Philip Sayce

Philip Sayce

From the moment Philip Sayce first put his hands on a guitar neck, he never let go. Malcolm Gladwell theorized that “greatness” requires 10,000 hours of practical training. A teenage Sayce had easily surpassed this threshold when his hometown hero, legendary guitarist and multi-platinum artist Jeff Healey, caught Sayce playing a ferocious set, in downtown Toronto. Within a year, Sayce was touring internationally with Jeff Healey’s band and performing at the world’s most prestigious festivals. Since that time, Sayce has put in multiples of that 10,000 hours, recording and touring for four years with musical icon Melissa Etheridge, then launching a solo career and establishing a rabid fan base in Europe and beyond, opening shows for the likes of ZZ Top and Deep Purple. Sayce is a rare artist, a combination of outstanding songwriter, unparalleled guitarist, soulful singer, and electrifying performer.


PRS: You recently released a new record, The Wolves Are Coming, what was your primary inspiration while writing these songs?

Philip: My new album came together during the darkest moments of the pandemic and immediately following this unfathomable time. It’s really a diary of how I was experiencing the world around me, a way to process and express so many of the things I was feeling and witnessing going on around me. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to express myself through music, it is an extraordinary vehicle for healing and self-discovery. Music has certainly gotten me through some of the bleakest periods in my life and has helped me to find the light during turbulent times. I’m really grateful for the way this album has turned out. When I was creating it, wasn’t sure if there would be an opportunity to ever release these songs, so I’m definitely thankful to see this album cross the finish line and finally be released into the world.

PRS: What made you select “Black Moon” as the lead single for The Wolves Are Coming?

Philip: We had four singles that came out, and this track really seems to be resonating with listeners, which is great. Writing this song was a way for me to illustrate a lot of the raw deals that I’ve experienced in the music business, and a way to take the hurt and violating experiences and turn them into a heavy song. Ultimately, a vehicle for healing, recovery, self-discovery, and growth and a way to reclaim my personal power.


PRS: You have two West Coast gigs and a run of European dates scheduled in support of this new record, are there any plans to bring the tour back to North America later this year?

Philip: Yes, we will have some upcoming gigs in California and then in Europe, then in the Midwest of the United States, as well as the East Coast this Summer, and then work our way up into Canada in Ontario and Quebec before we head to The UK later in 2024. We’re working on adding new dates all the time and look forward to finding good people to collaborate with and add more shows in the US before we head back overseas.

PRS: Who are some of the guitarists who have had the biggest influence on your own playing?

Philip: I’ve always been fascinated by blues guitarists from a very young age. Jeff Healey, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins, B.B. King, Albert King, Freddie King, Magic Sam, and many more. I’m always listening to these artists and always learning new things from them. Music is a lifelong journey. So, I’m always keeping my ears, my heart, and my soul open, so I can learn to do better today than I did yesterday.


PRS: As a somewhat new addition to the PRS family, you seem to gravitate towards the Silver Sky. What is it that leads you to pick up this guitar versus alternative single coil options?

Philip: When I finally played a Silver Sky, I didn’t want to put it down. It’s one of those guitars that seems to work with you, moving in the direction you’re going in and working with you as a player. It really is an outstanding instrument. I’ve always been a single coil guy, as much as I love humbuckers, I always find myself gravitating toward a single coil guitar and if I want to make it beefier, I’ll run it through a Fuzz Face and get crazy with it. I’m very particular about the instruments I play and own, they have to resonate with me, inspire me, and speak to me at a very deep level. I consider my 60+ year old single coil guitars as transcending any brand name, as they are covered in my blood, sweat, and tears, and millions of miles over the last 20 years. They are completely personalized and unique to me and cannot be recreated. The PRS Silver Sky is a wonderful compliment to my vintage instruments, and I am looking forward to many adventures with them and continuing to bond with them in a personal way in years to come.


PRS: What do you love the most about your PRS guitars in general?

Philip: The consistency is really amazing. Across the three Silver Sky guitars that I own, all of them are inspiring, consistent, and a joy to play. As I mentioned above, these guitars really work with you and go with you, they are inspiring to play. They are extremely comfortable right out of the box without any modifications, the perfect weight, the neck shape is just right, and the pickups are wonderful, chimey, open, articulate, and also have some spank when needed. I just recorded some new music in the studio and the Silver Sky tracked amazingly well and blended brilliantly with my 60-year-old vintage guitars. They also stay in tune incredibly well, what more can I say!

Photo: © Adam Kennedy

Photo: © Natasha Cornblatt (live shots)