Out of the Darkness, Into the Light

An artist who describes herself as an introvert, Ryder’s dream is to not have to go out into large groups of people. While it would seem like her dream has come true due to unforeseen circumstances, it has forced her to be introspective.
“In this time, we’re all on social media, constantly online, looking at things and trying to find reflection of what’s true because we’re trying to search for something that we can hold on to,” she says, as she makes sense of life during a pandemic. “It’s so fucking easy to numb out.”
As a musician, her career is virtual right now, and it has made her acutely aware of just how addictive social media can be, admitting that she compares herself to other people online.
Ryder grew up in a town of under 1,000 people in Millbrook, Ontario. She had a manager by the time she was eight-years-old, and was discovered at 15 after performing in a local production of Gone With The Wind. Her career would take off from there. Five years after that local production, a 20-year-old Ryder was touring internationally, and growing her star power. Since then, she has released eight studio albums, gone three-times platinum, co-hosted the JUNO Awards and toured with the likes of Melissa Etheridge.
Ryder’s openness and vulnerability make her the artist she is today, and these qualities come through in her latest single, “Candy,” the first single from her upcoming album, The Art of Falling Apart. The song has shone a light on mental health when it seems the world needs it most.
“There’s nothing worse than being misunderstood, ya know?” she tweeted on September 18. “Behind my seemingly chill vocals and heart thumping bass line—there lies vulnerability.” Candy has an incredibly catchy chorus, “Everyone’s got edges/ Build them to survive/ But I wanna open up and show you my softer side.” The line is a hook to an entire album dedicated to mental wellness.
Photograph by Kayla Rocca.
The album, a musical version of her keynote speech that has the same name, The Art of Falling Apart. The talk unpacks her journey from mental illness to mental wellness with the intent to serve anyone who can identify with her story and learn from it.
“In holding our shit together, it becomes impossible to be an authentic person,” says Ryder, who talks about the vices she developed in her early 20’s as a means of, “constantly trying to fix herself.”
Ryder’s second single comes out in October, and she says she’s excited to share this track with the world. “It’s the second step in my wellness journey, it has to do with the real medicine behind crying.”
The University of Pennsylvania says crying releases toxins and hormones that contribute to elevated stress. While crying is one of Ryder’s medicines, she says performing is one of her others. “It really helps me in my life,” she says.
Her genuine fervour and vulnerability transfers to the audience. Emily K. commented on Ryder’s music video for “Candy” on YouTube, “I can't wait ‘til concerts are allowed again. Seeing you perform at the Danforth Music Hall a couple years ago was such a great experience. You bring sincerity and passion to the stage!”
Ryder had the opportunity to take the stage once again on September 19 at the Northern Lights Festival in Sudbury, the city’s first drive-in concert.
kind spoke to Ryder before the concert, she said, “I feel like it’s going to be weird!” She explained the logistics behind the concert being broadcast via a radio station that people listen to in their cars while they watch the performance. While she felt the experience might be strange, the inflection in her voice told us that she was happier than ever to be able to take the stage again, sharing her medicine—and journey—with the world.
Ryder’s upcoming album, The Art of Falling Apart, is expected to drop later this year.