A few hours outside of Toronto lies the quaint town of Deseronto in Eastern Ontario. A quiet town rocked by 17-year-old Ryland James Clark, better known as Ryland James. He’s ready to take his music to the big city while staying true to his small town roots. Ryland is packed and eager to take the world by storm, armed with his powerful vocals and guitar in hand.
As Ryland prepares to embark on this journey, he has his parents Andrew and Melissa to thank for the core values they have instilled in him. Being the son of two determined athletes who are also firm believers in the importance of pursuing dreams, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Ryland lives his life in the same fashion. His Dad was drafted to the National Hockey League (NHL), while his Mom, also an avid hockey player, competed for a spot on the Canadian Olympic hockey team. Being the older brother of two sisters, Ryland understands the importance of being a positive role model. A job he does not take lightly. He wants to continue to use his platform to spread a positive message while connecting with his audience. His family’s go get’em attitude further ingrains the importance of determination when reaching for the stars.
Family is at the heart of the Clark household and so is their love for music. It is safe to say that Ryland’s family has deep roots in music. His Great Grandfather, Ron, was renowned within their community for his involvement in the Gospel quartet at their church. His Grandmother, Karen, is a skillfully trained pianist and his Mom grew up playing the drums. It’s only fitting that Ryland gravitated toward writing and creating music from an early age. Music is a multi-generational trait within their talented family.
At the age of 10, Ryland found himself enthralled by the Jackson 5 classic, “Who’s Loving You,” and he thought, “This is something that I could do.” He began to perform the ballad in his living room in front of his first audience. His family sat in awe, captivated by his talent. Ryland was thrilled by their reaction but found himself wondering if a larger audience would greet him with the same enthusiasm. His family’s encouragement did not end that day; instead, they pursued an audition for Ryland on Canada’s Got Talent. Although, his audition was not accepted, he was not willing to give up. His unwavering determination led him to audition for The Next Star, a youth music competition on YTV. During this competition, Ryland proved to himself that he was destined to perform as the judges advanced him to the top 12. Eager to perform for the guest celebrity judges, Ryland beat out stiff competition each week before securing his place within the top 6 finalists. His charm and smooth vocals captured the attention of viewers nationwide. After weeks of giving it his all on the stage, he advanced to the show’s finale. It was during the finale that guest judge and renowned Canadian music producer, Mark Spicoluk (Avril Lavigne, SUM41) said to Ryland, “You are definitely born for the stage.” This professional endorsement further affirmed his talent.
His involvement with the competition was the ember that caught on fire, further igniting his passion for performing. Being a student in the music industry, Ryland listened carefully to the advice the judges shared with him. One of the most influential lessons they taught him was the importance of utilizing social media when building a brand. He continued to post videos on his social media platforms; including YouTube, Vine and Instagram. After realizing how integral social media is for emerging artists, Ryland dove in headfirst. It’s not uncommon to find thousands of views on his videos along with hundreds of comments.
With new fans emerging and his dedicated fan base from The Next Star rallying behind him, Ryland began strengthening his musical repertoire by teaching himself to play both the keyboard and guitar. He decided it was time to connect with his audience on a more personal level by putting his pen to the paper; an intimidating task for an emerging artist. However, once he began writing there was no stopping him. He unveiled his skillful lyricism with resounding support from his followers…a fan base that was eager for more Ryland.
In April 2016, one of Ryland’s contemporary influences, pop phenomenon, Shawn Mendes, sent him a nod of approval by tweeting, “…Checked out some of your covers! Keep it up man! Sounds great.” An accolade many young and aspiring artists only dream of receiving.
Another musician who has been amazed by Ryland is Juno nominated singer/songwriter, Tyler Shaw. After watching his covers online, Tyler knew he had stumbled across something big. Through social media, Tyler was able to connect with Ryland to initiate a writing session. Ryland, excited to further develop himself while growing his prominence, met with his now manager, Danny Reiner. Danny, who has over ten years of experience in the industry with with music mogul Chris Smith, brings an impressive resume to the table. His history working with and managing the careers of Alessia Cara, Francesco Yates, Fefe Dobson and Tyler Shaw, proved that he was the proper fit for Ryland and his growing stardom.
Within days of their introduction, Tyler and Danny began collaborating with the young artist. Tyler’s keen eye for talent and musical aptitude coupled with Danny’s ingenuity and business expertise ensure that they are the perfect team to help develop Ryland’s talent while staying authentic to the career he envisions for himself.
Ryland’s music is led by strong pop vocals and is reminiscent of Sam Smith and Shawn Mendes. His family’s deep roots in Gospel music bleeds through on a vocal level; however, you won’t necessarily find his music at church on a Sunday. The future is bright for this teenager and he is ready to take the next steps in his musical career. He states that he is the happiest when his music is bringing joy to others, a testament to his maturity and desire to share his music with audiences worldwide.
His hard work proves that music is his priority. Aside from completing his high school education, Ryland is investing his all into his career. With the unwavering support from his family, he is ready to forge ahead in the industry. Ryland is about to bring his small town values to the big city. “I want my music to evoke emotion. I want to be the voice guiding you through tough times and the voice that brings you joy. I want to be the person you can turn to.” His dreams are about to take flight and he’s ready to go big. With so much to achieve, he’s not ready to go home.