What: Serena Ryder
Where: Butchart Gardens, 800 Benvenuto Ave.
When: Thursday, July 25, 8 p.m.
Tickets: Free with paid admission to Butchart Gardens
It’s little wonder that Butchart Gardens is advising people to arrive at the grounds early today if they want to avoid waits at the gate. With Serena Ryder set to take the stage tonight, it likely won’t take long for the parking lot to reach capacity.
The 36-year-old singer-songwriter from Millbrook, Ont., has a loyal following in Victoria. She performed before 5,000 fans at the Rifflandia festival in 2014, the same year she won Juno Awards for best artist and best songwriter.
She was back again last year for a sold-out show at the Capital Ballroom following the release of her 2017 album, Utopia, her first since the smash-hit Harmony five years earlier.
With such songs as the quadruple-platinum Stompa and What I Wouldn’t Do in her repertoire, it’s likely Ryder’s outdoor show at Butchart Gardens tonight will be just as popular.
All of which will be nothing new for Ryder, who has been impressing audiences for years. Blessed with a three-octave range, she started singing at eight and writing songs in her teens, releasing her first album at 17.
She has won six Junos, including best new artist in 2008 following the release of her album If Your Memory Serves You Well.
Her official website notes that her songs have appeared in more than 50 TV shows and commercials, including Grey’s Anatomy, VEEP and Suits.
Even last year’s holiday album, Christmas Kisses, earned raves, ringing in at number five on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the best new Christmas albums of 2018.
“The worst thing in the world is feeling alone and feeling like somebody doesn’t relate to you or that people don’t understand,” Ryder says on her website.
“If I can make somebody feel like I know how they feel, that’s such an amazing thing.
“You can hear a song and feel ‘that song was written for me.’ I want to give that to people so they don’t feel as alone.”
Ryder’s gig at the Gardens kicks off a quick tour of B.C. that includes stops at the Squamish Constellation Festival on Friday and Sun Peaks Resort in Kamloops on Saturday.
The shows come amid a busy month for Ryder, who recently announced the launch of ArtHaus, a new recording studio and multipurpose creative space in Toronto.
“I have a lot of really amazing, talented artists coming in and recording and writing,” Ryder told Pique news magazine in Whistler.
“It’s a really interesting space and it’s about community and helping each other out and learning from each other. I’ve always wanted my own recording studio. I started building it, designing it, and had a lot of help from a lot of people. Once I finished, I was like: ‘I want to share it.’ ”
That sense of community is one of the biggest changes that she has noticed in the music industry of late, Ryder said in her interview with Pique.
“I feel like there’s the collapse of this hierarchical society,” she said. “There’s a different perspective now. We realize it takes a village.
“It’s important to respect everybody and treat them as you want to be treated yourself and realize we’re all in it together. It’s taken us long enough in North America to realize community is everything. When I started it was: ‘Be an island, girl.’
“That’s changed the most.”