Serena Lauren Ryder (born December 8, 1982) is a Canadian singer-songwriter. Born in Toronto, she grew up in Millbrook, Ontario. Ryder first gained national recognition with her ballad "Weak in the Knees" in 2007 and has released eight studio albums.
|Birth name||Serena Lauren Ryder|
|Born||December 8, 1982|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Origin||Peterborough, Ontario, Canada|
|Genres||folk rock, indie rock, jazz, pop rock|
|Occupation(s)||Singer-songwriter, music producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, drums|
|Associated acts||Melissa Etheridge, Hawksley Workman|
Early life and musical interestEdit
Serena Lauren Ryder is the daughter of Barbara Ryder and Glen Sorzano and was born into a musical family. Her biological father was a Trinidadian musician who immigrated to Canada in the early sixties. Her uncle, the part-Ojibwe singer-songwriter Bob Carpenter, worked with producer Brian Ahern and singer Emmylou Harris and recorded the unreleased Silent Passage (1974), which has since become a folk- rock cult classic. Ryder, youngest of three children, was raised by Barbara and her second husband, Andrew McKibbon, just outside Peterborough, in Millbrook, Ontario, and grew up listening to old records by the Beatles and Leonard Cohen from her parents' collection. At age eight, Ryder sang at Royal Canadian Legion halls and motor hotels. Having received a guitar from her stepfather, she began playing the instrument at the age of thirteen. Songwriting efforts followed. At fifteen, she was playing classic and folk tunes with her piano teacher in coffeehouses and legion halls.
At age 17, Ryder left her home for Peterborough, Ontario, where she settled into a community of artists while attending the Integrated Arts Program at the Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational Institute.
In early 1998, Damon de Szegheo, record producer and owner of the Peterborough based independent record label Mime Radio, approached her about recording. de Szegheo had noticed her when she sang during a set change for a local stage production of Gone with the Wind. The product of their sessions was a self-titled promotional cassette, Serena (limited to a run of 100) and her first full-length CD, Falling Out, released in December 1999.
During that time, de Szegheo also organized live concert appearances for Ryder, with many local and touring acts including bands Thousand Foot Krutch, Three Days Grace (Then named Groundswell) and Craig Cardiff.
Ryder was later managed by Kellie Bonnici. Bonnici approached Ryder with an offer to help her after being moved by her performance at the 2001 Peterborough Folk Festival, where Ryder was awarded the Festival's first “Emerging Artist” award. This award enabled Ryder and Bonnici to attend a regional music festival conference and make some initial connections. Bonnici worked with Ryder to release Live at the Market Hall and A Day in the Studio in 2002.
While Ryder was playing her first show at the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec, owner Paul Symes called Bill Stunt, the producer of the CBC Radio program Bandwidth, and left a voice mail of the live show. This led Stunt and Symes to invite Ryder for a performance recorded by CBC Bandwidth at the Black Sheep Inn. The recording was later released as a live EP, Serena Ryder Live.
Ryder was invited by Erin Benjamin (then the president of the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals) to perform in Winnipeg at a regional music conference. There her manager, Bonnici, met the CBC radio host Avril Benoit during one of Ryder's showcases. They later arranged an interview for Ryder on CBC's Here and Now, which caught the attention of the musician Hawksley Workman and Sandy Pandya, who was then his manager. After initial meetings with Workman and Pandya, Ryder was invited to record on Workman's Isadora label. Shortly thereafter, Ryder and Bonnici amicably parted ways, and Ryder began working with Pandya in 2004.
In 2005, Isadora Records released Live in Oz, a recording from Ryder's tour of Australia, in limited numbers available only at live performances.
2005–2007: Early singlesEdit
In 2005, backed by Workman and two other players, Ryder recorded her debut album with a major label, Unlikely Emergency. The album did well enough to earn Ryder a performance at the 2005 Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame press conference, after which it was suggested she cover songs written by other Canadian musicians. Meanwhile, the poignant song "Just Another Day" got considerable airplay on various Canadian radio stations. In November 2006, Ryder released her second album, If Your Memory Serves You Well, a collection of 12 covers of notable Canadian songs and three original songs. The tracks include Sylvia Tyson's “You Were On My Mind”, Leonard Cohen's "Sisters of Mercy", Galt MacDermot's "Good Morning Starshine" the Bob Dylan–Rick Danko collaboration "This Wheel's on Fire", and Paul Anka's "It Doesn't Matter Any More."
The EP Told You in a Whispered Song, released on June 19, 2007, is an acoustic studio collection of several live tracks and new songs by Ryder. Touring in Canada, Ryder was part of Blast From The Beach in Prince Edward Island on July 21, 2007 headlined by Aerosmith and featuring other notable bands, including 54-40 and Cheap Trick. Touring in Australia that same year, Ryder appeared as a guest on SBS's RocKwiz in March, where she displayed an authoritative knowledge of rock music, singing song segments in answer to questions presented to her; she also performed in the closing guest spot, with Lior.
2008–present: Critical acclaim and chart successEdit
In April 2008, Ryder found herself receiving the 2008 Juno Award for "Best New Artist of the Year" while on the label EMI. On November 11, 2008, Is It O.K., was released in Canada on EMI Canada and on Atlantic Records in the United States on February 11, 2009. The single "Little Bit of Red", which won a Juno Award in 2010 for Best Video of the Year, was released on that album. As well, "All for Love", which appears on Is It O.K. and the EP Sweeping the Ashes, was featured in an episode of ABC television's Private Practice. In Canada, Is It O.K. won the Juno Award for Adult Alternative Album of the Year in 2009. In the United States, the album got a warm reaction and Ryder furthered her foray into the U.S. by recording the duet "You Can Always Come Home" with American Idol Jason Castro on his debut album. In May 2009, Ryder appeared on Bruce Springsteen's official website, covering his song "Racing in the Street". The video was part of the "Hangin' on E Street" feature of his website. That year, her song "Sing, Sing" was selected for Music Monday, a special event to highlight music education in Canada, for which nearly two million Canadian schoolchildren sang the song in class on May 5.
In July 2010, Ryder joined the lineup of Lilith Fair along with Sara Bareilles, Jill Hennessy, Emily Robinson, and Martie Maguire. On February 19, 2011, Ryder toured with Melissa Etheridge across Canada. Ryder's song "Broken Heart Sun" was performed as a duet with Etheridge, and a recording was released on her EP Live. Ryder performed "Broken Heart Sun" with Etheridge at the Juno Awards that same year. In 2011, Ryder fell in love, and it inspired her for her fifth studio album, Harmony. Over 65 songs were written for the album; “[i]t feels like it's the first time I've written ...in love”, she said.
After writing more songs while in Los Angeles with Jerrod Bettis and Jon Levine, Ryder released Harmony on November 27, 2012. The first single "Stompa", co-written with Bettis, was used in an episode of ABC television's Grey's Anatomy, quickly climbed the charts, and became certified platinum in January 2013. In the United States, less than two months after its release, it was at number 14 on the charts. In Canada, Ryder became the first Canadian artist to be number one on the CBC's Radio 2 Top 20 chart, days after the release of Harmony. “Stompa” was played in four radio station formats: Modern Rock, Hot AC, Top 40 and Adult Contemporary. Ryder's song "What I Wouldn't Do" is used in the promotional video for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Ryder performed at the opening night of Luminato Festival on June 14, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario. She also performed in Calgary, Alberta on July 6, 2013 as part of the Calgary Stampede. On July 17, 2013, Ryder made her late night show debut, performing "Stompa" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In 2014, Ryder performed O Canada for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game. She also provided vocals for the song "In The Morning" on the fifth studio album by Canadian rock band, The Trews. In March 2014, Ryder co-hosted the Juno Awards, and won Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. In May 2015, Ryder recorded "Together We Are One", the official theme song for 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation movie - "Inside Out". The song reached #1 on the Radio 2 Top 20 the week of July 17, 2015. She performed at the Pan Am Games Closing Ceremony.
In August 2015, Ryder performed on CBC TV's "Quietest Concert Ever on the Ocean Floor", which took place on the ocean floor during low tide at Fundy National Park in New Brunswick, Canada. During this pre-recorded concert documentary (also available to stream on YouTube), she performed songs from her upcoming album titled Utopia. The televised broadcast of this concert was on September 25, 2015. On June 24, 2016, Ryder released the single "Got Your Number" and dropped her sixth studio album Utopia on May 26, 2017, containing 17 songs. The EP Electric Love was released the same day for the U.S. and European markets but not in Canada. Utopia's first single was "Electric Love."
On March 9, 2018, Ryder's song "Be the Ones" was chosen to be the official theme song for 2018 Arctic Winter Games. On April 6, 2018, Ryder released her single "Famous" featuring Simon Ward of The Strumbellas for the US market. Co-written with Simon Wilcox and Simon Ward, "Famous" is a song about society being obsessed with social media and people trying to achieve fame solely for the sake of being famous. On September 9, Ryder was invited for a duet with Brett Kissel at the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Awards in Hamilton. The CCMA Awards was hosted by Shania Twain. On September 23, Ryder started hosting her own radio program, The Serena Ryder Radio Show on CHFI-FM, which aired across Canada for eight weeks. On September 12, 2019, Ryder and her longtime manager Sandy Pandya co-launched ArtHaus, a collaborative space and recording studio aiming to promote emerging talent.
Artistry and activismEdit
Praised for her arsenal of technical skills, she "delivers in a commanding, often melismatic style that enchants." Reviews have compared her to "the teenaged Aretha Franklin" (Elle), noting her "impressive fearlessness" (Boston Globe), lauding her "pipes, presence [and] potential" (No Depression), and observing that "Ryder brings a range and vocal maturity of someone twice her age" (American Songwriter).
On August 11, 2018, Ryder was one of the artists invited to join Billy Talent for the #TorontoStrong benefit concert following the Danforth shooting on July 22, 2018. On April 4, 2018 Ryder received the Margaret Trudeau Mental Health Advocacy Award for her work with mental health. On October 19, 2019 Ryder joined the roster of artists who performed for the benefit concert Secret Path at Roy Thompson Hall. Secret Path is a recreation of the 2016 multimedia performance by the Tragically Hip's lead singer Gord Downie on the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old Ojibwe boy who died while escaping a residential school in 1966. The proceeds go to promote reconciliation.
|If Your Memory Serves You Well||—||—||—||—|
|Is It O.K.||
|The Art of Falling Apart||
- Serena (1999)
- A Day at the Studio (2002)
- Told You in a Whispered Song (2007)
- Sweeping the Ashes (2008)
- Serena Ryder & the Beauties 12" Vinyl (2011)
- Electric Love (2017)
- Live at the Market Hall (2002)
- Serena Ryder Live (2003)
- Live in Oz (2005)
- Live in South Carolina (2011)
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|"Good Morning Starshine"||2006||84||—||—||If Your Memory Serves You Well|
|"Weak in the Knees"||44||—||—||
|"Calling to Say"||2007||40||—||—||Non-album single|
|"Little Bit of Red"||2008||82||—||—||Is It O.K.|
|"All for Love"||—||—||29|
|"What I Wanna Know"||2009||—||—||—|
|"Broken Heart Sun" (with Melissa Etheridge)||2011||—||—||—||Live|
|"What I Wouldn't Do"||2013||8||8||—||
|"Mary Go Round"||—||—||—|
|"Together We Are One"||2015||—||—||—||Non-album single|
|"Got Your Number"||2016||62||19||—||
|"Be the Ones"||2018||—||—||—||Non-album singles|
|"Famous" (featuring Simon Ward)||—||—||—|
|"Christmas Kisses"||—||—||—||Christmas Kisses|
|"Candy"||2020||—||—||—||The Art of Falling Apart|
|1.||"Bodies and Minds" (with Great Lake Swimmers), (Lost Channels, 2005)||3:48|
|2.||"Your Rocky Spine" (with Great Lake Swimmers), (Ongiara, 2007)||3:36|
|3.||"That's No Way To Say Goodbye" (with Adam Cohen), 2008)||4:06|
|4.||"Heart of Gold" (with Lior), 2008)||3:17|
|5.||"Everything is Moving So Fast" (with Great Lake Swimmers), (The Legion Sessions, 2009)||4:09|
|6.||"So Ready" (with Milosh Pfisterer), 2009)||4:33|
|7.||"You Can Always Come Home" (with Jason Castro), (Love Uncompromised, 2009)||3:19|
|8.||"Stones Under Rushing Water" (with NEEDTOBREATHE), (The Outsiders, 2009)||3:19|
|9.||"Lonely In Columbus" (with Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers), (The Bear, 2010)||4:23|
|10.||"Walk That Way" (with Jimmy Rankin), (Forget About The World, 2011)||3:38|
|11.||"Broken Heart Sun" (with Melissa Etheridge, 2011)||3:33|
|12.||"My Heart Has Wings" (with Aengus Finnan) (North Wind, 2011)||4:25|
|13.||"Black Sheep" (with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings) (Kings and Queens, 2011)||3:05|
|14.||"If I Can't Have You" (with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings) (Kings and Queens, 2011)||5:28|
|15.||"Walking On Water" (with Johnny Reid) (Fire It Up, 2012)||3:45|
|16.||"All Over Again" (with Jerry Leger) (Some Folks Know, 2012)||3:04|
|17.||"Beat This Heart" (with Tim Chaisson) (The Other Side, 2012)||3:01|
|18.||"When You Know" (with Matt Epp) (Learning To Lose Control, 2013)||4:20|
|19.||"Heart of Gold" (with Gord Downie), 2013)||3:17|
|20.||"I'm Alive" (with Michael Franti & Spearhead), 2013)||3:43|
|21.||"Uh-Oh" (with Jeremy Fisher) (The Lemon Squeeze, 2014)||3:24|
|22.||"In The Morning" (with The Trews) (The Trews, 2014)||4:33|
|23.||"To Love Somebody" (with Bobby Bazini) (Where I Belong, 2014)||5:01|
|24.||"Counting Stars" (with One Republic), 2014)||5:01|
|25.||"Hard Love" (with NEEDTOBREATHE) (Hard Love, 2016)||3:24|
|26.||"Happy Xmas (War is Over)" (with Shawn Hook) 2017)||3:05|
|27.||"Famous" (with Simon Ward), 2018)||4:18|
|28.||"Walk In The Park" (with Colin Macdonald), 2018)||3:05|
|29.||"What I Wouldn't Do" (with Brett Kissel), 2018)||3:39|
|30.||"Mary Go Round" (with Melissa Etheridge), 2019)||3:39|
- "The Hour" with George Stroumboulopoulos, November 12, 2008
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- "Coming Up On The Serena Ryder Show: Melissa Etheridge Chats With Serena! - KiSS 100.5 North Bay". Kissnorthbay.com.
- "Melissa Etheridge Talks About Cruise With Serena Ryder". Iheartradio.ca.
- "An idol in the making: Serena Ryder opens up on depression and a music career poised for greatness" – via The Globe and Mail.
- Media, Montreal Gazette (March 1, 2007). She Put a New Spin on an Old Song.
- Torontoist (December 28, 2013). "Historicist: Sounds of Home II". Torontoist. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
- "The Tradewinds". www.panontheweb.com. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
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- Peterborough Folk Festival Emerging Artist Award. Peterborough Folk Festival.
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- "Sara Bareilles and Serena Ryder Photos Photos: 2010 Lilith Fair - Camden, NJ". Zimbio.com.
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- Ahearn, Victoria (November 28, 2012). Singer-Songwriter Serena Ryder Finds Broad Appeal with New Album, Harmony. Canada.com. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
- Lau, Melody (December 7, 2012). Serena Ryder, Harmony: Ex-Folkie's New Album is Adele-Meets-Black Keys. Spinner.ca.
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- "Radio 2 Top 20, July 17th: Barenaked Ladies, Glen Hansard debut, Serena Ryder at #1!". CBC Music, July 17, 2015.
- "Serena Ryder's Quietest Concert Ever draws hundreds to Bay of Fundy". Retrieved September 26, 2015.
- Serena Ryder | Quietest Concert Ever, YouTube, retrieved September 26, 2015
- "FIRST LOOK: Serena Ryder Returns with Kaleidoscopic New 'Electric Love' Music Video". People.com.
- Desk, TV News. "Serena Ryder Announces U.S. Summer Tour". BroadwayWorld.com.
- Idobi, Album review - Electric Love EP, Retrieved August 16, 2017
- "Serena Ryder's Be the Ones chosen as theme song for 2018 Arctic Winter Games - CBC News". Cbc.ca. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
- "Famous (feat. Simon Ward) - Single by Serena Ryder". Itunes.apple.com. April 6, 2018. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
- "James Barker Band, Jessica Mitchell and Serena Ryder Announced as performers for the 2018 CCMA Awards". Retrieved September 10, 2018.
- "Rogers Radio taps singer-songwriter Serena Ryder to host national show". Retrieved September 27, 2018.
- "Music News Digest, Sept. 11, 2019". FYIMusicNews. September 11, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
- "Serena Ryder brings kisses in her return to Victoria". Monday Magazine. November 1, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
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- "Serena Ryder likely to pack 'em in at Butchart Gardens". Times Colonist. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
- "Regina music veteran given award at Canadian Music Week | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
- Booka Shade, DeVotchKa, MGMT, Serena Ryder, Steel Train Archived November 11, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Chicago Innerview.
- Serena Ryder concert sold out at St. Lawrence acoustic stage. Morrisburg Leader. September 21, 2011.
- "Teenage shooting victim attends sold-out Danforth benefit concert". Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- "Toronto stays strong at Danforth fundraiser with Billy Talent, City and Colour and special guests. Here's what happened". Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- "Serena Ryder honoured at 'Mad About Margaret's'". Toronto.ctvnews.ca. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
- Nick Krewen (October 18, 2019).Gord Downie’s Indigenous-issues mission to be carried on at star-studded show.The Star
- Austin Delaney (October 19, 2019).Gord Downie’s Secret Path concert recreated two years after his death.CTV News
- Victoria Ahearn (October 21, 2019).Mike Downie says Secret Path Live was 'powerful' and he'd 'love to do it again'.CTV News.
- Serena Ryder To Receive 2021 WoF Allan Slaight Music Honour
- Canada's Walk of Fame Announces Powerhouse Singer-Songwriter Serena Ryder as the 2021 Recipient of the Allan Slaight Music Impact Honour
- "Canadian album certifications – Serena Ryder – If Your Memory Serves You Well". Music Canada.
- "Canadian album certifications – Serena Ryder – Is It O.K." Music Canada.
- "On The Charts: June 5, 2017". FYIMusicNews.ca. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
- "Canada's Digital Music Sales Rise in 2013 Unlike the U.S.; Eminem, Robin Thicke Among Top Selling Artists". January 10, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
- "Canadian album certifications – Serena Ryder – Harmony". Music Canada.
- "Serena Ryder Announces New Holiday Album, Christmas Kisses, And Releases Title Track Today". Universal Music Canada. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
- "Serena Ryder Drops Dreamy Music Video For New Single 'Candy'". Universal Music Canada. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
- Serena Ryder – Canadian Hot 100 peaks. Billboard
- Serena Ryder – Canada CHR/Top 40 peaks. Billboard
- Serena Ryder – Adult Pop peaks. Billboard
- "Canadian digital certifications – Serena Ryder – Weak in the Knees". Music Canada.
- "Canadian digital certifications – Serena Ryder – Stompa". Music Canada.
- "Canadian digital certifications – Serena Ryder – What I Wouldn't Do". Music Canada.
- "Canadian digital certifications – Serena Ryder – Got Your Number". Music Canada.
- "SERENA RYDER TEAMS UP WITH SIMON WARD OF THE STRUMBELLAS FOR NEW SINGLE "FAMOUS"". Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- "SERENA RYDER ANNOUNCES NEW HOLIDAY ALBUM, CHRISTMAS KISSES, AND RELEASES TITLE TRACK TODAY". Retrieved November 12, 2018.
- "LISTEN: Serena Ryder Shares 'Candy'". iHeartRadio Canada. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
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