Azure Ryder is an Australian-Lebanese singer-songwriter who emerged in 2020 with a nostalgic and comforting. Gaining notoriety after releasing 3 EPs and a standout cover of Nina Simone’s classic ‘Feeling Good.’, the last year has seen Azure step back and take some time for self-reflection, personal growth and to recalibrate her musical path. Today marks the rebirth of Azure Ryder, as she changes pace with an exciting new sonic direction, showcased for the first time on brand new single ‘Angel.’ Steering away from upbeat pop, towards a more warm and rustic indie sound, perfectly complimented by Azure’s earthy vocals. Harnessing a new found confidence, describes the self-empowering track “as kicking down the door on this reoccurring narrative that women particularly have had written for them – a fairytale romanticising the power position that men hold in love.”
In this interview, Azure opens up about regaining her connection to her gut instinct, her creative process, dream collaborations, and the reason she gravitated toward this new indie direction.
Your new single Angel has more of an indie edge to it than you’ve done in the past, what inspired you to gravitate toward indie?
It’s where my heart has always been and always wanted to go but for a long time was told I shouldn’t. As I moved away from those voices and headed back towards myself, I naturally gravitated there and it has felt so freeing.
This new era has been described as a rebirth, what’s changed within you?
The past year I decided to leave a lot behind me. I felt like I had lost myself in others voices and measured my entire worth against what they thought. When that began to seep into my creative space, a space that I always considered safe and treated sacred, I knew I had to make the decision between either jumping and growing or staying and sinking. The jumping was the only real option for me and although terrifying, the unknown always is, it’s also the place of limitless possibility, it’s the place where fires are built and growth lies, where you can turn inner dreams into outer realities. So as I have pieced myself back together, felt my voice sit inside my body again, creating from this space has been the closest I have ever felt to myself. So yes I see this as a rebirth, my true starting point, take two.
You’ve garnered some comparisons to Florence + the Machine and Kate Bush, how do you feel about those comparisons?
I mean what fierce and graceful voices, wonder woman, fellow witches to be compared too. Comparisons for me are a funny one, I understand in our world people often need to reach for something familiar to understand it especially when it’s new. I do hope one day as people get to know me, my voice will be heard as my own, but I am deeply honoured to be placed anywhere near such distinctive timeless voices as Florence and Kate Bush.
You’ve collaborated with some amazing musicians and producers already. If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who you choose?
Forever and ever, handheld to my heart, Stevie Nicks, she is my ultimate inspiration, someone I have always believed to be the original unapologetic wild heart and I’m manifesting with all the mystic inside of me to one day share a stage, melody, bell sleeve twirl or even a cuddle with her.
What’s your creative process like and did you notice any changes this time around?
My physical process has remained quite similar in the sense of how lyrics and melody have always come to me, usually together, I voice record them and then share acapella with my producer and we paint the world around it from there. I think what has changed most, and perhaps the most important, is my inner mental process, tuning back into my gut instincts, my voice, my feelings, remembering that all that matters is that I feel what I am creating, that my heart runs through it, that is the only thing I ever want to share.
You were the first person to record a music video on Sydney Harbour Bridge, was there a reason you chose that location?
I still can’t believe this, I honestly had no idea that I was the first person until after we had recorded it and I am so grateful to have been granted the opportunity. I wanted to share what I grew up in, these surroundings are what nourish our soul, teach us how to feel and really show us how to be human. I think I wanted to share that feeling of heights, the cool breath that seeps through your lungs, the rush in your heart, the wideness of your eyes, when you know your alive, I wanted to encourage people to reach for that emotion whether they have two feet on the ground or arms spread like a bird atop the harbour bridge.
If you could have any job outside of the music industry, what would you do?
Oh it would still have to be something creative, I am so grateful to have this place to put all my inner world happenings into and connect to others in a way that might help heal. I believe magic lives in your hand so maybe something tactical like a potter, watercolour painter or florist, or somewhere I could have an apothecary to create potions, perfumes, elixirs to instil some enchantment into people’s everyday life’s. I believe all art is for your insides.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote? What’s different now?
Yes I do, I believe I was around 10 years old, I had a little blue folder where I would put all my songs in to sing acapella concerts for my family. The first song was about the Sun, what’s different now ..Nothing much, I still write about the Sun !! haha.
And finally, what’s one piece of advice you were given that you’d pass on to everybody reading right now?
Our hearts are born instinctive and wild but as we grow the world teaches us to fear our inner fires, especially as Women. Your first instinct is your heart talking, beyond that is your head, listen for the one who speaks first, whether it’s as gentle as a whisper or deep as a howl.