Featured Artist : Ryland James

In this day and age, we turn to the internet for pretty much everything – to meet people, shop online, download music, even remove all things Kardashian from our web browser if we wanted to (yup, there’s an app for that now!). But the internet can be so much more than that. If there’s anything we’ve learned, it’s that there’s been a huge trend of discovering young, talented musicians online. From Justin Bieber to Shawn Mendes, these artists are perfect examples of two young kids who went from smalltown boys to worldwide superstars overnight.

Add Ryland James to the list of young talent, an 18-year-old up and coming artist who hails from Deseronto, a small town just outside of Kingston, Ontario. Ryland’s family is no stranger to music. His great grandfather was part of the Gospel quartet at their church, his grandmother is a trained pianist and his mother grew up playing the drums. I first heard about Ryland when I listened to his single “Good To You” online. With his soulful voice and charming lyrics, this emerging artist is definitely off to a great start!

Ryland James

You may recognize his name from YTV’s “The Next Star”, a youth music competition which Ryland auditioned for and even made it to the finale. Sadly, he didn’t win but he did get some valuable advice from the celebrity judges that made him even push harder to turn his dream of making music into a reality. James always had a passion for music – at the age of 10, he was captivated by the Jackson 5 classic, “Who’s Loving You,” and thought to himself that singing was something he can do. Like any other kid wanting to become a singer, he would perform the song in his living room in front of his family, while they sat in awe, intrigued by his talent. Ryland’s parents instantly knew their son had a gift, and they were determined to support him and encourage him to follow his dream. From then on, Ryland gravitated toward writing and making music at an early age.

One of the many lessons he learned from the judges was that he needed to put music out on several social media platforms in order to build a name for himself –  and so he did! He began posting cover song videos on YouTube, Vine and Instagram and the more covers he did, the more views he would get. Slowly but surely, James was well on his way! While teaching himself to play both the keyboard and the guitar, the singer decided to take things to the next level by putting the pen to the paper – once he started writing, he couldn’t stop. Fast forward to 2017, and this star on the rise is not only a singer-songwriter, but also the face of Roots Canada, as part of their “Roots World Famous Sweats” campaign which launched this past month.

I had the privilege of seeing Ryland perform (and meeting him) and I can honestly say that his voice and stage presence blew me away! I let him know that he’s got a bright future in music ahead of him – and apparently, I’m not the only one who think so. This young crooner has already garnered support from fellow Canadians Alessia Cara, Tyler Shaw and Shawn Mendes. Once again, Canada is on top!

Check out the video for “Good To You” below:

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