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"I don’t think people would have cared what I had to say when I was 21, 22," William Prince said.
Now 29, Prince is ready to put out an album that’s long been in the works. "I’ve been working on an album forever, like, ‘Yeah, working on it, 2019, it’s gonna be a good one.’"
But the Wolseley singer-songwriter isn’t waiting until 2019. With the help of local musician Scott Nolan, his album Earthly Days will be officially released on Dec. 7 at the West End Cultural Centre (586 Ellice Ave.), after years of sharing his low, gospel-toned voice and storytelling lyrics at various venues throughout the city.
"This is finally my buy-in, my contribution," he said. "My investment into this game of music."
Prince has been writing music and playing for most of his life, thanks to the influence of his late father, Ed Prince. Watching his father perform at their church and record three albums prompted Prince to begin writing music at 13.
"He just passed away a couple months ago, and so we’re going through that," he said. "I was right at the point where I was going to show him (my music) and he just unfortunately died, and now I’m more motivated than ever… he had a deep voice and now people say I remind them of that so I always joke that that’s my dad’s voice and I’m just carrying it around."
Prince’s music certainly feels like gospel, in the sense that it seems timeless, both in the structure of the song and the antiquity of the emotions. Prince writes about love, fighting and the adventures of his friends—but he doesn’t want to put out the same old song and dance.
"There’s a lot of songs that start, ‘sitting here in this cafe.’ I’m not starting songs like that," he said. "We’re starting them in the midst of a revelation or epiphany or maybe I’m worth this, maybe I could be better for this person.
"Everything’s about love, really. We’re all in pursuit of that in some sense, if not love directly, definitely the things that have come through finding it or getting away from it at times," Prince said. "I wrote this for the woman I’m going to marry, and she was so inspiring that she brought out one of the best songs I’ve ever written out of me."
The album’s namesake song, Earthly Days, follows the story of him and his partner, which began in the diner they met in.
"Just knowing her is putting me back," he said. "Look at all this stuff that’s coming my way, all these blessings. She’s catalyzing the goodness in my life."
She also painted the album’s cover, a woolly mammoth that complements the album’s sense of bringing together old with new. Prince’s songs range from things he’s written recently and the ones that have been worked on for years. But all of it is in step with Prince’s personality — raw and sincere.
While the album is in a way, a love letter, it’s also a reminder that being alone is just as important a part of life as being with a partner.
"There’s a lot of me wishing and wanting to be in love and wanting to have somebody, but then you learn, hey you’re not a bad person on your own too and that’s a great thing to have, a lot of young people I talk to don’t have that," he said.
Growing up in Peguis First Nation meant being surrounded by young families and people rushing into relationships and love, and Prince hopes that if they listen to his music they will hear the message of not needing to depend on others in an unhealthy way.
"I had to grow up a little bit, you gotta see some things," he said. "And here I am."
For more information, search William Prince Music on Facebook or visit williamprincemusic.com.
Community journalist — The Metro
Alana Trachenko was the community journalist for The Metro