Sarah Ryder knew she could sing as soon as she was able to open her mouth. From a young age, she paid close attention to lyrics at an early age exclaiming, “It was really when I was eight and nine years old that I started paying attention to Tim McGraw lyrics and thinking, ‘Wow, I love this. I want to do this.’” She recalls a visceral moment at a George Strait concert that felt deeply personal to her. “He just sat on a chair and he sang ‘Amarillo by Morning’ and the whole place was so quiet. And for one second, a massive room full of people were on the same page and listening to this song. It was so powerful,” she explains. “I was like, ‘You know what, it’s not about the poetry it’s about what it makes people feel and how they come together and how they can put themselves in the song. That changed writing for me because it wasn’t about saying things in a beautiful way, it was saying it in a real way. That’s what I love about country. It tells a story and you can put yourself in it.”

Ryder grew up in Lititz, Pennsylvania. “It’s in Lancaster county which is Amish country. If you’ve ever seen Amish Mafia, that’s where I grew up,” she says through a mighty laugh. “Despite my parents not liking country music, I liked country music. I started listening when I was pretty young, about eight years old. And I was inspired,” Ryder first fell in love with the country music from the ‘90s but did a deep dive into the genre and found an affinity for the music of the ‘70s and ‘80s as well. 

She knew she wanted to pursue country music as a career before her freshman year of college. She ended up in Las Vegas for a modeling competition but ended up participating in something else. “There happened to be a singing competition going on. I didn’t even sign up for it I just went in and I did it,” she tells us. One of the judges at the competition was also a major pop producer who approached Ryder and discussed working with her. She ended up living in LA for a bit. “He ended up being quite the mentor but he was very pop. I had so much respect for him and I always will.

After being encouraged by the producer to go to pursue country music and life getting derailed for a bit by sacrificing her own aspirations for a boy, Ryder eventually made the move to Nashville and has been there for nine years. “I was so miserable not writing music. Just a level of misery I can’t even describe so I just up and left,” she says. “And I moved to Nashville and I did it on a whim; I didn’t even have a place to live. That’s kind of how it all started.”

One of her latest releases is the stunning and powerful track titled “Woman” which started out as a stripped-down acoustic ballad turned ethereal country song with full production. The melody came to Ryder when she was driving and decided to bring the idea for the song to a writing session with someone she never worked with. “For some reason I thought, I’m just gonna bring this to her and I’m so glad I did. It ended up being this awesome writing session and the song wouldn’t have been what it was without her,” she tells us. “Every single line of the song is about a woman in my life. It’s hard for me to sing this song live. After I wrote it, so much happened in my life that was devastating. It just carries even more meaning to me.”

Her latest single is the upbeat, energetic track titled “Get Back.” Ryder typically writes about things a year or two later when she has more clarity on the subject matter but “Get Back” was completely different. “I had just told my husband I wanted a divorce and it was a really hard time and I went to my co-writer Marc Copely and we wrote the song in 20 minutes. It just came right out,” she exclaims. “I didn’t like who I was becoming. It wasn’t me and I know the best version of me, I had gotten away from that and so, you know, I want to get back.”

The music video for the song is captivating with retro-themes with a roller rink and neon hues of deep pinks and blues. Everyone featured in the video is a good friend of Ryder’s.

To close out the year, Ryder plans on releasing a silly Christmas song titled “You Ain’t Gettin’ Shit This Year” on November, 18th that she had previously put out but wants to give it a bigger release with stronger promotion.

 To keep up with Ryder, follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

To hear more of country music’s best new releases, head to our Playlists Page and follow The Nash New Releases playlist on Spotify. For the latest in country music news follow The Nash News on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and TikTok, and don’t miss our brand new newsletter!