Peguis First Nation’s William Prince to take centre stage at storied Grand Ole Opry

William Prince says his dad would be over the moon to hear his son is making his debut on one of the biggest stages: The legendary Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. 

“If my dad hadn’t passed, he would probably have died of happiness with all the things that are going on around me.”

Since his 2017 Juno Award for contemporary roots album of the year, Prince’s career has skyrocketed, getting him on big stages and sold-out venues, with his fourth album to be released in April.

The Grand Ole Opry is one of country music’s biggest stages, which has been graced by some of country music’s greats, like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Dolly Parton. Now Prince is about to take centre stage.

“You get backed up by the Grand Ole Opry house band, which my hands are already shaking a little bit thinking about, but I’m going to bring my best and hold my own I hope,” he told Marcy Markusa on CBC Manitoba’s Information Radio.

“You stand in a place where real music history has been and lived and breathed long before you and long after.”

A large crowd in a theatre watches a stage as seen from a high balcony.
Country music fans watch a performance during a broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn. Manitoban William Prince will perform there on Feb. 18. (Mark Humphrey/The Associated Press)

He just concluded a two-month tour of the East Coast and played at sold-out venues like the Rebecca Cohn auditorium in Halifax and the Burton Cummings Theatre at home in Winnipeg, where it was neat to finally headline after having played there as an opening act, he said. 

He said it was great to see the crowds singing the words of his songs back to him. 

After his release of his first album in 2015, he appreciates the positive spiral of his career.

“I’ve stared down depression and anxiety and self-doubt,” he said.

“Joy can find its way and it can fulfil you and bring happiness.”

William prince is performing.
William Prince performs at Massey Hall. (Jag Gundu / Massey Hall)

The Selkirk, Man., born singer, who grew up on Peguis First Nation, has lived off reserve more than he lived on, but still finds time to visit frequently. Winnipeg is now his home.

“I will still always love the Peguis First Nation for what it gave me, what they made me.”

Prince is more nervous about what his outfit will look like than actually singing his songs on the Grand Ole Opry stage on Feb. 18.

He plans to perform two newly released singles from his fourth album, Stand in the Joy. The musicians include big names like Chris Stapleton and Brandi Carlile, and it was produced by Dave Cobb. 

When You Miss Someone comes from a place of pain and appreciation of the ordeal of losing someone and being thankful to have had the time shared with them. 

The second single, Tanqueray, basks in the excitement of new love and a changed focus of what life is now and what’s to come in the future

Information Radio – MB12:17William Prince prepares to perform at the Grand Ole Opry

Performing on the Grand Ole Opry stage is but a dream for many musicians, but that dream is becoming a reality for a local musician. Marcy Markusa speaks with William Prince about his upcoming performance and highly-anticipated fourth album.

“I’ve always tried to bring the same sincerity and realness and truth and happiness [to the stage],” he said.

“I am readying myself for that first breath on stage and just go there and sing the way I have in every other place.”

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