Millbrook, Ontario native Serena Ryder has already become a household name in Canada, winning Junos for Best New Artist in 2008 and Adult Alternative Album of the Year for her third full-length "Is it O.K." this year. With an expressive, powerful voice that has been compared to Melissa Etheridge and Stevie Nicks, the singer-songwriter recorded "Is It O.K.," her Atlantic Records debut, in the same Los Angeles studio where Fleetwood Mac created 1977 classic "Rumours". "Is It O.K." will be released in the U.S. on Sept. 15, but Billboard.com has an exclusive preview of rocker "What I Wanna Know" right here.
What inspired "What I Wanna Know"?
The song is really about that personal yearning for the thing you can't have. There are so many things in the world that people want to know, but when they uncover that mystery, they figure out it's something that wasn't as special as the mystery that they created in their own heads. One of those stories that you blew up out of proportion in your brain and kind of obsess about. Once you actually have it, it's no longer a mystery, and no longer a story, so it's embracing the passion of that story, and the imagination. I was kind of angry at that part of myself, or in general angry at that part of people that feel like they're completed by being with somebody else.
"Is It O.K." has been out for a little while in Canada and won the Juno this year, but will be mostly new to U.S. fans. What is the significance of the title, and what are some of the themes that connect the songs?
It's about checking in on yourself and your internal conversations. The reason there's no question mark is that the record was definitely a very cathartic record for me to write-I had been touring a lot, as I am now, I mean that's really how I live my life, just been living a very concentrated amount of life, and experienced things I had never experienced, real polar extremes of emotions. When I was writing the record I had recently lost one of my best friends, who was also my co-manager, so that was really big in the process, and also a lot of the songs are about embracing love and realizing how to love yourself, that human process that we're always going through. But it also changed a lot when I brought it to the studio and was able to work with all these amazing musicians-it really became a celebration for me, and that really came out in the recording of it. So there's a real balance to the record for me personally.