With a dynamic vocal presence that just demands to be heard, coupled with an easy charm and deeply authentic and approachable personality, Ryland James has the tools, the talent and the tenacity to achieve wonderful things and make his mark on the music scene as a recording artist and performer of limitless potential.
Already an experienced stage performer with a family history of musical mastery going back four generations, Ryland brings a fresh take on pop R&B music, infused as it is with his gospel and choir training, coupled with a deep appreciation for classic pop music of the 1970s up to present day.
Working with the ground-breaking production duo Locals Only Sound, Ryland has already released the well-regarded single Good To You, which is to be followed up by the melancholic, yet deeply melodic Say Goodbye. As the creative partnerships between James as a burgeoning songwriter and the cutting-edge stylings of Locals Only Music and other leading pop producers continues to bear magical musical fruit, more scintillating songs will continue to win the hearts and minds of music lovers to James' unmistakable talent.
"Locals Only Sound were really awesome to work with. I remember when I first started working with them I was really frustrated with where I was going musically and didn't completely know who I wanted to be as an artist yet as I was still experimenting with different things," Ryland confessed.
"But they were so supportive from day one and really encouraged me to follow the pop and R&B path that had always attracted me. That first day they already had an idea laid out for me, what would become Good To You, and I knew as soon as we started working on it that this is where I wanted to go with my music. I knew it was the right path because the songs and ideas came so easily and so fluidly."
Ryland's grandmother was a Gospel singer of note, and her father was in one of Eastern Ontario's most popular Gospel quartets. He began singing performing in musical theatre shows in public school, and carried that over to high school in Napanee (the same high school that produced Avril Lavigne). As a younger teenager, he began posting YouTube videos of him performing cover songs, generating quite a following beyond the borders of eastern Ontario. It led him to auditioning and eventually being a finalist on the popular YTV network show The Next Star.
While he grew up learning to sing choral and Gospel music, he was also turned on to pop music at an early age.
"Music was always something I enjoyed doing and was always a big part of my life, but never thought about making it my life. When I was around 10 there was this kid who sang Who's Loving You by the Jackson 5 on Britain's Got Talent and my grandmother showed me the audition. For some reason, I was completely taken by that song and the performance I decided I wanted to sing that song. So I sung it for my mom and grandmother and they though it was really good. From that moment, I realized that music was something that I wanted to do," Ryland said, more recently coming to appreciate the soulful stylings of Adele and Sam Smith as more modern inspirations.
The combination of unmistakable talent and the buzz he was already creating through his YouTube presence and success on The Next Star brought him into the orbit of Danny Reiner and Canadian music mogul Chris Smith, who signed Ryland to a management deal, helping him land a spot on the prestigious 2017 Roots Sweat Style campaign which saw him making promotional appearances and performing shows at some of the biggest shopping centres in Canada throughout the year, as well as a few dates opening for the likes of Alessia Cara, Francesco Yates and Scott Helman.
All of this is leading to the highly original new music coming from the increasingly prolific collaboration between Ryland and a host of Canada's top songwriters and producers.
Good To You is an infectious song, with a melody that will stay with you for days. It's essentially a song about perseverance and appreciating the good things we have in life.
"It's about starting off in a dark place – a bad place. But then something brings you out of that place and it can be a person or something that you love, it can even be music. The song is talking about how you'll be good to them, because they were so good to you by bringing you out of that bad headspace. It's a pretty simple message, but one I think everyone can identify with," Ryland explained, adding that there is more of a sad tinge to Say Goodbye, which is set to be released towards the end of 2017.
"It's about a person who decides to break up with their partner but once they do, they realize how good it was and they want to have a chance to talk to them again and rekindle that relationship. But it's too late: the other person has moved on or they've even got someone new in their life. So the song is about accepting the reality of that, mourning the lost opportunity but choosing to finally move on."
Dedicated to his craft and his audiences, Ryland continues to hone his already considerable vocal prowess and songwriting chops as he begins to elevate his career and his talent to the next level and beyond.
His humble, truly authentic demeanour which is the product of a close-knit family and small-town living, will always exist in lockstep with his indefatigable work ethic and creative spirit, marking him as an artist who is both very real, very inspiring and who will ultimately be very successful.