Building on the success of her 2006 record If Your Memory Serves You Well, Ontario singer-songwriter Serena Ryder is returning to the Maritimes in March for a show in Saint John. Her most recent effort is the full-length Is It OK, released last November via EMI Music Canada and has already attained Gold status in Canada for 40,000 copies sold.
In addition to having landed one of her songs on ABC’s Private Practice, Ryder was awarded the 2008 Juno Award winner for New Artist Of The Year. She walks a musical line somewhere between Alanis Morisette’s confessional rock ‘n’ roll and the more adult contemporary sounds of fellow Canuck Jann Arden.
Ryder has spent the past month on tour in the U.S., where Is It OK will see a physical release in the spring via Atlantic Records. When Ryder recently checked in from New Hampshire, the excitement in the affable Ryder’s voice was apparent.
“I’ve been playing solo acoustic shows here in the States and they’ve been going great. The response and the audiences have been amazing,”she says. “I like the format of the solo shows; there’s a lot of flexibility that allows me to change the set list up if I wanted to. Plus these kinds of shows are a great way to meet people and establish a closer rapport with them. That being said though, I’m really looking forward to getting my band backing me again,” she says with a laugh.
After having experienced heartache and heartbreak in the time leading up to and the recording of her new record, it’s only in the lyrics that you’ll find these emotions shining through. Musically, Ryder sounds energetic and full of life and seems grateful that listeners would see (and hear) beyond the sorrowful lyrics.
“I’m so glad people are picking up the excitement in the music itself. All in all, making the record was a very cathartic experience. When I was recording, it was being done with excitement and I’m glad listeners can hear that coming through and not just focusing on the lyrics that are a little sad. I truly felt like I was finally inside my own skin and for the first time, I felt like I wasn’t trying to run away from how I was feeling.” In a day and age where pop artists are as disposable as this week’s trash, the fact that success has greeted Ryder so early in her career isn’t lost on the artist. Instead of aiming for 15 minutes of fame, Ryder is clearly in this for the long haul and is intent on building her career brick by brick to help ensure longevity.
“The fact my record is gold already is just insane,” Ryder enthuses. “And I think I can continue to be successful by building that rapport with the audience through my live shows. In my opinion, it’s all about building that direct connection with people; it’s the most important thing to me and I think it plays a big part in selling records as well. Fans respect you for sharing your message in the most honest way possible.”
Luckily, Ryder will have plenty on her plate in the upcoming year to keep her busy. Aside from the aforementioned upcoming release of her record in the U.S., Ryder plans on continuing to travel throughout Canada and the U.S. during summer’s busy music festival season prior to embarking for the U.K. in the fall.
As successful as Ryder has already been in her career, her attitude remains humble to say the least and this is always a refreshing trait to hear in an artist. Wrapping up her interview, Ryder comments: “I feel 100 per cent blessed to be where I’m at and be able to live my passion. A lot of people have to do a lot of things they don’t want to do everyday and I don’t believe that anybody should have to do that.”
Serena Ryder will be performing at The Blue Olive in Saint John on Thursday, March 19. If you don’t already have tickets, listening to her records will have to do as the show is sold-out as of press time.