19 year old singer-songwriter Ryland James made an appearance at Toronto’s very own Sony Centre (soon to be Meridian Hall) for Alessia Cara‘s sixth stop on her “The Pains of Growing” tour. The soulful pop singer has made a name for himself through singles “Say Goodbye” and “Good to You”. However, seeing him live brings about a new side of the singer as never seen before.
When Ryland graced the stage about an hour after doors opened, the crowd was very warm and animated to see the young musician. Known fans were excited and standing up on their seats of the opera-house modeled venue. Those not too familiar with Ryland were eager and curious to see what 2018 Grammy Winner for Best New Artist – Alessia Cara – saw in this artist to bring him along on her tour. Ultimately, Ryland delivered an unforgettable performance. Saying that the crowd was left impressed with his performance is an understatement. As early as the end of Ryland’s first song, the crowd was cheering loudly and genuinely excited. The ensemble of instruments that accompanied Ryland’s bold yet melodically sound vocals created a performance like nothing I have personally seen before. His vocals had the power of a contemporary opera, yet held the melodic and earworm-inducing nature of a modern pop song. Ryland, as a singer, is able to create songs that perfectly encompass the best parts of various types of music, creating a unique and fascinating style of artistry. When preforming these songs live, he is able to portray this just as good, if not better.
The Sony Centre is a 3000+ person venue and for the entirety of his set, Ryland was able to captivate the full attention and awe of the audience. Whether this have been with his ability to dazzle the audience with his voice or his ability to simultaneously sing while playing beautiful piano and guitar melodies, he was able to do something very few artists – let alone an opener – is able to accomplish. This performance ultimately solidified Ryland as a star in the making. It is only a matter of time before Ryland releases his debut project and then goes on his own headlining tour. When this happens, it will certainly be something that one does not want to miss.