There are two particular new releases that came to mind from two new acts from Ontario, Canada. I say new acts in the sense that they haven’t issued a radio release in the States before, but both have been around for a few years and are ready to take on the States. Can these artists from up north travel the same way on the charts? Bring it on! (Oh, and bring down some maple syrup, would ya?)
SERENA RYDER – “Stompa”
Release Date: February 25 (AAA radio)
30-year-old Ryder hails from Toronto and has been recording for over a decade, but it’s been just within the past few years that she’s been putting out material to a larger audience thanks to her record deal with EMI’s Canada division. She first made Canada’s Singles Chart in 2007 with “Weak In The Knees”, the first release from If Your Memory Serves You Well, which was introduced to me by my friend Mike from The Max Online. It was more of a folk-driven song, but I liked it for a while, and it ended up peaking at #49 in her native country and went Gold, as did the album. (It never ended up making my personal chart.) Followup single “Calling To Say” did better, edging up to #40. 2008 brought her next album, Is It O.K., which also went Gold but didn’t place any singles really highly. I remember listening to “Little Bit Of Red”, the first single, for a few weeks before eventually tiring of it, and it peaked at a disappointing #82. I’m guessing that people thought that was it for her given her diminishing peaks, but she came roaring back in 2012 with a major hit in “Stompa”, which marked a significant change in style for the singer into a more rock-influenced sound. It worked; the song’s gone top ten in Canada and garnered her another Gold certification for both the song and parent album Harmony. With that success behind her, her U.S. label, Capitol Records, is ready to bring her into the United States and onto adult album alternative radio, where the song will be a perfect fit. It meets nicely in the middle between a Joan Jett & The Blackhearts record from the mid-80’s and Adele‘s soulful yet biting song that is 2011’s “Rumour Has It”. With lyrics about putting away your troubles and getting lost in the sound of the music, everyone should be able to like it. Look for the song to have quick ride (or ryde if we’re still going for puns) up the charts. I’m certainly rooting for it.
WALK OFF THE EARTH – “Red Hands”
Release Date: March 18 (Hot AC radio)
Remember when Gotye and Kimbra‘s “Somebody That I Used To Know” blew up and a video went viral of a quintet singing along to the song while all of them played the guitar at the same time? Look no further than this group out of Burlington, who first got together in 2006 and recorded two independent albums together. When their cover video made them an internet sensation, they landed a spot on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and got signed to Columbia Records, who picked up the song and distributed it digitally. It became a top-20 hit in Canada and went Platinum, though it didn’t out peak the original composition, of course. In terms of bigger projects, the label has thus far released a four song EP by the band called R.E.V.O. in October. A full-length album, also bearing the same name, will be out on March 19. At same time, the band has been continually putting up new videos of both original songs and cover versions of popular songs, like Taylor Swift‘s “I Knew You Were Trouble”, which was recognized by the artist last month. Their first song to be issued to radio here in the States is “Hands”, which has already been a minor entry in their native country. While not an acoustic track like most of the material they seem to be synonymous with, it should be a hit with those listeners who like fun., Jason Mraz and Michael Franti & Spearhead. It has the same sort of organic but full studio sound that those acts do well, with a heavy drum beat and sing along chorus. Although, given our sensitivity to gun control and shootings in the news lately, a line like “that gun is loaded/but it’s not in my hand” may be a little much for some people at radio at the current time. Otherwise, it’s a fun and playful tune that will get you clapping along this summer.
What do you think of these two songs? Are they hits in the making or will they not make the rankings? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.