Serena Ryder on finding her grey wolf
Acclaimed Toronto musician readies new album
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.serenaryder.com for more info.