Last week was a big one for Santa Barbara-born singer-songwriter Lily Ryder, who dropped her first EP record “Movement Four” on Oct. 2.
Though her debut EP was recorded and produced in Santa Barbara during quarantine, that wasn’t her original intention. Her initial plan for making the album fell through just like so many did with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A 19-year-old graduate of San Marcos High School, Ms. Ryder is currently based in New York City, where she is in her third year of studying songwriting and performance at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
She was going to make the album in New York using the Tisch facilities, but a visit home to Santa Barbara went from a weekend to six months when the pandemic hit.
While she was home, Ms. Ryder reached out to her longtime friend, Chris Cassriel, over the summer to see if he would be interested in producing five tracks she had written and wanted to use for an EP. Mr. Cassriel said yes and the two got to work, but the finished product had a far different track listing than the one Ms. Ryder originally wrote out.
While recording the planned tracks at Mr. Cassriel’s house, Ms. Ryder wrote additional songs that ultimately replaced some on the initial list. On the final EP, only two songs, “Call Me When You Get This” and “Summer,” are among the songs originally selected for “Movement Four.”
The additional songwriting she did during the recording sessions produced her favorite composition to date, “Water,” which she wrote about her family and being home in Santa Barbara.
“That song always gives me a sense of peace because I wrote it about Santa Barbara and about being home,” she said. “It reminds me of all the warm feelings that were there when I wrote that song.”
Those songs originally intended for the EP that ended up on the cutting room floor won’t stay there for long, as Ms. Ryder has an LP record planned as a follow up that will definitely include the discarded tracks.
Influenced by singer-songwriters such as Paul Simon, Phoebe Bridgers, Joni Mitchell, and Stevie Nicks, Ms. Ryder’s songwriting begins on the acoustic guitar, her primary instrument, and her lyrics tend to center on themes such as going home, missing home and feeling lonely.
She told the News-Press that her songwriting process is a fast one and that she doesn’t do very much editing on songs once she’s completed them.
She said of the process, “It’s like, ‘Oh, there it is,’ and then it just comes out.”
The album title “Movement Four” is an allusion to movements in classical music and more generally instrumental music, which Ms. Ryder is a big fan of. It also refers to the songs being rooted in what she referred to as “the fourth movement” of her life.
“I feel these songs were written in what I call the fourth movement of my life, and it’s about the end of that chapter, making peace with that chapter, and moving forward,” she said.
“Movement Four” is now available on Spotify and other streaming services.