Local Christian recording artist Ryan Tremblay to take stage at World Youth Day Panama

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PROVIDENCE — In a few months, local Christian recording artist Ryan Tremblay will be performing on a stage in Panama City, Panama.

Tremblay, 30, a Middletown resident who grew up in Coventry, has been invited to entertain the hundreds of thousands of young people who will be traveling from across the globe for World Youth Day 2019.

“It’s a real honor and I’m happy to be invited back,” said Tremblay, who performed at World Youth Day 2016 in Poland.

With his guitar, a full-piece band and background singers, Tremblay plans to perform songs from his second album, which will be released on Oct. 7.

“I feel a lot of gratitude for performing at World Youth Day,” Tremblay said. “It’s me being able to bring my talents and gifts to this stage, and that means a lot to me as well. Spiritually-speaking, this is all part of the great work of evangelization.”

World Youth Day 2019 — which will be held Jan. 22-27 — will also give Tremblay another opportunity to meet Pope Francis. Tremblay first met the pontiff in April 2014, when Pope Francis blessed him and his wife Elizabeth, who has since given birth to triplets, all boys.

Pope Francis was at World Youth Day 2016 and is expected to once again accompany the young faithful in Panama.

“To be alongside Pope Francis at this event is wonderful. It’s an honor for sure,” said Tremblay, who in 2016 performed in Krakow and Wadowice, the hometown of St. Pope John Paul II. In Wadowice, Tremblay performed for a crowd of more than 2,500 people.

“It was thrilling to get up there with my acoustic guitar and entertain people for an hour,” Tremblay said. “It was a lot of fun.”

This time around, Tremblay will be performing songs from his new album, entitled “Trust: An EP for Erica.” The album, a six-song collection, is dedicated to Tremblay’s sister, who died in 2015 from advanced Stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer.

Tremblay said his sister, Erica Shea, was 14 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors gave her a choice of keeping the baby or aborting in order to start her cancer treatments earlier.

“She courageously chose to keep her baby, even knowing that her chances of survival were lessened,” Tremblay said.

Erica gave birth to a baby girl in April 2015. She died two months later, on June 23, 2015.

“She really, in a way, laid down her life for her daughter,” said Tremblay, who sang “Amazing Grace” to his sister in her final moments. For that reason, Tremblay decided to have that hymn as the first song on his new album.

“It made sense for me as an artist to grieve through music and to put all my creative energy into this project,” Tremblay said. “And it’s been a blessing because I feel like Erica’s story is going to live on through this project.”

The album was produced by Rich Spillberg, a musical artist, guitarist and producer who has worked with musicians such as Josh Groban. Tremblay said and he Spillberg met in a hospital around the time both of their wives had given birth. The chance encounter led to a successful collaboration.

“It’s a very special project to me, and I’m really excited to release this to the world,” said Tremblay, who added that the album will have more of a radio-quality sound with advanced arrangements and orchestrations.

“It’ll contain songs that you might hear on K-Love,” Tremblay said, referring to a popular contemporary Christian radio station. Tremblay described his sound as contemporary Christian, with influences from Matt Maher, a Catholic recording artist, James Taylor and the Beatles.

Tremblay said he is excited to share the latest step in his musical journey with the World Youth Day audiences.

“You never know if you’re going to fit the bill with what the artistic director has in mind,” Tremblay said. “So I’m thrilled that they want me to return.”

For more information, visit Tremblay’s website at www.ryantremblaymusic.com