CARAS The Juno Awards catch a lot of heat for being too predictable and too…
- Posted on Dec 7th 2012 11:00AM by Melody Lau
Serena Ryder Facebook
Lead single "Stompa" barrels right out of the gates with electrifying guitars and a strut similar to The Black Keys and Ryder's voice, soulful and full of conviction, feels closer to Adele than Joni Mitchell. These aren't exactly the worst artists to be compared to, but neither of which are remotely close to the style of music Ryder is known for.
"I can see why people would say it's different," Ryder tells Spinner. "I've been doing so many different styles of music for so long, but always as kind of a side project."
Listing a number of genres she occasionally dips her toes in -- from funk and soul to even a Marilyn Manson cover band, mostly "for shits and giggles," as she explains -- Ryder had always known that she was capable of expanding her musical horizons; it was just a matter of when she would combine it all into one piece of work.
"I would do those side things and then I would do my own singer-songwriter stuff as my own, but I was sick of categorizing myself," the three-time Juno Award winner says. "I wondered, 'Why don't I just do everything all together, all at once?' and not have to separate it all into little identity boxes."
Harmony is the melting pot result of these styles. To help with this sense of freedom to explore outside of her comfort zone, Ryder took to recording in a studio in her own backyard. And because of the laidback nature of her surroundings, she adds, "I didn't feel like I had to be perfect or give my best take. There was a sense of being really relaxed and I could just play around with my voice and with the music."
The only track that was not recorded at home was "Stompa." After originally penning 65 songs for the album, her manager "had an inkling that there was something more," as Ryder puts it, and she was sent to Los Angeles to work with producers Jon Levine (ex-Philosopher Kings) and Jerrod Bettis and in their first session, that song was written.
"I had no idea that was going to happen," Ryder says. "I already thought I had a record written at home, so this record kind of surprised me."
For Ryder, all these surprises and decisions to forgo style boundaries are in part a way of coping with a serious case of clinical depression that she's been battling for years. After feeling burnt out after a three-year run supporting 2008's Is It OK, Ryder wanted to approach this album with an openness that ultimately yielded some of her most satisfying work to date.
"I think it's important to face your fears and be open with the people you love," Ryder says. "I feel like this record is the first time where I've written from a place of real joy and being comfortable."