Local singer/songwriter Ryan Langlois has landed in the top three of the Project WILD – with the chance of netting $100,093 towards his dream recording project.
But he’s already won in a way – by making it into the top three, he will receive at least $50,000 should he take third.
Second place receives $75,000.
The other finalists are The Prairie States of Edmonton and Calgary’s Leaving Thomas and the final choice of who receives what will be announced Nov. 24th.
Whatever happens, Langlois is thrilled with the outcome of the months-long experience of taking part in Project WILD. Presented by Alberta Music and WILD 953, the initiative is a full-fledged series of opportunities that help to meld an artist in their creative journey.
“It was really overwhelming in a great way,” he said of hearing the tremendous news. “I’ve been working for 15 years for an opportunity like this, really, so it’s just so gratifying.
“Basically I’m going to be able to make the album of my dreams that I’ve been thinking about for many years, and have the opportunity to promote it properly, which is what is really hard for independent artists,” he noted. “You can make great music but it costs so much money to properly put it out into the world. So it’s going to allow me to do that.”
As to the Project WILD experience in itself, first off, each artist participating receives a $5,000 development award along with an invite to take part in Project WILD’s career-changing music industry boot camp – an intense one-week workshop to further their skills in performance, songwriting, marketing, media strategy, music business, music accounting, tour strategy and social media.
“It brings your dream and your artistic vision into focus, because it makes you really look at what you are doing and what you want to do. It also makes you look at maybe what you shouldn’t be doing. Their purpose is to help you focus on what you truly want to be doing – what your true voice is. And so, it’s been months of dialing that in and all of the tasks that they put before you are all meant to bring that all into focus.”
Following a series of showcase events and public voting, the top three artists of the season are eventually chosen.
Langlois has been described as the kind of artist who can, “turn ordinary moments into lessons in wisdom and grace.”
An interest in music came early on but he didn’t really pick up a guitar until his early 20s.
“My dad would pluck the guitar around the campfire, but nobody really played instruments in the house. It wasn’t until I was 22 when I picked up a guitar,” he recalled of that time, just shortly after his son was born. “It was in that time that this dream of making music was born.
“I really wanted to be a songwriter and to perform onstage. From the very beginning, I learned a few songs by some of my heroes and then started writing right away. I was also taking every opportunity I could to perform,” he explained.
Looking ahead, he hopes to hit the road with his new project and travel across the country introducing his music to a broader audience.
“I want to share the songs, the messages. I’ve been telling my producer it’s going to be a ‘heavy, hopeful’ album with some weight to the song lyrics but with this hope infused in it.
“It’s such a rush – there’s just this energy that comes,” he said of performing. “It’s funny, because I’m an introverted person in my day to day life, but the second I step on stage, something happens. I just love it. It’s hard to explain, because I almost become somebody else,” he laughed.
As mentioned, in the final step of the program, the top three artists will hit the stage once more at Knoxville’s Tavern in Calgary on Nov. 24th for the program finale, where the Top Awards will be handed out.
“I’ve just been putting together the set for the show that night, and we’re going to make the most out of it. I’m just thinking about finishing strong … and play the show of my life on the 24th and see where the road leads.”