Ser­ena Ry­der on find­ing her grey wolf

Ac­claimed Toronto mu­si­cian read­ies new al­bum

North Toronto Post - - Arts - by Ron John­son

Toronto singer-song­writer Ser­ena Ry­der re­lates the story of the white wolf and the dark wolf, a Chero­kee leg­end that she’d re­cently learned, which she said in­spired her new al­bum. In it, a young­ster asks an el­der to ex­plain why he al­ways feels so torn in­side. The el­der says we all have two wolves in­side, one is a dark wolf, which feeds on anger and jeal­ousy, the other is a white wolf, which is happy and chill. “But which wolf wins?” the boy asks, to which the el­der replies, “The one you feed.”

The new al­bum, Utopia, sched­uled for re­lease this fall, ex­plores th­ese direc­tions in life: the white wolf, the dark wolf and the grey wolf, which Ry­der says is a mar­riage of the two. And it’s about this time in the in­ter­view that she also drops the news that she’s en­gaged.

“So, that’s prob­a­bly why,” she says, with a laugh. “For me, it’s about find­ing the mid­dle ground in my mu­sic. I’ve been all over the map mu­si­cally since I was eight years old and gave my first per­for­mance. Now, I’m kind of more in­ter­ested in be­ing at home th­ese days.”

By now, most have heard the ab­so­lutely thrilling first sin­gle “Got Your Num­ber,” which was the first track Ry­der found while jam­ming with friends in her liv­ing room.

“We had no idea what we were do­ing,” she ex­plains. “I got out the drum kit and started bash­ing on the drums like a lit­tle kid. I started rap­ping, weird silly stuff.” The song, de­spite the rudi­men­tary be­gin­ning, has be­come one of Canada’s hottest songs this sum­mer, helped by a fun video that sees Ry­der work­ing at a bowl­ing al­ley dur­ing a women’s psy­chic week­end. Utopia is the fol­low-up to her break­through 2014 re­lease Har­mony, which gar­nered the mu­si­cian nu­mer­ous Juno Awards, in­clud­ing Al­bum of the Year, as well as mak­ing se­ri­ous head­way south of the bor­der. Ry­der re­leased her first record­ing in 2002, a self-ti­tled EP, and has par­layed an in­cred­i­ble voice and poignant lyrics to ever greater heights. Al­though ex­pec­ta­tions are high fol­low­ing such a suc­cess, the na­tive of the small town of Mill­brook, Ont., is tapping into her in­ner grey wolf and fol­low­ing the mid­dle path. “I just feel like maybe I’m not as high as I used to think I was,” she says. “I’m no longer on top of the world. I kind of just like be­ing in the mid­dle about most things th­ese days. The al­bum will come out. I’ll tour around the world, meet peo­ple where they live and have a great time on­stage and be there with my fam­ily band.” Visit www.ser­e­nary­ for more info.

Ser­ena Ry­der

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