+the scene


Q&A: Serena Ryder
Written by Sarah Osman
Juno-award winning Canadian artist, Serena Ryder, is getting to release her latest album, Harmony on July 16. She most recently won the Juno for Best Adult Alternative album of the year, and her hit single, “Stompa,” was featured in Cadillac’s 2013 SRX commercial. Ryder’s music is one-of-a-kind, as it combines a fusion of jazz, blues, R&B, and folk. As I listened to Ryder’s sorrowful voice, I was reminded a bit of an even more bluesy version of Adele. My favorite track (beyond “Stompa") was “Fall”, which was a bit more upbeat than some of the other tracks. I think that we in America will be seeing a lot more of Ryder, and this is news worth celebrating!
Ryder and I chatted about her latest album, falling on stage at the Juno’s, and her next tour stops (yes, she’s coming to the States!):
YH: Tell us a bit about your new album, Harmony, and your new single “Stompa”.
SR: It was quite the process, actually. It’s the most excited I’ve been about a record, ever. I did 98% at my home studio and in my backyard. It was a real joy for me to make. It’s got a brand new sound. I feel really inspired by it. It’s got the best response I’ve ever received. I think it’s because it’s the best time I’ve ever had recording a record and performing. The single, “Stompa”, has been getting amazing, amazing responses from radio, from fans, crowds, etc. I think it’s because it’s a song that’s really positive, and it’s my ode to music. It speaks about how magical music can be. Life can be very hard, but if you let yourself dance and sing with a song, then everything can change. That simple message is pretty profound. 
YH: Congratulations on your recent Juno Award for Best Adult Alternative album of the year! How did it feel to win?
SR: I was blown away. It was a blur for me. I remember them saying my name, and I felt like I was gonna explode. It was so nerve-wracking. Not only was I standing in front of thousands of people in the stadium, I was standing in front of millions of people who were watching at home on TV. Having to speak and show my gratitude was difficult. I was so grateful. Your head is rushing, and there are so many thoughts going through your head, and you want to be able to thank everybody. I didn’t get a chance to thank everyone I wanted to. [laughs]I ran onto the stage, almost fell down, spewing out my thank-yous as fast as possible. It was crazy! My friend was presenting the award to me [Kevin Drew from Broken Social Scene], and he was saying "don’t fall, don’t fall!" while I was running up the stairs. It was really magical.
YH: Your song “Stompa” was recently featured on “American Idol”. How did you feel when you heard it on such a hit TV show?
SR: I found out that night. I got a bunch of texts from people, and I was like, “What? What just happened?” They played my song at the beginning of the show. It was kind of amazing.
YH: Who are some of your favorite musicians?
SR: I have a lot of musicians that I really love. I’ve always been a really big fan of pop music, like Coldplay, Ellie Goulding, and Alex Clare. I love a lot of old music, like Ella Fitzgerald. I love a lot of '90s music too, like TLC and Janet Jackson. I also really like dance music, I’m a big fan of anything that makes me want to move and dance. I have a playlist called “Get Pumped” that has a lot of artists like Timbaland and Katy Perry. I love Solange, she’s pretty amazing. Taylor Swift… I could go on and on. I like a lot of different kinds of music. That’s what I wanted to do with my new record. I have this really eclectic taste in music, so I wanted to do it all!
YH: What is next for you? (And when will you come do a tour in the States?)
SR: I have my first two shows in the states coming up soon! My NYC show is at the Bowery Ballroom on May 6, and my L.A. show is at the Troubadour on May 13th.
Keep up with all things Serena (and find out if/when she's coming to perform at a venue near you) by visiting her Official Website and following her on Facebook and Twitter!
- Sarah Osman, YH Staff