind of believed in, is panning out," he says.

"It’s more the songwriting now. I’ve confirmed that I’ve got a method and I can craft quality songs, and now it’s being bold, being brave to say new things and keep going further into that. Let’s not rest on the laurels of the deep voice and strumming along, let’s really keep meaning something."

Prince will be the musical performer at the final Sunday Brunch Collective of the year on Dec.18 at Kitchen Sync (380 Donald St.) in the Exchange District. Tickets are $49 and can be purchased at our ticket portal.

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @NireRabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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History

Updated on Monday, December 5, 2016 at 11:33 AM CST: Tickets now available to the public.

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