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Falling apart; building a new life

Serena Ryder's The Art of Falling Apart showcases the personal journey of a woman breaking into pieces and then reconstructing a stronger, better self
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In response to her Juno Award-winning album, The Art of Falling Apart, Serena Ryder is set to perform a two-night concert at the Arden Theatre on Oct. 7 and Oct. 8, 2022. SUPPLIED/Photo

One of Serena Ryder’s official photos taken for the release of the singer-songwriter's 2021 album, The Art of Falling Apart, carries a symbolic message. 

The black and white photo shows Ryder immersed in a deep body of water — water that can either suffocate and kill or cleanse and baptize into a new life. Water is an apt metaphor for the Toronto-based recording artist who is candid about having struggled with depression, alcoholism, and prescription medicine. 

In The Art of Falling Apart, Ryder puts her struggles in song and shifts the conversation from a once-hellish rock bottom to more positive mental wellness and recovery. As presented, the 10-track is an anthem narrating her drive and success. 

“The album has a storyline, a mental wellness journey. It’s about how things happened for me going through the woods and coming out the other side of the forest,” said Ryder. 

The album’s evocative writing, expressive vocals, and sophisticated production earned the platinum recording artist a 2022 Juno Award for adult contemporary album of the year. It was her seventh Juno. 

By way of celebrating the CD’s success, the outspoken mental health advocate is on a cathartic The Art of Falling Apart Canadian tour. She is set to perform a two-night concert at the Arden Theatre on Oct. 7 and 8. 

The Art of Falling Apart was a product of her personal experiences with clinical depression. For years she grappled with the extreme highs and lows of depression, at times barely motivated to get out of bed for months. 

Ryder survived the euphoric emotions and turned her life into a keynote address she has presented at medical conventions and other events. The speech was dubbed The Art of Falling Apart. 

The confessional starts off with Candy, a song in which the singer-songwriter allows herself to be vulnerable and reveal a softer side. Immediately following is the gospel-laced Waterfall

“It allows the tears to come out and when you cry, you allow yourself to heal,” said Ryder. 

The lighter, jazzier Thinking of You allows Ryder to feel joy and gratitude for the people in her life. Bus Stop, on the other hand, relates how she took a year off to remove toxic relationships from her life. 

Kid Gloves was “a way of finding my inner voice when looking outside and translating who I was,” said the artist. Better Now is a powerful, determined song about her decision not to drink. 

“My journey isn’t over. It’s still happening. This is not a linear journey but a beautiful one. The biggest blessing in life is enjoying the mystery. We’re living the mystery. There is so much beauty. And that creates transformation like a chrysalis to a butterfly,” said Ryder. 

Ryder’s Arden concert is performed in three parts: a solo, a duo with bass player Brian Kobayakowa, and an experimental segment as the singer loops drums, keyboard, and vocals to sound like a full band. 

“The show is there, and it’s meant for everyone to be involved. Sing, clap, yell at the stage. I’ll answer. I want to have everyone involved.” 

Opening for Ryder is Desiree Dawson, a Vancouver roots-pop artist who was nominated for the 2022 Juno Award in the adult contemporary album of the year category. 

Both concerts start at 7:30 p.m. on Oct 7 and 8 at the Arden Theatre, 5 St. Anne St. Tickets start at $62. Call the Arden box office at 780-459-1542 or go online at www.tickets.stalbert.ca.