The track, You, is available via:
14th September, 2018
THIS time around…
I wanted to look at a few different, new things. I will come to look at RIDER and her latest track soon but, when thinking about her style and changes, things do pop into the head. I will talk about authenticity in music and those who are very real and revealing in music; artists who keep things fresh and do not stay with the same sound; live performers who can bring something sensational and memorable to the stage; complete and organised artists who are not mainstream and have their own direction – I will look at where RIDER might go and what her future holds. I was watching a documentary on Amy Winehouse yesterday evening that put her album, Back to Black, under the spotlight. It was a classic album series that spoke with those involved in the album’s creation and collected archive interviews with Winehouse. The artists died in 2011 and yesterday would have been her thirty-fifth birthday. It was a bittersweet documentary that highlighted and exposed Winehouse’s unique and peerless talent and how she approached the recording of that album. The eleven-track record was released in 2006 and is an award-winning, confessional record. Where does RIDER fit into this speech?! Well; she does not have (luckily) the same tragedy and addiction issues as Amy Winehouse but the common factor is the sense of authenticity and personality one gets in the music. Winehouse wrote about breakups and those who let her down. She said how no fake or unlikable lyric made its way onto that album – she was not going to sing something impure that lacked any meaning. I was amazed by her candidness and sense of confidence. The songs throughout Back to Black have fantastic production values – thanks to Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi – but it is that central figure that makes things shine. It is sad Winehouse is no longer with us but artists can look at her epic album as a sign of just how good she was!
I listen to RIDER and I do not hear the same fakery and commercial drive as you get with many artists. Knowing her, I also know how much music means and it is a way of putting herself into the world. A lot of artists are warm and open in the flesh but there are things they cannot communicate through conversation. Like Winehouse; RIDER uses music as a way of confessing and exploring; digging deep into her soul and bringing from her heart lines and scars that make you think. Maybe the two artists’ voices and personalities are different but I can sense a very pure and hungry artist in RIDER. She does not put words into her songs that are aimed for radio-play and following the pack: her creations have that unique and stunningly emotional quality that stands aside and worms its way into the soul. Another reason why I wanted to look at Amy Winehouse was the honesty of her interviews. You did not have rehearsed lines and you could really connect with her. A complex human with troubles but a big and open heart; a very real artist who has inspired legions of new artists – I wonder whether we will see her like again. I do wonder how many artists actually mean what they say and how real their music is. I can detect those who are aiming for chart gold or writing music that has very little connection to them. RIDER does not waste words and ensures everything she puts out into the world is personal and from her mind. Maybe you feel that is no special thing but you would be surprised how many artists lack any real conviction and control over their music. In the vocal and delivery, I can pick up on an artist who wants the listener to listen to every syllable and take her music to heart. In an age where albums are less important and we are looking for a quick hit; RIDER is an artist who writes music that warrants serious investigation and time. Whether she is planning an album next year – I will touch on that a bit later – every song she puts into the world is very much her thoughts and emotions; lines that are meaningful and personal that we can all connect with and relate to.
I also hear a lot of artists who either stick with a same and familiar sound or lack any sense of direction and consistency. It can be hard cementing a sound and discovering what the listener wants. Music is about experimentation and bravery and it does take to get things right. I have been following RIDER since the start and she is someone who always wants to push her music forward. Her previous single, Hurts Me Too, stunned me and I was lucky enough to review it. That was an emotional and heart-aching song and, whilst it has plenty of fizz and memorability; You is the artist stepping into new territory and doing something new. The first few seconds of each song are vastly different. Hurts Me Too is a slower beginning and has more emotive and tearful beginnings. You starts off with crackle and plenty of spunk. One might say that split and development might lack focus but the opposite is true. Rather than repeat herself and write another song that spoke of heartache and pain; we have a different angle and an artist who keeps things fresh and evolved. I go back to Winehouse and how an album like Back to Black contained different musical styles – classic Soul and the girl group sound of the 1960s together with Blues – and lyrical themes. The opener, Rehab, is witty and humorous but delivers a serious punch; love songs throughout the record are varied and interesting and there is no repetition. RIDER is someone who can keep her personality and purity but does not want to repeat her. I spoke to her before her new track came out and she said she has been experimenting and looking to venture into new realms. It is encouraging finding an artist who is writing music that means something to her but provides something different and unpredictable. I am excited to see where she goes next and where her music is headed.
There are artists who can switch things up between releases but RIDER seems to be vibing from the city of London and the various scenes and sights. I look for artists who are original and do not repeat the same tricks. RIDER goes through heartache and relationship troubles but she has a curious and imaginative mind that does not want to remain still and ordinary. I love the boldness of her sound and how she makes such shifts between songs. I have hinted at a possible album but I think an E.P. is more likely. Maybe that will come next year and it is exciting to see her progress, develop and shift. Every song from her is an open and honest story that you can dive in and feel safe. You really root for her and feel a connection and that sort of potent emotion is hard to find. She is a true and authentic writer who wants others to learn from her music and know there is someone like her out there. I am going through change at the moment and moving. It is a bit scary and the future is not 100% sure and I wonder how things will go. I look to music to provide guidance and a sense of direction and I get that with RIDER. What you get from her is relatable words and music that is so rich and interesting. I am not sure of her exact process and how the notes come together but you can tell everything has to mean something! The songwriter has a team around her but she does not let them dictate and guide her sounds too heavily. Instead, she has a great band behind her and you get this collaborative process. It would be easy to repeat songs and, after success, stay on that course and not make too many changes. RIDER does not want to get stagnant or sound too predictable. Instead, you get songs that are their own beast and do not sound like anything that came before. This is something a lot of artists should take to heart.
I will talk about RIDER as a complete artist soon but it is her live performances that have been getting a load of love. I am yet to see her perform – I will amend this very soon – but the reviews are clear and positive. She loves performing to crowds and, being based in London, she has a lot of venues around her. What strikes me about her live shows is how much energy she puts out there. A great performer who does not repeat what is on the record – you get fresh nuance and revelation with every gig. I know she loves the connection with the audience and seems to be at home on the stage. It is great hearing her music in the studio but she seems to feel free and unleashed on the stage. Projecting a lot of movement, spirit and electricity; she is someone you need to see play and see what the fuss is about. I am reluctant to go and see some artists perform because I wonder whether they will provide value and are going to be worth it. In a busy age where we all have less time and money to go out; I see many of us staying at home and not venturing out. When you do go out to a gig, you want to make sure it is worth the trip and you’ll get something special. That is a lot of demand and pressure on an artist but there are plenty who can provide wonderful and memorable sets. RIDER knows all of this and wants people to come away from her gigs feeling different and having had a very special night. There are very few original tracks out there but she is growing as an artist and has a busy future ahead. When she takes to the stage, you know she wants people to come together and have a fantastic time. Rather than hide away and not put much out there, we get a wondrous and physical performance that stays in the mind for a long time.
I feel RIDER has the chance to perform a lot up and down the country. She is American-born and has experience playing and watching gigs over there. I know there is a part of her that wants to play back in the U.S. and I feel next year will be an exciting and busy one for her. It is her determination to get out in front of people and have her music heard that stands out. Rather than spend hours on social media and look at streaming figures – she has to consider that but it is not the most important thing – being out in front of people and getting their reaction is much more powerful and effecting. She played at The Water Rats not too long ago and it was a fantastic gig for her. The live shots you see in this review are from that gig and capture what she is all about. I have mentioned how she is a real artist and there is no fakery in what she does. This is especially true when she plays gigs. RIDER brings out her personality and has that instant bond with the people. In order to succeed in the music industry, you need to consider everything and ensure you deliver in every area. RIDER knows this and, in terms of live performance, is ready for new challenges and fresh audiences. I would like to see a U.K. tour – which will come with more material – but she is someone who would love to take to the skies and get her music around the world. One of the reasons I want to see her perform live is to see that reaction and how it makes people feel. A great performer should be able to connect with the crowd but there is a lot more to it than that. RIDER packs so much colour, energy and brilliance into her sets and I know she will get even stronger as a live artist.
Great artists, too, need to have multiple sides and tackle everything music puts in their path. By that, I mean they need to strike you with their personality and complete package. RIDER, having met her a couple of times, is ambitious and has a lot of plans for her career. She has feistiness but there is that honest and soulful quality that means she is open and human. She can relate to you and have that sensitive nature but she is an upbeat and positive human who wants to go as far as possible. Her website and social media profiles are fantastic and appealing. You can get a lot of information and know where she is heading next. A lot of mainstream artists are directed and they have to follow what the label wants. Artists like RIDER, although they have management, are not being dictated to and are restricted. Instead, she is able to craft her own career as she pleases and there is a great sense of understanding – that connection with the label and her management. Her band is around her and, when she shoots music videos, you have a great team that brings her stories to life. The videos are great and memorable. I remember watching the clip for Hurts Me Too and being impressed by it. It is an emotional watch and contains some striking images. There is a sexiness and physical excitement but one sees the heroine pained and teary. A Little Light, too, has emotional moments but there are some salacious and sexy moment – a passionate and exciting video that has a sense of joyride and abandon. Now, on You, you get even more excitement, colour and bounce. Each video has a different skin and does not repeat what came before. I know how much she puts into each video and how important it is to tell a story through film. Artists have limited budget but RIDER uses studios and the outdoors effectively and creates something special. Videos are as important as songs to me and you can get something out of videos you cannot from the songs – new shades and elements that are not evident in the original song.
I am always impressed by artists who have brilliant social media pages and a professional edge. RIDER has great sense of creative drive and imagination and brings that to videos. She wants fans informed and connected so ensures she brings us the latest information, photos and updates. You are part of her world and feel part of the team. Whether there is a collective noun for RIDER fans – might have to brainstorm that one – I am not sure but you always feel connected to her. This is important at a time when we are less connected as people. I struggle to bond with too much music and it can feel very impersonal. Some artists do not have high-resolution photos and do not consider the visual side of what they do. I know I go on about this quite a lot but photos are crucial in this day and age. There is no excuse for overlooking it and one cannot say they are too expensive. One can get a lot of photos taken in a single shoot and, even though it costs a little, it is an investment that will pay for itself. You know that band/artist is more serious and you get to see different sides to their personality. Rather than make people guess and struggle to piece things together; those who consider every element of music are going to resonate and be much more appealing. RIDER takes care to ensure her music and videos are the best they can be. I know she wants to go a long way in the industry and she is doing a fantastic job so far. There are few artists out there who have as much attention to detail and care as she does. I know she will go a long way and there is a very bright future for her. The fact she goes out of her way to deliver as much as possible and give her fans a great experience does really show. I know all this hard work will pay off and she will be a mainstream star in the future. We need those who stand out and are real; artists that are original and deliver huge value.
The opening notes of You are vastly different to anything RIDER has put out there. It has a gleefulness and sense of delight that makes me think of the 1980s. If anything, there are touches of Prefab Sprout around their From Langley Park to Memphis period. You are hooked and interested before a note has been sung and it is a fantastic introduction. The video sees RIDER and the band in a studio playing the song live. The heroine bounces and dances to the music and we know this is a song that wants people to get up and feel involved. We get shots of a bedroom and items; a sense of memory and today – a complex set of shots that make me think of someone rebuilding and taking new steps. RIDER talks about being reborn and not being who you were before. I have talked about her personal approach to music but here, it seems, she is directing her words at someone else. The girl in the song – I get the sense she is talking about herself to an extent – is not who she was yesterday and things are different today. Maybe there have experienced heartbreak and bad times but those memories are in the past. Perhaps things have been bad but they can get better. RIDER’s voice, too, sounds more alive and deep than I have ever heard. She attacks the song with so much energy and colour but ensures she injects plenty of emotion and honesty into You. The hard times have passed and now she is going into a good period. It is hard to avoid a sense of autobiography when you listen hard. Previous RIDER songs have looked at pain and struggle but now, it seems, she is thinking ahead and knows things are getting better. Maybe I am over-reaching but I can hear the heroine speaking to herself in addition to an anonymous heroine. You are sucked into the song and affected by its spritzing and delightful tones.
It is impossible to listen to the song and not feel the need to get a bit active and jump along with it. We hear about stars aligning and things improving and, when the chorus hits, that true explosion comes. It is a delirious and bold delivery that takes you by surprise and packs plenty of strength. On You, one hears a positive coda that urges people to move past the bad and realise better things are ahead. Whether a documentation of the anxiety we feel and how we can all get bogged down; I always feel like the song is speaking to me. Great tracks should have personality and be true to the artist but they need to be understood by the listener. We have always got this from RIDER but this is her most expressive and exciting track. Although there is a lot of modern production and elements, you definitely get that sensation of the 1980s and the Pop of the day. The song becomes more personal and love-based in the chorus. The heroine wants the boy to be the one who stole her heart and thinks about. Maybe there have been some hard times and setbacks but she knows things are getting better and they are rekindling the flame. Our girl is belting the words and pouring her heart out. It is exciting and thrilling to hear the song and the power that arrives from the vocal. Her band is tight and supportive and they create an incredible sound together. Even if there have been hard times; that physical connection and understanding they have is right and real. RIDER knows how strong the relationship is and how much it means to her. Unable to escape the wave of energy and delight that comes from the song; it is wonderful hearing something so thrilling and inspiring. A lot of songs still trade in misery and a sense of negativity and RIDER is determined to project something wonderful. The synths and electronic elements of the song have that nostalgic feel but are modern at the same time; the band is always in-step with RIDER and You goes through various phases. Taking the energy down a bit near the end – so she can focus on her subject – there is actually a bit of Alternative-Rock from the 1990s and 2000s. You had those elements of 1980s Pop but there is another genre-shift before the chorus comes back in. A song that evolves, mutates and twists; You is a great song that showcases RIDER’s powerful and nuanced voice – she puts in a really powerful performance and take you aback – and an artist who is keen to explore new ground. Considering her changes and how she creates something new every time; I wonder where she goes from here. It is a very exciting time in RIDER’s camp and I cannot wait to see where she heads next.
RIDER has made moves and developments between songs and she gets stronger by the release. I am a big fan of hers and am lucky enough to have spoken with her. I know she is curious and always looking to push and build her music. Her first couple of offerings have their own sound but, on You, there is something fresh and new coming through. RIDER does not want to stand still and repeat things. It is a great time for her and I feel, next year, she will go even further. I wonder whether she will bring an E.P. out and what she has planned. Her gigs are getting great reviews and she clearly loves being up on the stage. It is wonderful to see her vibe and bond with the audience and have so much fun. Enthusiasm is an important thing to hold onto and it will see her go a very long way. Ensure you check out her latest offering and its great video. I opened by comparing her, in a way, to Amy Winehouse. Both artists put themselves onto the page and do not write anything that lacks meaning and relevance. It is hard to detect fake artists from the real but there is never any doubt about RIDER. Another great thing is you never know where she will head next. Maybe she will stick in Alternative-Pop territory with flecks of electronic or she might take the lights down and go into a more Soul/Jazz realm. As we wonder whether she might step and what her plans are; it is worth looking at what she is bringing out now and how her stock is rising. A brilliant and passionate artist who is holding her head high and getting under the skin; I wish her a long and happy career in music. She can go as far as she wants and, with great people around her, has that comfort, partnership and support. This is important to keep a hold of and she knows this too. You can hear an artist who is born to be in music and wants to get people talking about her. You is a fantastic song from someone who is showing there is nobody out there like her. Give RIDER some serious love and time and, when she gigs next, make sure you get out there and see her…
DO her thing.