With music influenced by the likes of Sam Hunt, Kane Brown, and Tim McGraw, Greg Rider first set his sights on starting his musical journey in Montreal, busking on busy street corners, and playing the city’s vibrant bar scene. From there, he took flight to the Cayman Islands, balancing time between bartending and songwriting, playing open mics under the sun and stars.
His islander life wouldn’t last for too long; he was soon convinced to try his hand at North America’s country music capital, Nashville, where he earned the opportunity to play on Grand Ole Opry’s radio station WSM, at the incomparable venue Whiskey Jam, a full-time residency at Nashville Broadway’s top venues, and full-time at FGL House.
He’s back where it all started, now, setting up shop in Waterdown after a recent cross-Canada tour playing over 75 schools to more than 30,000 high schoolers, sharing music with a message of hope and resiliency. In June 2020, he joined forces with indie label Father & Son Records and released “One Town Away,” the first single of his upcoming album the be released in 2021. Spending almost two years in Nashville writing new songs, Greg is now thrilled to present new music with his next single “Accident” this fall.
- What passion project are you working on these days?
To be honest, I’m always working on different passion projects. I’m always thinking of new ways to spend my time, but right now, my focus is on building my brand online. I’m looking at creating an events company where people can hire me to play backyard shows while COVID is happening because I don’t think venues will be back for a while, so I might as well try and create my own!
- What first inspired you to become a musician/actor/dancer? What was your training?
I’ve always been a fan of music and entertaining. I just never believed in myself enough to go after it. You don’t need much training to start singing, just need to do it a lot and gain confidence. I took vocal lessons in high school to improve, but what got me better was playing as much as I could and building up the muscle.
It’s scary to put yourself out there in the beginning. You think people will cover their ears and tell you to stop singing. That was always my fear.
- What are some challenges that you have faced while building a career in the arts and how did you overcome them?
There are many challenges you must overcome to build a career in the arts. I had to sacrifice a lot in my life and be misunderstood for years. I never wanted to take the route that all my friends took, and it caused friction between us and we parted ways because of it.
They couldn’t understand why I wanted to travel and play music and I couldn’t understand why they wanted to stay in their hometowns and just get a job.
Money doesn’t come easy in the arts and I had to struggle to get by sometimes and play any gig that I could just to pay rent. I didn’t come from a wealthy family, so nothing was ever handed to me. I had to go out and earn everything which doesn’t happen overnight.
- What lessons have you learned that has proven the most valuable?
One of the most important lessons I have learned is “Chase the dream and the money will follow.” It’s my favourite quote because it reminds me to chase after my vision and not just the money.
I enjoy doing the things I love, and I’ve had to do many jobs in the past that I didn’t like but had to do because I needed money. That quote motivates me to find a way to make money from the things I love.
You need to do whatever it takes to survive in this industry, and you will have to do jobs you don’t like, but that’s what makes it worth it in the end.
- What is your WHY? (why do you do what you do?)
Love this question because it’s so important for an artist to know their why. Some artists do it for fame and fortune, but that’s not why I do it.
I do music to inspire the people behind me that are afraid to go after their dreams. I want to show people what happens when you don’t give up on your dreams and you continue fighting for it every day.
I’ve seen myself on a stage in front of thousands of fans for years and each day I’m getting closer to that vision and when it comes, I won’t take it for granted.
I want to use my platform to talk about the things I’m truly passionate about like mental health and the struggle to find one’s self during their 20’s. There’s so much pressure to have everything figured out by a certain age that it drives kids into depression and some aren’t lucky enough to escape it and live in fear their entire life.