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William Prince

William Prince is a Canadian country-folk singer/songwriter who rose to national success with critically acclaimed albums like 2018's Juno Award-winning Earthly Days and 2020's Reliever. A member of the Peguis First Nation near Winnipeg, Manitoba, Prince's music blends themes of Indigenous culture and everyday life though warm, thoughtful songwriting with a relaxed tone. After exploring country gospel on his third album, Gospel First Nation, he worked with Nashville producer Dave Cobb on 2023's Stand in the Joy. Born in Selkirk, Manitoba, and raised on the Peguis First Nation, Prince counts Chief Peguis as a direct ancestor. His father was a preacher and a musician, and many of Prince's first musical experiences are rooted in playing alongside his father in church. A music lover with diverse tastes, his adolescent years were spent playing in various rock bands, even going through a screamo phase before settling into his role as an acoustic singer/songwriter. Taking influence from country icons like Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson, Prince eventually left his pre-med courses in Winnipeg and devoted himself to writing songs and gigging. In the ten years leading up to his debut, he made a handful of attempts at recording, though nothing ever panned out. Along the way he took part in the collaborative First Nations rock group Indian City, fronted by Vince Fontaine, and kept writing his own songs. In 2015, with the help of producer Scott Nolan, Prince finally recorded his debut album, Earthly Days, in an intensive ten-day session. Framing his relaxed baritone in a warmly captured, organic country-folk framework, the independently released album took on a life of its own, earning Prince two Juno Award nominations, a pair of Canadian Folk Music Award nominations, and an Aboriginal Artist of the Year award at the Western Canadian Music Awards. He even earned the admiration of Canadian songwriting greats Neil Young and Bruce Cockburn after performing Cockburn's song, "Stolen Land," at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2017. A deal with Glassnote Records allowed for a 2018 reissue of Earthly Days, which included an alternate version of his song "Breathless," re-recorded in Nashville with producer Dave Cobb. He also landed one of his songs, "All I Know" on the hit television drama Yellowstone. Released in January 2020, Prince's sophomore effort, Reliever, took a therapeutic approach to the genre, self-described as a "testament to resilience." The album earned widespread acclaim and another Juno nomination and its single "The Spark," won its author the SOCAN Songwriting Prize. Later that October, Prince delivered his third album, a unique collection examining the complex history of religion and Indigenous cultures in Canada titled Gospel First Nation. "Sing Me a Song," a collaborative stand alone single with Serena Ryder appeared in 2021 and the following year, Prince appeared at a tribute to Canadian folk legend Buffy Sainte-Marie singing songs with Quebecois singer Marie-Mai and members of the Tragically Hip. Working again with Dave Cobb, he recorded his soothing fourth studio album, Stand in the Joy, which was released in April 2023.
© Timothy Monger /TiVo
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