What I Wouldn't Do

Serena Ryder:  What I Wouldn't Do

Quiz by Sharon Michiko Yoneda

artist:  Serena Ryder

songwriters:  Serena Lauren Ryder, Jerrod Michael Bettis

release date:  2012 by Serena Ryder

Serena Lauren Ryder (born December 8, 1982) is a Canadian singer-songwriter. Born in Toronto, she grew up in Millbrook, Ontario. She is the daughter of Barbara Ryder and Glen Sorzano and was born into a musical family. Her biological father was a Trinidadian musician who immigrated to Canada in the early sixties. Her uncle, part-Ojibwe (Temagami First Nation) singer-songwriter Bob Carpenter, worked with producer Brian Ahern and singer, Emmylou Harris.  

Ryder, youngest of three children, was raised by Barbara and her second husband, Andrew McKibbon, just outside Peterborough, in Millbrook, Ontario, and grew up listening to old records by the Beatles and Leonard Cohen from her parents' collection. At age eight, Ryder sang at Royal Canadian Legion halls and motor hotels. Having received a guitar from her stepfather, she began playing the instrument at the age of thirteen. Songwriting efforts followed. At fifteen, she was playing classic and folk tunes with her piano teacher in coffeehouses and legion halls.  

At age 17, Ryder left her home for Peterborough, Ontario, where she settled into a community of artists while attending the Integrated Arts Program at the Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational Institute.

In early 1998, Damon de Szegheo, record producer and owner of the Peterborough based independent record label Mime Radio, approached her about recording. de Szegheo had noticed her when she sang during a set change for a local stage production of Gone with the Wind. The product of their sessions was a self-titled promotional cassette, Serena and her first full-length CD, Falling Out, released in December 1999.  Her music career continues until in April 2008, Ryder found herself receiving the 2008 Juno Award for "Best New Artist of the Year" while on the label EMI.

Like many Canadian artists, she relocated to Los Angeles where she wrote songs  with Jerrod Bettis and Jon Levine.  The first single "Stompa" on their Harmony album was used in an episode of ABC television's Grey's Anatomy, quickly climbed the charts, and became certified platinum in January 2013.  In the United States, less than two months after its release, it was at number 14 on the charts.

 In Canada, Ryder became the first Canadian artist to be Number One on the CBC's Radio 2 Top 20 chart, days after the release of Harmony. “Stompa” was played in four radio station formats.  Then came Ryder's song "What I Wouldn't Do," which used in the promotional video for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. 

During her halcyon years, Ryder was seen everywhere.  In May 2015, Ryder recorded "Together We Are One", the official theme song for the 2015 Pan American Games. The song reached #1 on the Radio 2 Top 20 the week of July 17, 2015.  She performed at the Pan Am Games Closing Ceremony.

In the aftermath of so much fame and award-winning accolades so quickly, she developed depression and had to put a pause on her performing career.  


But she's back on the block brighter than ever with her lessons behind her.