If all you do today is listen to Canadian singer/songwriter William Prince, then today is a good day.
For American Songwriter’s Behind the Mic series, Prince played a soulful set and declared that he would play “until they shut the internet off.” This love for life and music radiates off of him. And it becomes obvious that he carefully embeds part of himself into each one of his songs.
All of the music he played for American Songwriter came from two albums. His 2015 album, Earthly Days, as well as his more recent release, Reliever, that debuted in February 2020, were put on full display with exclusive access. Prince continued strumming and began to explain the stage he built for his songs.
For example, Prince grabbed “[‘The Carny’] right outta real life.” Inspiration struck when Prince found himself in the oddly unique position of watching his best friend join the local carnival.
“One of my dearest friends… he moved to the city, Winnipeg, some years ago from the reserve… that’s where I grew up and we lived there. [We] went to high school together. But he ended up joining this crazy traveling carnival that goes all around the inner lake of Manitoba settin’ up those rides.”
Prince continued, “I drove him out to this worksite to go join the circus essentially all summer… He came back and he told me a few things about it. This song coulda been 20 verses long, but this is for my good friend.”
“The Carny” succeeds in telling this eccentric anecdote with verses like, “Cause by the end of it/ The Tilt-a-whirled and the Zipper zipped/ And he had both hands in it/ From sun up until they tore down.”
And it maintains a colloquial joking tone: “Buzzing lights and the mosquitoes bit/ Thought for sure that he’d quit.”
But the most impressive part of “The Carny” is how the chorus lingers with you. It stays with you like the memories of the summers from your youth.
Another equally impressive song, “Wasted,” also comes from a personal place for Prince. And before he began to play, Prince informed his audience that he wrote this song for his young son, Wyatt.
Prince elaborates, “[‘Wasted’] started rooted in the idea that I was always so well supported by my parents. They would’ve supported anything I wanted to do in this life, and I’m returning the favor to [my son]. Whatever he chooses, I hope that he’s fulfilled by it, feels purposeful every day when he wakes up, [and it] puts a smile on his face. And I love to add the ‘finding the thing you love to do and let it kill you.’ That’s what this is.”
Then Prince begins to play, and you can hear the tone of a watchful, yet hopeful, father. He sings, “I’ll love you for whatever it is/ Just don’t let a day go wasted/ Don’t wanna let a day go wasted.”
Find the thing that you love to do and waste away doing it.
I couldn’t think of anything more beautiful.
If you dig what you hear, order his latest album here.