William Prince performs in The Current studio

William Prince performs "Breathless" from his album, "Earthly Days," live in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
William Prince performs in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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William Prince writes songs The Current's Bill DeVille describes as "songs you can hang your hat on." Inspired by such artists as Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen and Kris Kristofferson, Winnipeg-based William Prince wants to write songs that stand the test of time. "I'm trying to write music and tailor it with my voice, now that I'm comfortable with it," Prince says. "And with my writing style, will hopefully bring about songs that don't decay."

An unexpected affirmation came Prince's way in the form of a Juno Award, the vaunted Canadian music award that is on par with awards like a Grammy or Mercury Prize. "It's one of the most jarring things you can receive as a young songwriter in Canada," Prince explains. "It shook me awake, and it really felt like a sigh of relief, like I came through for a lot of people that had been putting their all into this with me and waiting on some kind of payoff with all the love in the world. It was really something."

Following the Juno Award, William Prince has been performing and touring even more. Prince recently visited The Current studio for a session hosted by DeVille. Prince is as much a conversationalist as he is a songwriter; listen to the complete session using the audio player above, and read excerpts from the interview below.

Interview Highlights

William Prince on where he draws subject matter for his songs:

It's really about the life you're living: my family, friends. I kind of stay in that area of things because they still fascinate me. And the changing environments, especially over the last three years, has really been something. I've been saying that the last three years is one song for the record I'm going to write when I'm about 50, I think.

I'm constantly writing, even if it's without the music, collecting images in a sense, to sort through them later and really trying to be present in every experience that I'm having. I'm very blessed to have so many opportunities to travel and be places and share with people and be inspired by their stories, and just the surrounding environments. It's really something to take in.

On being compared to Johnny Cash:

It's the quicker comparison, and I love it. His songs are pretty simple as far as songs go. I read this article on Johnny Cash's music … and it doesn't decay. It's like a Leonard Cohen or Kris Kristofferson; they just kind of last for the 50, 60 years they've been out there.

On his First Nations (Ojibwe and Cree) ethnicity:

I'm learning to embrace that, not see it as something that diminishes from this songwriter person I'm trying to build. I'm more eager for people to hear my music without having to attach any identity or heritage, because [Kris] Kristofferson's songs weren't questioned for his blood; they were for what he went through, his mettle, his everything. That's all I am; I'm just a person trying to put it out there to be taken apart in whichever way or accepted in whatever way, too. … I'm now embracing more of my culture and stuff. The medicine bag I wear on my chest was a gift and it became part of my everyday life, kind of like a safety thing.

On his future aspirations:

I think with the right stories and intent, you set your intention to do something with heart and meaning, and then whatever voice goes behind that too can become something loved and cherished by people. I'm in the business of writing hopefully good songs; [and] getting better. I think my best ones are to come yet.

On what he's most proud of:

The most exciting thing about me [is] I have a two-year-old son, and he's the best.

Songs Performed

"Leave It By The Sea"

Hosted by Bill DeVille
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Visuals by Nate Ryan
Web feature by Luke Taylor

External Link

William Prince - official site

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4 Photos

  • William Prince performs in The Current studio
    William Prince performs in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • William Prince performs in The Current studio
    William Prince performs in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • William Prince performs in The Current studio
    William Prince performs in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • William Prince performs in The Current studio
    Bill DeVille and William Prince pose for a photo in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)

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