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Serena Ryder

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Serena Ryder was born on December 8, 1983 in Millbrook, Ontario, Canada. A strikingly pretty brunette with a remarkably deep, soulful and powerful three-octave voice, Serena stems from strong musical roots: Her Canadian mother was a go-go dancer and touring back-up singer while her Trinidadian father was a guitarist and percussionist with the Carribean folk group the Tradewinds. Ryder began singing publicly when she was just a little girl and got her first guitar from her dad at age thirteen. She attended the Integrated Arts Program at Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational Institute and took music lessons from Terry Finn at Finn's House of Music. Serena started out performing solo as a teenager plus performed with the Christian rock band Thousand Foot Krutch and the hard rock alternative group Three Days Grace. Ryder released her first album "Falling Out" on the indie label Mime Radio in 1999. In 2002 she recorded a demo album which led to her playing on the air on CBC Radio. Fellow Canadian musician Hawksley Workman heard the broadcast and was sufficiently impressed enough to ask Serena to record an album on his Isadora record label. The album "Unlikely Emergency" was released in 2005 and received favorable reviews from music critics. Moreover, the poignant song "Just Another Day" got considerable airplay on various Canadian radio stations. Ryder's follow-up album "If Your Memory Serves You Well," a terrific collection of mostly inspired covers of notable songs by Canadian music artists that includes Leonard Cohen's "Sisters of Mercy," Galt MacDermot's "Good Morning Starshine," and Percy Faith's "My Heart Cries for You" as well as three excellent original compositions, was released in November, 2006 and once again garnered highly positive reviews from critics. Serena won the 2008 Juno Award for New Artist of the Year and released the EP CD "Told You in a Whispered Song" on June 19, 2007. This was followed by both the EP CD "Sweeping the Ashes" and the album "Is It O.K." in 2008.

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This interview is an extended excerpt from the upcoming Yorkville program on WNED PBS..