Hurts Me Too






23rd February, 2018


12th February, 2018




London, U.K.


Sapien Records Ltd


I was pretty eager to return to an artist…


I last featured a year ago. I will look at RIDER’s new song, Hurts Me Too, but, before then; I will address sexual confusion and liberation; how confusion and depression can force an artist into making bold choices. I will look at those who have a positive outlook and optimistic bent on life; U.S. talent who move to the U.K.; spirits who are free and alive; musicians who can get into the public forum and have that special sound; channelling personal conflicts and hardships into music – a bit about this year and why RIDER will attack it and succeed. As it is Valentine’s Day on Wednesday; I wanted to bring in relationships and love. In the case of RIDER; her experienced and takeaways are much deeper than the sentiments one will see staring back from the card shelves. Hers is a very real and affecting time that has not only shaped her music but the way she lives her life. I am writing a piece concerning Valentine’s Day later and a bit about love songs – how they have changed and why they affect people so much. I feel musicians and creatives approach love and sex in a very different way. I will look at RIDER’s relationship conflicts in relation to Hurts Me Too later but, right now, it is interesting addressing things close to the heart. It can be hard, for those experiencing something unusual, to express that to family. For me; it is more about pining and wanting someone who does not reciprocate: for RIDER; her issues arose when she was in a relationship with a man. She was optimistic about the future and the fact they could spend their lives together. Maybe it was not as concrete as marriage and settling down: it was a stability and security that seems secured and assured. During this time, as I will venture; her heart split and her thoughts turned to a woman.


Raised in a family where the idea of bisexuality and homosexuality was seen as a sin and wrong thing – revealing this sexual confusion had a stigma and sense of fear. The young American artist was struggling to find who she was and what all of this meant. She sought help and therapy – I will come to that later – but maybe the fact RIDER fell for a woman did not signify a clumsy sexual transition: it was more, I feel, an unhappiness at her situation and wanting something she was not getting. Her life and sexual coming-of-age has a filmic and dramatic quality that could be put onto film: the struggle and realisation of a young woman trying to adapt to changing life and hard situations. I am not sure what her relationship status is now – whether she is seeing a man or woman; whether she is single – but her decision and realisation came at a time when depression and anxiety were at fever-pitch. Maybe the relationship she was in was taking away some of the string and struggle – it was not as enriching and medicinal as she would have helped. It was a Band-Aid, perhaps, that provided a physicality and sense of comfort but, when looking for something deeper, there was not the emotional and spiritual simpatico she sought. RIDER had to reveal to her then-boyfriend she had feelings for another woman; she had to tell her family and face judgement and discomfort. In 2018; we are starting to become more educated and aware of the fact sexuality is a spectrum and not a binary thing. Those who have ‘Christian’ ideals should show forgiveness and tolerance: many, unfortunately, are close-minded and feel everyone should be straight, white and obey the Lord – anything that stands outside their rigid circle should be neglected, isolated and eradicated. Addressing subjects such as sex and confusion will give heart to other people in the same situation; it will drive them to be brave and face their situation without fear of reprisal.


Depression and anxiety is a ‘taboo’ that affects many of us – myself included – and can be as big a motivator as a burden. It is understandable RIDER felt a sense of panic and strain. She was hiding a secret and not revealing it to a family who felt being in love with someone of the same sex was evil and unforgivable. RIDER turned to online therapy and, slowly, was provided the shoulder and understanding she was looking for. That, in turn, provided a sense of relief and emancipation. Through constructive therapy and dialogue; she picked the pen up and put her feelings down in Hurts Me Too. The song’s video is out tomorrow (12th) and showcases all the colour, drama and flair of the situation. Right now, for the purposes of this review, I will do my best to describe the song as best I can. Before I come to this, I wanted to look at depressions and anxieties that impact musicians. There is a prevalence in the community that is alarming and under-treated. In RIDER’s case; it was exacerbated by being in a relationship she was not committed to. I figure there was something else at play before the peak of her depression. The fact she was in a relationship with a man first, in my mind, was a way of delaying something that was deep inside her all this time – who she really was but could never reveal to the world. The carapace against imminent revelation was to ensconce herself in something others deemed ‘normal’ and conventional. I cannot imagine how hard it was for her to come out and reveal who she really was. The fact we are in a world where there is a stigma attached to sexuality and freedom of choice means depression rates are at an all-time high. The upside of this is the fact these topics are being addressed through music. Rather than hide her emotional turmoil; RIDER has put it all into her music and been able to find some sense of comfort and gravity.


I hope she is in a better place now but, thinking about her difficult time and conflicts; I hope her experiences can help other musicians. They might not be struggling with sexual identity and a relationship they feel trapped in – there are all sorts of situations where RIDER’s words can provide guidance. I am at a point where I need the same kind of bravery and answers as RIDER. I am not in the same place where I have to hide an attraction: my uphill battle is with location, profession and happiness. Being, physically, in an area of the world that does not appeal to me; the need to get to London is at a peak. I have been struggling to get to the capital and get more desperate and upset the longer I am away. The same goes when it comes to my happiness levels and lack of sociability. Being away from somewhere I have always wanted to be is causing a lot of damage and emotional stress. RIDER is, I hope, in the place she wants to be now but that sense of clarity has taken a long time. RIDER’s experience has compelled me to think of other options to get where I need to be. The method I am undertaking right now – conventional job-seeking and endless hard work – are not as profitable as I had imagined. I know exactly where I want to be and what I want to do: managing to get there and actually make it a reality is the thing I am unable to get past. Maybe undertaking therapy, online or physically, would be the best next step. It is not the same as career guidance but would help unlock some emotional and psychological tangles. I am not sure but, as I go further into 2018; the need to find happiness and live life my way is dominating my mind. I am looking out at music and trying to find positivity in the sounds and artists that are filling my speakers.


RIDER is the embodiment of Californian sun and vibrancy. She studied in Liverpool and is in the U.K. – she actually spent her early life in Pennsylvania. She has moved about and explored the world but RIDER manages to bring her experiences and life in the U.S. One gets the expansiveness and unique landscape of her home with the new elements of the U.K. RIDER takes what she has learnt in Liverpool and fuses that with bits of London. The concoction and blend is unique and it leads to some of the most spirited and uplifting music around. Her life has thrown up some challenges but, right now, she seems to be in a much better place. It is the optimism and energy that comes off the page that brings you in. Artists in a similar situation would funnel their words into more gloomy and lacklustre sounds. I am all for those who show emotion and reveal themselves but it can be quite hard listening to songs that raw and upset – and leads up to seek out something more hopeful and bright. There is no real need when it comes to RIDER. Hurts Me Too is a song that tackles the confusion and suffocation felt when RIDER was in love with another woman. She recognises the pains and heartache her boyfriend would have felt but lets it be known she hurts as much – this is not easy and it is a decision that is taking a lot out of her. Many would have been unable to commit these feelings to song: RIDER has not only achieved that but created something fresh, uplifted and productive. I am not saying her latest track is an explosion of sunshine but it will provide guidance and heart to many out there. Looking at RIDER and one gets this energetic and adventurous spirit that can do anything. She is artistic and sporty; she embarks on new challenges and embraces the world.


There is a positivity and hopefulness that many should try and emulate. RIDER, to the American, is all about embracing life and not being bound by rules. Whether that is snowboarding, climbing trees or going to a new country – there is nothing she will not stop at. She is an optimist, at heart, and is always looking for that new challenge. So much of modern music is about the conventional, obvious and honed. People do not really surprise you and it is easy to get buried in the endless marketing drives and gigs. Artists either lack the energy or the imagination to take an original approach to life. Maybe it is the American D.N.A. or the way she was brought up. Whatever the explanation; RIDER is a unique soul in a musical landscape that needs leaders. So many of us are bogged by workaday life and we struggle to get out of our comfort zones. RIDER has the same demands and struggles as anyone but, when music is done, she gets out there and attacks the world. I am not sure whether she is in a relationship right now but there is energy and a lot of life surging through RIDER. She has gone through a hard situation and has learnt a lot about herself. Rather than dedicate all her spare time to music and writing; there is that need to live life and detach from things. It might be easier to have that wild and untamed experience somewhere like the U.S. – where the landscape is broader and the weather better. Here, the young artist is getting out into the open and finding pleasures and possibilities in the U.K. I know she has settled and is playing gigs in the U.K. I wonder whether she’ll be tempted to return to the U.S. (briefly) and spend some time somewhere like L.A. or New York. I want her to remain here but wonder whether a ‘creative break’ in the East or West of the U.S. would give her some new musical impetus and provide an opportunity for fun. That is all ahead but, right now, she is preparing to put Hurts Me Too out to the world.


RIDER has channelled a lot of personal struggle into her music. Her debut single, A Little Light, got love from the U.S. and U.K. and saw her featured on T.V. shows and great radio stations. A lot was accomplished and her name is out there in the public. It is only a matter of time before she is a big name and commanding huge audiences. I know this because there are no musicians who have the same threads and personality sides as her. RIDER can go a long way in the industry and make some real changes. Hurts Me Too is a fantastic offering that will lead to more demand and popularity. Many will want to see an E.P. and more material from her. I am not sure what is in her mind but this year is going to be a very exciting one for her. One reason I know RIDER will go far is because of her spirit and sense of freedom. She is not bound by the same rules as everyone else and tackles the world with boldness and determination. There is that sunny disposition and boundless energy that sees her get out into the world and see what is waiting. Many of us cannot experience things the same way as RIDER. We do not know what she has been through, and so, it can be hard to get into her shoes. RIDER opens herself up through music and lets the listener into her world. It means we can get an impression of what she is about and how life flows through her. That immediate and near-physical connection is something a lot of musicians lack. Music is often detached and the listener experience somewhat cold. RIDER is an artist who wants her audience to take something away and feel differently about themselves. Every song you hear (from her) provides some new perspective and inspiration. It is wonderful being in her presence and hearing the music strike the heart.


The opening phases of Hurts Me Too bring in moody, starlit beats and electronics that put my mind back in the 1980s. There is something dark and subtle about the composition; there are shades and strands weaving inside one another and one projects images of the night and contemplation. To me, the music signifies that awakening and the first blossoms of revelation. It is a teasing and seductive entice that leads to the heroine’s first words. Her voice has a calmness and beauty that is quite unexpected. Her soft tones have power underneath them and, when speaking about the hope of change, clarity and sense. She knows she has put her man through hell and it has been tough. She has tried to find herself and make her way through life. It is a difficult time and there was never the intention of hurt and disappointment. Many singers would belt the words out and place too much energy and emotion into the mix. By projecting something soothing and tender; you get more of a hit and the song seems more meaningful. I was drawn to her voice and the sensations it causes. You buy into everything RIDER says and follow the lyrics carefully. The story unfolds and the heroine has been struggling with feelings that were false and meaningless. In every moment, there are tones of 1980s Pop and artists like Madonna. Maybe that was not a conscious choice but I get an impression of her when listening to Hurts Me Too. The chorus is a bright and strident thing that lifts the energy and elevates the background. The beats and electronics broaden and sharpen; there is explosion and fireworks as the heroine lets it be known she cannot be the girl she wants everyone to be. Her boyfriend will be hurt but RIDER cannot live a lie anymore. It has been a hard truth but, now she has this clarified, the desire to move on and address who she really is important.


You get sucked into the chorus and its big, wide-eyed energy. The heroine wishes she could provide everything her man needs. It hurts her having this confusion and heartache working away. It is not easy being in a relationship where her heart is really not in it. Rather than walk away and not challenge the feelings; she has offered apology and heart. That is a big move from someone who does not want to create heartbreak and anger. I hope the two managed to remain friends but, rather than feel bad about her former love; eyes are on the future and where the heroine is heading. Her love for another woman is not a passing fancy and idle fascination. There are concrete plans and the hope of solidity and long-term happiness. One cannot begrudge someone who has this sense of clarity and wants to make things a reality. Hurts Me Too is RIDER’s way of transitioning from a tough relationship and trying to adapt to new feelings. The stress and anxiety bubbling in her heart have caused her a lot of pain and discomfort. It is not as though the man she was with treated her badly and made her think of someone else. I guess the revelation and crystallisation was always going to come: the fact the man got caught in the emotional crossfire was not his fault. That being said; it is interesting listening to the lyrics and some of the thoughts that come out. RIDER discusses therapy and the fact (family) have told her she should not love a girl the way she should love a boy – there is something wrong and bad about loving a girl, it seems. The combination of rebelling against close-minded views and being who she is has led to this moment. Sexual identity and security is important when it comes to happiness. She was not in a good place and, rather than dwell and let that damage her; RIDER has explained everything and is not hiding away any longer.


The chorus has a vibrancy and restless energy that gets under the skin and will compel people to dance and sing along to. It will be a big summer hit and, when out in the live forum, get the bodies moved and crowds united. The heroine is happy now – having faced her darkest hour – and she cannot help who she has fallen for. The voice gets bigger and more impassioned as the song enters its final stages. Hurts Me Too can easily fit into the mainstream as there is that excellent production and catchiness that will get people hooked and invested. What I have noticed, in artists going against commercialism, is a return to 1980s sounds. I am not sure who RIDER was brought up on but the Pop sounds coming from the new single reminds me of the scene back then. There are some modern Pop ideas but, largely, I hear the 1980s and the brilliance from that time. It is evocative and stunning discovering an artist who can lovingly splice the modern and past sounds so effectively. RIDER is inventive and does not want her music to simply come along and sound like everything else. I am hearing more artists looking back and reintroducing near-forgotten times into modern music. Many deride the 1980s and feel it is a rather woeful decade. I have a lot of love for it and realise how influential artists like Madonna are. I am not suggesting that is the only influence here – I can hear the American idol in Hurts Me Too. There is modernity and boldness that means it will perfectly suit those who want something instant, big and evocative. You get that in spades from RIDER’s latest track. It is her finest moment yet and showcases a young woman at her happiest and most confident. She is more daring with her music (than her debut) and has that hunger to succeed. Sexy, strong and nuanced: Hurts Me Too is a track many will carry around with them for a long time. I can see the multifaceted young artist going a long way in the industry.


I have talked a lot about RIDER and how her life has changed recently. She will launch Hurts Me Too at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen on 21st February – two days before the track is officially released. That gig will give many new ears a chance to discover RIDER and what she is all about. The fashionable slice of London seems perfect for someone who has embraced the city and taking advantage of its cultures and contrasts. I know spring and summer will be an important time for her. I am not sure what her touring plans are but, when the single comes out; many radio stations and venues will clamber and be eager to see RIDER in their midst. It is only right the talented songwriter gets her dues and achieves her dreams. She has bravely fought against discriminatory voices and barriers. It is hard coming out and confessing something hard to people who do not share the same morals and sense of belonging. Few can deny it has been tough for RIDER but, rather than let it weigh her down; the music she is producing is strong, spirited – it has an emotional edge and is revealing. Who knows how far she can go this year. I predict there will be festival dates and some important London gigs. There is another market the U.S.-born star could exploit: the U.S. itself. I wonder whether she will perform there in 2018 and get her music out to the people there. She already had popularity and a fanbase there. Her new home has welcomed her and, as she gets bigger and better; the more she will want to explore the U.K. and possibilities available. Hurts Me Too is a fantastic single from an artist who will go a long way in the industry and change things. I know there will be more material and, maybe, that will translate into an E.P. Make sure you investigate RIDER and follow her progression. This is the start of things for her: it will only get bigger and better. Hurts Me Too shows there is an endless spirit, inventiveness and ambition…


IN the talented musician.


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