Authentically witty, effortlessly sensual, and distinctively unique, singer-songwriter Sarah Ryder is a refreshing blend of original artistry with an undeniable mainstream appeal. Since working closely as a signed songwriter under mentor, guitarist and producer Johnny Garcia’s (Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood) Busy At Play Publishing, Ryder has been exposed to high-profile songwriters such as Dave Gibson (Alabama, Joe Diffie, Tanya Tucker), Bridgette Tatum (Jason Aldean, Randy Houser) and Marc Copely (Carole King, Willie Nelson) whose guidance has extensively sharpened the tools in Ryder’s creative wheelhouse. Honing her craft has awarded her opportunities to perform regularly in prestigious venues such as Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe.
When you’re stuck in Nashville traffic what song do you jam out to?
Whose idea was it to film the “Another Fool” video at Jennifer Stalvey’s house and, as you put it, “getting creative with what was around the house” for your first video shoot?
The idea to film at Jen’s house for the most part was mine! We had done photo shoots there before as her home itself is a piece of art. She graciously allowed us to come in and bombard her beautiful space yet again!
We had a rough storyboard going into the shoot, though we knew the video was primarily meant to be a performance. I leaned on Jade Driver pretty heavily for ideas and help, so I give the credit to her for the overall vision and execution of the vision!
And you mean everyone doesn’t sing into a hose?
The outside scenes were shot on a separate day as we felt we needed more…that’s when we just started getting a little crazy! Haha Hoses, ladders, hammers and hilarity came out soon after. We found out that I do well with props, and singing into a garden hose is quite enjoyable.
What inspired the co-write with Johnny Garcia and Marc Copely?
Going into our write the day we wrote “Another Fool,” I don’t think we had any sort of idea where the write would go. We just started sitting around talking and the topic of our spouses and relationships came up. Next, the topic of the grass NOT being greener on the other side came up too… then Johnny told us a story of overhearing Loretta Lynn say the line, “Why would I leave my fool for another fool?” The song wrote itself from there!
How did you originally connect with Johnny as a songwriter?
I originally connected with Johnny at The Bluebird Cafe about 4 or more years ago. I was there watching an artist — who had cut a couple of my songs — perform, and Johnny was there accompanying him. Johnny was also producing the artist’s record so he had heard my name based on the songs I wrote. We got together to have a meeting after that, and since then have written more songs than I can count. Johnny has been a major blessing in my life!
You did mention in a post, “True story songs coming soon. Hell, they’re all true!” How difficult is it to pen lyrics that are so personal?
Weirdly, when it comes to writing songs that are me telling the truth, its the only way I know how! I think I am a very private person in general, but music allows for my thoughts and feelings to be shared in a way that I have thought through and am proud to share (or sometimes not proud to share depending on the topic). I think when a song is written about your truth or someone else’s that is in your life, that means there are more people out there who will relate! We are all just living our lives doing the best we can and I want my songs to feel inclusive and relatable to everyone.
What would you tell your 12-year-old self about choosing a career in music?
I would tell my 12 year old self to absolutely do it. Go for it, and don’t give up!
First song you wrote?
I truly cannot remember the first song I wrote, however, I think it had rain and wheat fields in it along with a slow melody. I was attempting to recreate a Tim McGraw ballad at 8 years old — haha!
What do you remember from your first live radio interview?
My first live radio interview was super fun! I remember them spinning my song (“Feels Like This”) directly after Trisha Yearwood’s song “Every Girl In This Town”. Talk about moment of truth. Johnny and I sat there and were like, hell, we did ok! It was a surreal moment for Johnny as he has been Trisha’s Band Leader since 1991, so to hear his production stand up to hers on the radio was really special. The timing was not planned either, just happened like that!
First Nashville venue you played?
My first Nashville venue that I played at was for the dear Lee Rascone at his Millennium Maxwell House Writer’s Night. I still go back and play when I can as there will always be a special place in my heart for Lee. He believed in me from the beginning, and I appreciate that more than I can say.
What is it like performing at CMA Fest?
Performing at CMA fest was a blast! Remind me next year to take two days off of life afterwards to recover! The performing part is the fun part, the crazy tiring part is how you basically have to yell everywhere you go to communicate! The fans, however, are the absolute best. So many people come to our amazing city to watch us play music and its absolutely magical!
Favorite vacation getaway?
Favorite vacation getaway would have to be somewhere on a beach! Although, we recently explored the Southwest and that was so cool.
What’s ahead in 2020?
Closing out this year we have more music, more videos….even a Christmas surprise. 2020 is still in the works, however, I will say…I have written some new songs that I cannot wait for people to hear! I’m chomping at the bit to share what’s been creatively flowing so I am really looking forward to what lies ahead!