Serena Ryder’s sixth studio album Harmony dropped in her native Canada last fall, but it won’t be released in the U.S. until July 16. So we had our June You Oughta Know artist give us the dirt on each of the 10 songs that made the final cut of her album (out of 70 tracks!). Find out which tune was indirectly inspired by the Spin Doctors and see if you can guess which was written while Serena was unconscious.
1. “What I Wouldn’t Do”
Serena’s Story: It’s a song about falling in love with someone and with yourself, something Serena calls one of the best things to write about. Perhaps she had her live-in boyfriend in mind when penning the track. “We built a recording studio in the backyard and I just started writing every f***ing day and loved it,” Serena said.
Serena’s Story: It was an unexpected song that came about with a writing session with powerhouse writer-producer Jon Levine (Little Mix, Nelly Furtado) and gave Ryder a chance to display her silky lower register.
3. “Call Me”
Serena’s Story: Serena was shown a little Southern hospitality when she crashed at singer-songwriter Meghan Kabir’s family home (mom, dad and brother, too). The Canadian singer got some tea, much desired “normal family” time and a sexy single out of the visit.
4. “Baby Come Back”
Serena’s Story: The song is actually two separate songs mashed up, making it one of Serena’s favorite tracks to play live. Mostly because she gets to hit the sticks during the breakdown. “I can only really say I play the guitar since I was 13,” Serena said of her percussion skills. “I just geek out on the drums.”
5. “Please Baby Please”
Serena’s Story: What better setting to pen a tune about heartbreak and loss than in an apartment filled with pianos? That’s the environment Ryder and collaborator Dan Burns were inspired by when they wrote “Please Baby Please” at Aidan Hawken’s place. They hung out more than they wrote, according to Serena, but in the end pulled together the track that helped earn them all Adult Alternative Album of the Year Juno awards.
6. “For You”
Serena’s Story: The song samples a small string sample from Nina Simone’s version of “I Put A Spell On You” and was written in tribute to blues and soul singers of the past that inspired Serena’s own singing style as a kid.
7. “Heavy Love”
Serena’s Story: To all of you critics trying to tell Serena what kind of artist to be, this song is for you. The message: f**k off!
Serena’s Story: The first track Ryder wrote for Harmony is also her biggest commercial success to date. Fittingly the song is all about celebrating music and how medicinal it can be.
9. “Mary Go Round”
Serena’s Story: When Serena was 11 years old she lost her friends at a crowded fair, but, before she could launch into full blown panic mode, she heard then-favorite song Spin Doctors “Two Princes” and calmed down. “The situation didn’t change. It was the song that changed the situation,” said Serena, who insists it was music that helped find herself again when she recovered from clinical depression as an adult.
10. “Nobody But You”
Serena’s Story: You ever wake up in the middle of the night with an idea in your head, record it on your iPhone, then wake up with a fully-written track, complete with three-part harmony? Us, neither. It happened for Serena, though, who composed the less-than-minute-long riff in a dream state.
Keep checking back all month long as we follow Serena Ryder’s journey as our June You Oughta Know artist.