With her new EP Crazy With the Light just launched, we thought it was a great time to chat to singer Azure Ryder and get to know her better.
In terms of musical origins stories, Ryder has one of the most intriguing – and most modern. She was approached directly by Tim Manton (Angus & Julia Stone, Kita Alexander) after he saw her sing in a friend’s Instagram story at Bluesfest in 2018.
Fast forward two years and 2020 has been her biggest year yet. She released her debut EP Running With The Wolves back in March, followed yesterday, November 20th, by Crazy With the Light.
She’s also set to perform her first headline shows at Oxford Art Factory on December 2nd and 3rd, the first of which is already sold out; talk about your meteoric rise.
Her new record is a dreamy and emotional collection of pop, filled with empowering lyrics and swirling vocals. After its release, we had a chat with Ryder as part of our popular Get To Know series to understand more about her music and career.
How would you describe your music to your grandma?
My beautiful Grandma which I called Sita unfortunately never got to hear me sing, the first time I sang to her was at church when we were saying goodbye. My Sita only spoke Lebanese, and as I knew very little we never got to have a proper verbal conversation, but we did talk, we understood each other through our eyes and our heart led actions.
Like any connection, a song goes beyond words, words are incredibly importantly to me but beyond them is a feeling, and whether what you hear in my music is a lyric or a melody, you will feel the same thing, so to my Grandma who I look up to every time I sing, I couldn’t describe my music to her with words, I would describe it with a feeling in her heart, I hope that my music is something that wraps warm and wildly around your heart, as I write this, I like to think she is listening now.
Tell us about a few of your tracks: their titles and what
‘Wolves’ from my first EP holds my soul, it’s my ode to the wolf inside of me. Wolves are led by the heart, driven in passion, trusting of their instincts, and run in which every way that takes them. So this song is about trusting in the uncontrollable, these moments may turn you left, right and inside out but they are what life is about, and the more we run with the Wolves, the closer I hope we will be to a fullness in our hearts and minds when we are accepting rather than expecting.
‘Petty Isn’t Pretty’ from my second EP is about our ability to turn something bad into something of beauty. The actions and words of others is out of our control, but we can control the way a scar rest on our skin and the way a word enters our heart. That is our own to decide how we react and receive, how from a wound a flower can grow and a butterfly with follow, as in darkness, light will spring from.
What do you love about your hometown?
It’s where I found myself in nature, nature is the foundation on which I create my music upon and I wouldn’t have known nature like I do if it wasn’t for my hometown. I love the soft grain of the sand, the marbled blues of the ocean, the curve of the mountain and the tender sway of the trees, I love how it holds us and calls us to be human. I spun amongst the white butterflies today, it was magic.
Career highlights so far?
In all honestly every moment has been a highlight for me; from connecting and creating with such soul filled humans across Australia, the UK and America, like Isa Summers and Matt Corby, to finding my heart home and magic music friends in Nashville, from doing triple j Like a Version to hearing my song played on BBC Radio 1 in the UK, from releasing my first song Dizzy into the universe and every song that has followed and being welcomed into the arms and worlds of so many beautiful humans, that connection is the most important thing,
it’s why I exist as an artist. From the moment my manager found me at a music festival in Byron bay to right now when I am speaking to you, I feel so lucky to even be on this journey so the highlight is all of it, I am in awe of it all, I am grateful for it all.
Favourite non-music hobby?
I love painting with watercolours and taking film photos; I think I love them both for the same reason. It’s the way the colours bleed into each other, the spontaneity of each brush stroke, or click of the camera, you can’t plan or completely control what you are going to receive, there is a thrill in the heart, a rush in the blood, and you just have to surrender.
What’s on your dream rider?
Ooh golly, my dream rider would just contain the familiarity of the things that are amongst my daily rituals, things that make you feel home..Byron Bay Peanut Butter, GF Oats, Loco Love Vegan Chocolate (Salted Caramel Crunch and Butter Caramel Pecan), and a rainbow array of plant based food ! Anyone that has written with me knows that in sessions I mostly consist of peanut butter and porridge, when all else fails Peanut butter
won’t! (Crunchy of course)
Dream music collaboration?
Stevie Nicks, she is my ultimate inspiration, her presence on and off stage is something truly magic. Her voice is
spellbinding, she is both fierce and graceful and she leans into that wildness unapologetically within her song writing, everything she is resonates in my heart and I hope I one day get to witness her energy in person.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
It’s hard to see or say what is beyond the present moment, we can plan but plans never quite unfold how we want, they unfold how we need. All I can hope is that between now and 10 years time I am still wandering my way around the world with my music, and connecting with as many people as possible through the peaks and valley of the mountain. I hope to have created a magical world of music for people to find their hearts in, learning, growing and evolving together. Until then let’s see where the wild wind blows.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Dancing In The Dark – Bruce Springsteen
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Listen to your gut, that first feeling is from your heart.
What’s one obsession you have that no one would guess after
listening to your music?
Probably that I love boxing !! Everyone that finds out seems quite shocked when I tell them. I am someone that needs movement, I can’t actually to be still for long, unless I am sleeping (at which my mind is still moving through dream worlds). This means I struggle with things like meditation, so I see boxing as my active form of meditation, it’s an art that you are constantly learning and growing within, your mind and body can’t be anywhere else but in that moment, you literally might get hit if you aren’t ! That’s life isn’t it, the moments between the hits and misses.