Greg Rider from Ontario really wanted to release a breakthrough song for Canadians after everything we’ve been going through with the pandemic.
I got the opportunity to chat with Greg about his new release and how the song “Northern Lights” came to life. This song is now available to listen to anywhere you get your music and stay tuned for a music video coming soon!
An Interview With Greg Rider
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us at Front Porch Music. We’re so happy to be able to do the interview with you and chat about your new single “Northern Lights.” Let’s start by giving you an opportunity to introduce yourself to everyone and tell us a little bit about your roots and how you got into music.
Yeah, my name is Greg Rider I’m originally from Waterdown, Ontario and I’ve been living out of Alberta for the last month.
I jumped ship from Ontario to Alberta just to come and get myself some more opportunity out here playing music.
I’m looking forward to the new song which is called “Northern Lights” and this song was written in one of our many pandemic writing sessions. I wrote this song on zoom with my friend Parker Graye and I remember I jumped on the zoom call and I felt kind of anxious, I felt kind of bundled up, you know I’m back in my hometown after exploring different parts of the world.
I lived down in Nashville for two years and I was working the Cayman Islands before that and I came back up to Canada to do a high school tour across Canada and I spoke at about 85 schools across Canada and then Covid hit, and it really put a damper on a lot of things for everyone. It made everything kind of come to a halt so I had to take a really big look at my life.
I kinda said to myself ‘what can I do right now,’ and I really couldn’t do much. So I just picked up a job doing landscaping back in my hometown and my plan was to just save some money and as soon as this thing starts to lift then I get out. So yeah, I just kind of came out here last month and things have been going pretty well so far.
So how did you get into music and what made you decide that it was what you wanted to do?
I never really grew up with music in the sense of I didn’t start early into my song writing and singing, it was more something that I just enjoyed. I would sing in the car and stuff like that, but never really thought of it as like a career or something I could do.
I went to school for broadcasting to be a TSN sports broadcaster and I thought that’s where my route was kind of going in life. I did an internship down in Toronto when I was 21 years old, and I just realized that it wasn’t really for me. I wanted to see the world, I wanted to travel, I wanted to be my own boss, so I decided just to cancel that and when I was on my way home from the internship I got into a car crash. It was a scary crash on the 403 which was just outside of Toronto and I remember standing on the side of the road and I felt like my old life kind of blew up before me and I started asking myself ‘am I happy with how my life is turning out right now?’ And I wasn’t.
I decided to make some changes and I said to myself ‘if I can do anything with my life what would it be?’ And I wanted to be on stage.
Speaking, telling stories, and entertaining people and I wanted to get the confidence and the courage to sing on a stage. I started taking music more seriously after that day. I picked my guitar back up that was sitting in my room for about five years collecting dust and I finally just brushed it off and I started learning really easy cover songs and just trying to gain more courage and confidence.
At 22, I moved to Montreal and that was the first time I ever played in front of a live audience. I was at this little bar, there was an open mic session and I think I forgot pretty much every line, but I remember getting off stage and I was like okay, I absolutely sucked up there but that feeling was incredible.
After that I just wanted to find out how to get better at performing on stage while singing my music, so I took off on this whole journey of getting into music. It’s definitely been a journey. With anything, you gotta ride the highs and the lows and you know it’s been a tougher past year and a half for all musicians, but I really do see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Northern Lights” is the song that is a break-free song for Canada. It’s our opportunity to really try and get back to a normal and this is our chance to enjoy this summer with friends and bonfires and getting back to being more normal.
This is the song I wanted for Canadians that have been cooped up and stuck inside. This is our chance to kick back with friends and enjoy these summer nights.
Is that kind of like what the creative process was like behind writing the song just coming up with something that would be like a breakthrough song?
The process was just kind of me and Parker talking and saying because of the pandemic it’s very hard to write happy, upbeat songs because, like, you’re stuck inside and all you wanna do is write self-reflection songs and sad songs.
I was like you know what, I don’t want to write that today. We’ve already had enough bad news happen to us and with everything being closed down I was like “imagine this weekend if everything opened up, what would you be doing” and I’m just like I would just get like 50 of my friends, do a big bonfire in the woods, and grab a couple cases of beer and, just like old times when your only worry in the world was what beer I’m drinking tonight.
I just wanna go back to those nights.
That’s one thing that I love so much about the song, it’s just got such a fun and carefree vibe perfect for summer. What do you want your listeners to know about you as an artist from the song?
I just think that this is much more of my stereotypical song which I try not to write those stereotypical country songs about trucks and stuff like that because I like to write more of a deeper message in a deeper thought to my music.
I just really like the melody of the song and with everything going on, for me it has a much more serious draw to it.
I know this song has been getting some traction on TikTok and I’ve had some crazy messages with people being like I’ve been thinking about ending my life.
There’s been some messages where people like the song and it just makes me look forward to what’s coming and I think everyone has such a hard time with mental health and I’m very passionate about helping people who are struggling to find themselves, so this is a chance for people to put feeling lonely on the side burner for now and then let’s get back to this amazing summer. This song is a chance to be present and enjoy your family and friends.
Are you planning on releasing any kind of music video for the song?
Yeah, I just confirmed some stuff today so we’re looking to do a big music video halfway through July here in Alberta just outside of Edmonton. We’ve got like a nine acre property that we’re going to do a big bonfire and invite some friends over and just kind of do exactly what we said, make a big bonfire, have a couple cases of beer lying around, and just have a really good night.
That sounds perfect, I’m so excited to watch it when it comes out! So, you’ve performed across Canada and toured the US, what do you miss most about being able to tour and perform in front of audiences?
I just miss being up there.
I think that’s a feeling like no other and it kinda feels weird we haven’t got back to bigger shows yet, but I’ve been playing some patio’s out here in Alberta and it’s just crazy how much you forget when you don’t play for about a year and a half. It almost feels like I’m starting again and building up my repertoire.
I just can’t wait to get back into bigger crowds and just continuing just to put the pedal down and go for it.
Who are some of the artists or songs that you’re currently listening to?
Right now, I’m listening to a bunch of different upbeat country stuff.
I’ve been really loving Jordan Davis for the last couple years. He’s definitely one of my favorite artists. Also, I’m still listening to Sam Hunt.
I’m liking Matt Stell, he’s come out with great songs his last couple releases. Just kind of staying to all those kinds of up-and-coming pop country guys.
I’m really loving Kameron Marlowe, and there’s a lot of great guys coming out in Nashville right now so I’m enjoying their music.
If you could open for anyone, who would it be and why?
It would have to be Sam Hunt. I think he’s going his own direction and I think that’s one thing that I really love about him.
He totally carved his own path, and I don’t like getting put into a box. It’s hard for me to say I’m a country artist because sometimes I just feel like I write whatever kind of melody and stuff that comes to my head and sometimes it doesn’t sound country and sometimes it does sound country.
“Northern Lights” is probably the most country song of mine, so I just like writing that comes to my head and kind of taking my own path and, you know, seeing where it takes me. I really take a lot of influence from Sam Hunt with just him doing his own thing.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about yourself or your new single?
Yeah “Northern Lights” is obviously the main focus right now and then I have a new song dropping in August which is probably gonna be my most authentic.
It’s a song that is going to shock a couple people and calling out some people and stuff like that so it’s going to get pretty real at the end of August.
I’m excited to kind of get that song out, it’s been recorded in the last year and a half and I wrote it in Nashville about two and a half years ago and it’s just been sitting all done on my phone and I’ve just been waiting for a good time to release it. I feel like after “Northern Lights” is the right time.
I’m looking forward to hearing that song as well! Thanks so much for joining us on the Front Porch and chatting with us about your new single “Northern Lights!”
Stream “Northern Lights” By Greg Rider
About Greg Rider
Greg Rider recently moved back to his hometown and toured across 80 Canadian schools. His goal was to spread a message of hope and resiliency and share how he overcame anxiety and depression.
Born in Mississauga, Rider always knew he was meant to be an entertainer. At 21 years old, a near-death experience changed his perspective. His dreams were no longer constrained by money or his geographic location.
He spent his early adult years performing on the street corners of Montreal and bartending in bars. He then moved to the Cayman Islands to bartend at the Margaritaville Resorts. Four months later, he bought a one-way ticket to Nashville to become a full-time singer and songwriter.