William Prince on 'borrowing from future happiness' to write new album, Reliever
Originally published on February 28, 2020.
William Prince's Juno-winning debut, Earthly Days, earned him international attention, and slots opening for musical icons like Neil Young and Buffy Sainte-Marie.
Prince, an Anishinaabe singer and songwriter from Peguis First Nation in Manitoba, has just released the much anticipated followup, Reliever.
Recorded in both Winnipeg and Nashville, Prince said the album came together in stages.
"It was written in real-time panic, I would say. It was written halfway through reflection, and finally at the point of revelation."
During the writing process, Prince was juggling a lot of emotional challenges.
"I was going through the loss of my dad, and estrangement and not really feeling like I was in a place to ever really have a relationship again," he recalled. "I don't want to understate just how tough things were."
Prince said he went back home to Peguis, lived with his mom for a year and took a job at the local radio station to keep his mind focused on something.
Borrowing from [my] future happiness was this idea that I would look to the future to when the darkness breaks.- William Prince
"Borrowing from [my] future happiness was this idea that I would look to the future to when the darkness breaks," Prince said.
He used this practice to help navigate the emotional difficulty, as he continued to write deeply personal songs and parent his son, Wyatt.
"Why not," he said when asked why he shares so much of himself in his music. "I think it's what we are most in need of today, is the willingness to be vulnerable and sincere, more than ever."
He said writing the album also gave him the opportunity to reframe the important relationship with his father, and allow himself to move on.
"It's about letting go of things and making room for the more present things. There are more interesting avenues then your father passed, that it didn't work out with your partner at the time. Let's reflect, seriously now, on the idea of joy. Let's look at the future now that it's here, vibrating and humming in front of you."
William Prince - Reliever
Neil Young - One of These Days
William Prince - The Spark
William Prince - The Great Wide Open
William Prince - That's All I'll Ever Become
William Prince - Wasted