Serena Ryder captivated the standing room-only crowd on the floor of her Monday night show in New York last month. The Canadian crooner kicked off the hour-long set with a spellbinding a capella verse of “Nobody But You” as a single spotlight illuminated her black and fringe-clad form, before she launched into full band refrains of “Fall” with Tina Turner-esque conviction.
When we caught up with VH1’s June You Oughta Know artist before her Bowery debut, we wanted to know how the hell we overlooked this old-fashioned howler with impassioned vocals and the Melissa Etheridge‘s personal seal of approval.
Had our neighbors to the north been selfishly holding out on us since Serena’s indie debut Falling Out dropped in 1999? Serena’s theory on why The States got Justin Bieber while Canada kept the second-coming of Alanis Morissette is more straightforward: “I feel like I just didn’t have the right record yet,” Serena said. “Maybe I wasn’t ready.”
Thirteen years, a live album and four major label LP’s later, Ryder’s latest, Harmony, has her ready as she’ll ever be with the official U.S. release date set for July 16. Lead by the infectious “Stompa” which had the entire Bowery crowd dad dancing* with abandon. As joyful as the single and other tracks are on the album, the subdued, shadow-casting bar setting, where Serena sprawled across a vintage vinyl sofa to chat before her set, was oddly appropriate for telling the inspiring story of how Harmony finally made everything come together.*To dance erratically like a preteen’s embarrassing chaperon at basement party. See: shameless adj.