Authentically witty, effortlessly sensual, and distinctively unique, singer-songwriter Sarah Ryder is a refreshing blend of original artistry with an undeniable mainstream appeal.
The new song had me crying on first listen (good tears). My mom — your line about the phone call and tears — oh, my, so many tough times were dealt with that way. Now I’m the mom … listening to my daughters … that your song captures all that, wow ❤.
Aww thank you, Donna!!! I am choking up hearing about that memory you have, as a daughter its so true for me and my mom too, always there to listen and love us despite what they may have going on in their lives at the time. Now you get to pass that along to your kids and that’s a beautiful thing. I actually wrote that line with both my mom and my cousin, Amber, in mind. Amber has always been there for me just a phone call away even though God knows she has her own burdens and troubles. Women like that in our lives make our worlds go round!
Read your hometown was named “America’s Coolest Small Town” by Budget Travel Magazine a few years back. If you were to write a song about growing up in Lititz, Pennsylvania, what would you showcase about the town?
I would showcase the beauty of the landscape and the historical preservation of the town. It was a simpler time in my life so I look back on Lititz with happy memories. Childhood/growing up there was special.
You’ve said that you were inspired to become a songwriter at age 12 by a Tim McGraw song. Which song was it and what did you connect to when you listened? Fast forward, what other songs have influenced your writing?
The song was “Watch The Wind Blow By”. I connected with the relaxed vibe it was giving me and for some reason it made me feel free. The melody rolls along and was soothing to me in the moment I heard it but even at age 8 I was inspired by “Just To See You Smile”.
Fast forward I have been inspired a lot by Eric Church. “Sinners Like Me” is a song that sticks out in my head as pivotal.
His most recent song “Some Of It” blows my mind. That’s the type of song that keeps you striving to be a better writer.
I have also found so much inspiration in Brandy Clark’s music (her records 12 Stories and Big Day In A Small Town especially). It’s so hard to even pick a particular song off either of those records because every single song is incredible. I will say I am a fan of “Crazy Women”, “Stripes” and “Hold My Hand”.
More recently, The Highwomen are killin’ me. What a great record.
After high school, you headed out west and entered a modeling competition. It was your singing for the talent portion that caught the ‘ears’ of other songwriters and producers, which, in turn, lead you to hit songwriter and producer Michael Jay. What did Jay teach you about the music industry?
Michael taught me so much. It was with him I learned how publishing works, what it means to build relationships, the amount of work that needs put in to be successful. Most of all, he taught me to lean on those who have gone before you and constantly learn. His kindness in taking me under his wing and teaching me to write and record is something I will never forget.
You signed with Johnny Garcia’s Busy at Play Publishing. What has been the best advice Garcia has given you from his many years as Trisha Yearwood’s band director?
Johnny has been so kind and supportive to me. He has taught me some pretty serious work ethic, he is a machine!!! He looks out for his writers and artists more than he does himself. He has told me how Garth and Trisha have done things over the years and so I certainly am taking notes!
Songwriting. Can start from a simple idea jotted in a note on your phone or it can be inspired by a world event. Did the inspiration for “Woman” come from ones in your own life?
One hundred percent YES. Every single line is about a woman in my life who is near and dear to me. But most of all, it’s about every woman. So many women in passing impact one another’s lives and the lives around them without even knowing they do it. It occurred to me that I am aware of these girls often and that it was high time to write a love song to them.
Putting the lyrics with melodies. Hearing the line “… You’re a phone call when tears fall because you’ll build her right back up …” brought out a lot of emotion. How did you use tempo to connect the two for the listener?
We spent a lot of time getting the tempo correct on this song. I wanted to be able to vocally grip onto the lines, but also not make it too slow. Truthfully, I was having a hard time getting through that verse in the studio. It’s emotional every time for me!
Do you have a storyboard for the song’s video in mind? Maybe images of real-life women recognizing the impact other women have had in their lives?
Yes!!! Despite all the tough circumstances our world has been going through, we will eventually finish the official music video and I can’t wait until we do!
National Drink Wine Day. Which brand would you pair with your new song?
I would pair it with something robust and strong but with a soft finish! Joel Gott Cabernet perhaps?
You wrote, “Mantra for this week: I will do the hustle and bustle with a smile (on repeat)! Oh, and I won’t have “grapes” for dinner.” How do you make sure you have a balance between career and personal life?
That can be a hard balance to find. I work a lot, but, I find you just have to schedule time with loved ones and stick to the plan. Same thing with exercise and healthy life decisions. It makes vacation and sporadic outings that much sweeter when you get them!
On Instagram you posted, “RIP: Self Doubt, Heartache & Negativity 🌱🌿 #PullinWeeds”. ‘Getting rid of things I don’t need’ … what changes in your life inspired that song?
I went through a lot of change in 2019 going into 2020. It’s interesting the song idea was not my own, though.
Marc Copely brought it to Johnny Garcia and I. It was an easy one to write because it was true. During that time I was dealing with failing at a marriage and making some decisions in that aspect of my life that were best for my heart and head. I also had to make business decisions that were best for my career and ultimately through all of the change, I had major personal growth! The line “it’s easy doing nothing” has never rang more true for me personally. Making change is scary and it can hurt pretty badly, and boy do I know about that now.
You recently celebrated your birthday by running in the Hot Chocolate 15/5K in Nashville. What else do you do when you aren’t writing or performing?
I do enjoy going for long walks, and running too (just not typically at 6am in 22 degree weather)! I recently started to practice yoga again for the meditation aspect. I used to enjoy horseback riding a lot (I had a couple horses growing up) and would love to get back into that at some point. When I’m not getting some physical activity in or outside in the sunshine somewhere, being with my friends and family is the best thing for my soul!
Your ‘forever’ resolution, “All you have to do is be nice and do awesome shit”. What awesomeness is ahead for you this year?
I do love that forever resolution haha. Each year I try and do more than the year before, and put just a little more hard work into what I am doing, especially when the tiredness kicks in or doubt creeps up. This year will have a lot of writing in it, getting out and playing my songs, and we will be putting out an EP in 2020 with some new tunes people haven’t heard yet. Personally, I hope that the awesomeness this year brings is a clear mind for decision making, an open heart to people, and to be the most honest I have ever been with myself.