Canadian songstress, guitar player, and Juno winner Serena Ryder, is on her way to getting national recognition. Her crossover single, “Stompa” has reached platinum status, speaks the truth of who we are as individuals, and its positive chorus is finally changing today’s superficial lyrical climate. Her bluesy rock sound that’s been dominating the Canadian music scene for the better part of the last decade is slowly translating to American Top 40 with a little help from television and her loyal Canadian audience.
Serena Ryder plays Bowery Ballroom here in NYC on Monday, May 6. She recently had a chance to speak with me about her imminent crossover, her large back catalogue, and why Canadian music rocks.
Do you think your single, “Stompa”, off the upcoming US album release of Harmony, is taking you to new heights?
Yes, for sure. It’s been amazing. I feel like I’m having such a good time with it because it’s such positive song. It makes people very happy.
“Stompa” has been featured on Grey’s Anatomy and Mobwives among many other U.S. shows.
Yes and it was on American Idol just last night in the beginning credits. I have been getting tweets and messages from all my friends because of it.
It’s been amazing—it’s like you see movies and TVs and it seems like a fantasy world, then you have your own world and that seems to be more reality. Then I hear my song that I wrote on these gigantic shows seems to be surreal. It feels like it’s another doorway into another world.
There’s a lot of You Tube comments that say you sound like Adele.
I haven’t read them, but I have that heard that a lot, probably because we have similar influences. We are young women with big voices. We both love Etta James and old school singers.
I read that the R&B trio TLC was also an influence on you.
Yes! I loved CrazySexyCool—it saved me on this long road trip with my family from Toronto to Las Vegas. I know the entire CD from front to back.
You have a large back catalogue that spans well over a decade. How do you know what to play live?
Well right now I do mostly new stuff. As an artist, you would want to play new stuff, especially in new markets. It’s fresh and a lot of artists think their new stuff is their best stuff.
Do you find a lot people connecting to your new material?
I do! I find a lot of people singing the words to the new songs. There are a lot of younger girls and guys singing along to every word to every song and that is a huge, huge compliment—it’s pretty amazing.
How important were the visuals to the video for the single “Stompa”?
Usually they are very important. The video incorporates all the important strengths of oneself. The storyline for the video is about this young girl, who is basically hitting the mark with the arrow. It’s about being strong and standing up for yourself. We incorporated that just through the bow and arrow.
The four different symbols in the video are earth, air, fire, and water. It honors all the parts to yourself and that there’s so much more than you give yourself credit for and that is theme of the video.
You were nominated for two Junos this year—Single of the Year for “Stompa” and Best Adult Alternative Album for Harmony and you walked away with a Juno from the latter.
I was so excited! I got to see all my friends and peers that I have not seen in a while. It was a time to celebrate and I think Canada has one of the best music scenes in the world. I’m very proud to be from Canada.
Looking back on your career, would you have done everything different?
Absolutely not. If I can change anything it would be the lessons that I learned that I know now. That’s the true meaning of insanity—I would have, could have, or should have. You wouldn’t, couldn’t, and you can’t, so what’s the point?