Ontario singer-songwriter Ryland James is this month’s ‘One To Watch’ artist!



Originally from Deseronto, Ontario, a 2-hour drive from Toronto and a town with less than 2,000 people, Ryland began singing as soon as he could talk and it was his grandmother’s gospel influence that inspired him to sing like a mini Michael Jackson.  At the age of 19, Ryland caught the attention of Chris Smith, legendary music manager and signed him to 21 Entertainment, a partnership with Universal Music Canada.  Since then, Ryland has released two singles: ‘Good To You’ and ‘Say Goodbye.’  Ryland explains, “I love to stand at the front of the stage and just sing.  There are no bells or whistles about it.  It’s simple in that respect; I love being a singer.  I want to continue to develop my voice.” 



Singing isn’t Ryland’s only passion – so are sports.  Ryland’s parents are both hockey players and eventually, Ryland began playing soccer, track & filed and hockey at a young age but, according to his parents, singing has always been his first love and by 10-years old, he knew exactly what he wanted, “I was watching Britain’s Got Talent and a kid around my age sang ‘Who’s Lovin You’ by The Jackson 5 and I really wanted to sing like that.  So, I tried, and I guess my family was blown away and said, ‘Keep at it.’  That was the turning point for me.”



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Chillin like a villain at Wonderland

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From hometown festivals to school musicals and posting covers online, Ryland found himself opening for Alessia Cara on tour during the spring, writing music and learning how to perform with instruments, such as the guitar and piano, “When all I could do was sing, I didn’t even understand how a structure of a song worked.  Once I started to learn chord progressions and melodies and what all the different parts were and basic music theory, I was able to start writing.  I especially took inspiration from Tori Kelly at that time with her songwriting and guitar playing.  It was the instrument that helped me get into songwriting.”


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Be back soon LA ??

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Ryland explains, “People tell me that my music really touched them and helps them feel that a situation they’re in is okay.  I hope I can get to a place where every single time I write that it affects people in that way.  I also want to get on big stages and perform my songs for the world.”  Expect Ryland’s full-length album to drop sometime in 2020.  “I’m envisioning an album that is definitely ballad driven, but I also want upbeat songs you can groove to,” says Ryland.



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