February 15th, 2017
We catch up with indie-pop artist, Ryder.
Ryder shows no signs of slowing down. Having already racked up over 10 million plays on Youtube and charting at #10 on the Spotify Viral Chart with her track ‘Ruins’, the songstress is back with her new single ‘Nirvana’.
A truly modern pop star, the track highlights Ryder’s stunning vocal melodies over swirling synth sounds. Inspired by performing in choirs as a young child, Ryder describes how she incorporated classical elements into ‘Nirvana’, “The hauntingly beautiful melodies and harmonic layers from those genres are inspiring motifs I try to constantly incorporate in my music wherever I can. ‘Nirvana’ to me is a blend of classical melodic moments with contemporary pop music.”
Constantly growing as an artist, Ryder is spreading her creative wings, producing material that is establishing her as one to watch. We had a chat with the rising star to find out more about her.
Was being a singer always in your plans?
Yes, I remember deciding boldly at the age of just 3 that I wanted to sing, and I have never looked back.
You’re from New York. Has growing up in the Big Apple had an influence on your music?
New York is such a lively, diverse place, there’s literally inspiration on every corner. It’s also extremely multi-cultural, which has greatly influenced my style, from the music and track sounds to the visual and stylistic aspects of what I do. A lot of my lyrics are very visual, and that’s probably related in some way to really taking in the colorful world around me: I always pay very close attention to detail, and that carries over into my songwriting. I like to really paint the picture. As a New Yorker, you experience such a fast-paced existence: I saw a lot very early in life, without much sugar-coating. People are fiercely frank, perhaps too honest sometimes, like there’s truth serum in the water… For those that know me, that is very much how I am as a person and in my art. I try to be as authentic and honest as I can be, I just can’t help myself.
Your tracks have millions of plays online and and have been featured on Spotify’s Viral Chart and Hype Machine’s Top Ten. How does it feel getting such a crazy good reaction to your music?
It’s been really rewarding for me, honestly. As an independent artist, there can be a stigma that – because you’re not signed to a label – somehow that says something about your talent. I can tell you from experience it really doesn’t. When it comes down to it, the only thing that matters is the listener’s reaction. The record industry is able to stay alive because of people around the world who love and share music. I came to a point where I had to stop listening to what everyone else was saying and decided to put myself out there with no label and be vulnerable just for myself, to see what would happen. To see the immediate and continued reaction to my work is something that fuels every part of me, and just makes me want to get back in the studio everyday.
You have been compared to icons like Bjork, Florence, Sia and M.I.A. How would you personally describe your sound?
Well, first off, I’m truly honored to have comparisons to anyone in that crew. I guess I would describe my soundscape as a mixture of many things, I try not to pigeonhole myself too much. The truth is I’ve been influenced by almost every genre of music from, classical to pop to hip hop. I love people who create their own lanes, daring to be unique, and in addition to that I want every song to feel like its own experience and still be relatable. You could say I’m a bit left of centre, but I like to always land somewhere that feels like centre to me. I’m also a huge fantasy nerd, so I like to have ethereal moments throughout my songs, whether that be in terms of the concept, the lyrics or production wise.
Your new single ‘Nirvana’ has been playing on repeat over here! Can you tell us a bit more about the creative process behind it?
So glad to hear that! Well, I went into the studio with a co-writer of mine, Trey Campbell, who is just amazing, and a producer of mine, Max Farrar, also wildly talented, and the three of us just had great chemistry together. Max had some great vibey chords laid down and I remember we were instantly inspired, the melody came right away and we spent hours the first day getting it just right, starting to layer harmonies and building the track out of that. We knew even at that stage that we had something really special, and we hadn’t even written lyrics. Sometimes a really great melody can almost be intimidating because then you want to get the lyrics just right. So we decided to step away for a week and not even listen to the song, so we could come in with clear minds to write the story. I’m really glad we did that because then we could really have perspective on it: the song had such a spiritual energy and a folk-like melody that when we came back and listened, it drove us to the concept of Nirvana and that was it – the song practically wrote itself after that. We actually ended up using most of the initial vocal recording. A lot of time you’ll do demo vocals and come back to record it for real on a different day, but there was something in that first take that just had something special to it, and so we ended up using almost all of the demo vocals in the final product. The track really came together, but something was still missing, and so another producer, Phil Shaouy (Phil Phever), came in and added some magic to the beat and helped to make that drop really hit hard!
You’re working with some pretty important people in the industry right now (Dave Sitek, Tim Anderson, Devrim Karaoglu and internet-buzz royalty Pell). What does that feel like?
It feels awesome and a little intimidating all at the same time. I had listened to a lot of their work before, just as a music consumer over the years, and then to hear that they liked my music and what I was doing was just mind-blowing. It’s also really cool and inspiring to work with people who’ve been in the industry for so long and who have lived so much life. Pell and I just clicked, both musically and as people. It’s so great to have a friend that’s on a similar career path, and to be able to be a part of each other’s musical journey is really special.
If you could work with anyone, who would that be?
Jeff Bhasker, who produced ‘Fun’. He is just brilliant.
What’s next for Ryder?
I have been working on an animation video for ‘Nirvana’, which is coming very soon – stay tuned! I also have quite a few new singles coming your way!