By: Monica Sousa- Assistant Arts & Life Editor
On Tuesday, December 17, the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre will be welcoming a chart-topping artist. Canadian musician Serena Ryder will be taking stage at the theatre, with special guests Ladies of the Canyon. In 2007, Ryder first gained national recognition with her ballad, “Weak in the Knees.” Since then, she has received four Juno awards and has earned two gold albums.
Born in Peterborough and raised just outside Millbrook, Ontario, Ryder gained interest and experience in music at a young age. She grew up listening to her parent’s Leonard Cohen and Beatles records. Starting at the age of seven, she began singing in Legion halls and coffee houses. At the age of thirteen her father got her a guitar and shortly after began her efforts in song-writing.
In December 1999, Ryder released her first full-length album titled Falling Out. However, it was not until 2005 that she recorded an album with a major label, titled Unlikely Emergency. In 2006, she saw the release of her third album, If It Serves You Well, which contained her single “Weak in the Knees.” She followed with two more albums, Is It O.K in 2008 and Harmony in 2012. Harmony features the two singles “What I Wouldn’t Do” and “Stompa”, which topped pop charts earlier this year.
Influential genres in Ryder’s music ranges from jazz, folk, country, blues and R&B. A few of her admitted influences are Ella Fitzgerald, Roger Miller, Paul Simon, Stevie Nicks, David Bowie, Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson.
Ryder is certainly a skilled and an accomplished musician. Not only does she have singing and song-writing skills, but she can also play a range of instruments, from guitar, piano, ukulele, banjo, clarinet, bass, harmonica to the drums.
The power in Ryder’s voice is undeniable; this successful singer is considered a mezzo-soprano and possesses a three-octave vocal range.
In 2008, Ryder received her first Juno award, for Best New Artist of the Year. She won Adult Alternative Album of the Year in 2009 for Is It O.K and in 2012 she won Video of the Year for the song “A Little Bit of Red.” She also won her latest Juno award this year, Adult Alternative Album of the Year, for her latest album Harmony.
Ryder has also been involved in visual arts and activism, in addition to singing and performing. She paints, sculpts, draws, and some of her paintings have even been sold for charity events, namely for The Kidney Foundations of Canada. She is also an active supporter for many charity organizations, including Young Artists for Haiti, Peterborough MusicFest and Fashion CARES.
If Ryder’s songs or voice sound familiar to you, it may be because you are a fan of one of the shows her songs have been featured on. These TV shows include Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl and Hawaii Five-O.
All in all, Serena Ryder is a talented artist and is sure to have more success in the near future. She can sing, pen songs, play many instruments and her other skills and interests are just bonuses. The Sean O’Sullivan Theatre is in for a great show with Serena Ryder and musical guests.
Serena Ryder and special guests Ladies of the Canyon will be playing in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre on campus on Dec 17. The show will be at 7:30 pm. Tickets can be bought at the Centre for the Arts box office. Tickets are $59. Make sure to call as soon as possible to secure a seat.