Thirteen-year-old singer/songwriter Ian Perry will be performing on Gabriola Island on Saturday (July 12).

Thirteen-year-old singer/songwriter Ian Perry will be performing on Gabriola Island on Saturday (July 12).

Age just a number for guitarist

Ian Perry performing regularly throughout Vancouver Island.

For most 13-year-olds going to a bar or pub is almost unthinkable, but for  singer/songwriter Ian Perry it is a common occurrence.

“In Vancouver it is more strict,” Perry said. “You’re not allowed to be in bars but in Nanaimo it’s pretty good.”

At the age of 13, Perry has already managed to perform to crowds at the Shark Club and the Roxy in Vancouver as well as a number of other venues on Vancouver Island, including the Queen’s and the Port Theatre.

On Saturday (July 12) Perry will be performing with Heather McLeod at the Silva Bay Pub on Gabriola Island.

Perry began his musical career three years ago after his father and brother inspired him to get involved with music.

“My dad and my brother both played music,” Perry explained. “So then I started taking drum lessons and then after about four months I switched to guitar.”

In 2012 Perry received the Royal Conservatory of Music provincial gold medal.

“It was my first year of doing classical guitar,” Perry said. “What you do is you go into a church and you’re one-on-one with an examiner and then you play your songs and they take notes.”

The award is given to those who score the highest provincial mark in a classical guitar level exam.

“I wasn’t expecting to get that high of a mark, but I got 95 per cent,” Perry said.

While the music scenes in Nanaimo and on Gabriola Island have been incredibly supportive to the youngster, Perry has experienced some moments where fellow musicians didn’t take him seriously at first because of his age.

He recalled a time when he needed to hire a band for a music festival.

“We got these two guys that were probably about 30-something and they didn’t really take it seriously at first because of my age,” Perry explained. “But once we got into  it they took it more seriously.”

Since then Perry hasn’t experienced any similar problems and is getting ready for his summer performances, which include a 15-minute set at Rotary Stadium for the B.C. Summer Games.

Perry also has big musical dreams.

“I want to get a scholarship at Berklee,” he said.

Ian Perry performs at the Silva Bay Pub on Saturday. For more information, please visit

arts@nanaimobulletin.comTwitter: @npescod