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Q&A with Ryland James, Emerging Artist | Sweatstyle Ambassador

Q&A with Ryland James, Emerging Artist | Sweatstyle Ambassador


From the town of Deseronto, Ontario, Ryland is an 18-year-old singer with a voice and soul well beyond his years. After being a finalist on the television series The Next Star in 2014, he began a YouTube channel where he performed covers of his favourite pop hits. Inspired by pop and soul, this rising talent has a confident and distinctive sound.

To celebrate this emerging Canadian talent and the opening of the new Roots Cabin flagship here at Yorkdale, we’ve asked Ryland a few questions about his thoughts on being apart of the Sweatstyle campaign and some of his favourite things about being Canadian.

What does it mean to you to be celebrated as one of Roots’ emerging Canadian artists?

I feel honoured to be a part of the Roots Sweatstyle campaign. I remember seeing last year’s campaign ads around the city promoting other Canadian artists, like Tyler Shaw and Scott Helman, and thinking about how cool it would be to see myself in their position. Now that I am in that position, it’s pretty surreal. I grew up wearing Roots along with all my friends and family, so to be representing such a great clothing company that I’ve known my whole life is a really mind-blowing thing to me. Great things have really happened for the previous featured emerging artists of this campaign so I can only hope the same is true for me.

Why do you think it is important to celebrate Canadian artists?

I feel like Canadian artists don’t always get the representation or recognition they deserve on a global level. There are so many talented people in this country right now that aren’t well-known domestically, let alone internationally, which is why I think it’s so important for companies like Roots to celebrate and promote rising Canadian talent. It adds to Canada’s international identity as a powerhouse in the world of music.

What is your favourite thing about being Canadian?

There are so many things that I love about being Canadian, but number one, I think, if how diverse and open and positive this country is. You don’t get that in every country you visit, so it’s nice to know that wherever you go in Canada, people are almost always going to be warm and inviting. Poutine and ketchup chips are also a plus.

If you had to wear one Roots item for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

Nothing beats a good, old-fashioned Roots hoodie. I pretty much live in them at home. Probably the most comfortable thing I own.

Who is your Canadian style inspiration? 

Good question! My style comes from a few different places, but I’m really into a lot of stuff The Weeknd wears. I usually see him in plain black outfits with a cool bomber or leather jacket. I like that he’ll throw interesting patterns over otherwise neutral jeans and a t-shirt. It’s simple but unique.

How would you define your own style?

I like to keep things simple. I wear a lot of neutral colours like black and grey with occasional subtle patterns. I might throw on plain black jeans with a t-shirt and bomber jacket, nothing too extravagant. I think with the amount of extreme fashion going on these days, sometimes plain and simple can stand out and be unique in its own way.

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