Nashville by way of Brooklyn
by Lisa A. Fraser
Apr 27, 2012 | 25428 views | 0 0 comments | 900 900 recommendations | email to a friend | print

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She's a little bit country, a little bit pop and even some parts rock and roll. Singer-songwriter Risa Binder is blending the three genres to create quite a unique sound on her debut album, Paper Hearts. There, the singer explores the joys of love, the lonliness of heartache but also the triumphs of living through the smooth times and the tough times and finding yourself amidst it all.

Binder is not afraid to let go, show her spunky side, her soft side or a more rocked-out side. Inspired by real-life experiences, the Maryland native says the album is about the adventrues of love – the highs and lows and the process of them.

"Every song is a true story about my friends and my life," she said in a recent telephone interview. "Paper Heart means it is literally open to someone else for safekeeping."

With tracks like "You Made it Rain," which explores the feelings and experiences of a new love interest, she tells the true tale of a personal experience, one where, as fate wold have it, she'd get her way—and her guy.

Another track, "Feel Like Myself" has an edgier, poppier sound and relays the transformation of self when coming out of a relationship and realizing that it might just be better to go it alone.

" When you date someone and you feel like you gave up everything, at the end sometimes it's like 'who am I?'" she said.

The feel-good album delivers fresh sounds with lyrics that inspire, and it's one that when played in the car, creates a "let your hair down" type of mood.

"I really believe if there's a dream in your heart you have to follow it no matter what," Binder said. She hopes the album can also convey that message to listeners.

Binder followed her singing dream straight to New York. From an early age it was either acting or singing for her. She used to write songs on her piano and dream of making it on Broadway —in fact she still auditions for Broadway parts in her spare time.

"Acting is in my blood," she said, noting that acting and song-writing fuel each other.

It wasn't until she went to college and did a show for Loretta Linn that discovered country was in her heart.

"It told stories in ways that really speak to me," she said.

Binder has recorded her debut album in Nashville, Tennessee, a place where she finds plenty of inspiration by her musical idols. But her [paper] heart resides in Brooklyn — Cobble Hill to be exact.

"I love my neighborhood so much," she said. "Everyone knows your name, I love the mom-and-pop shops

and if it were up to me I'd be at the Chocolate Room having dessert every Friday," she said. Binder moved into the neighborhood six y ears ago, two years after landing in New York City.

The neighborhood constantly serves as inspiration for her.

"Everything about Brooklyn inspires me," she said. "From the

little dogs walking down the street

to the new mom pushing the baby down the street."

While Binder is just getting started in the industry, the singer is also following another passion; a humanitarian endeavor. She is the creator of the BeTheChange Blog. It is a space where Binder showcases everyday heroes that help people through voluntering.

"I feel like if you don't live here people might think New Yorkers are not nice and I see random acts of kindness everyday in the city," she said. "The blog is a way to open people's eyes to what goes on here everyday."

She has worked with groups like Bottomless Closet and Keen NY, to help disadvantaged individuals. She hopes to work with the Food Bank for NYC in the future.

"The whole point is that you don't have to have a ton of money to make a difference," she said.

Currently Binder is on the "You Made It Rain" radio tour, traveling around the U.S. Her single, "You Made It Rain", is quickly climbing the country charts.

"My aim is to just focus on this album now," she said. Through her journey on the tour, she said she willl start to think of songs for the next album.

"It took a while for me to get to this place," she said. "I want to savor it."

For more information on Risa, visit

On Wednesday, May 2, Risa Binder will perform three sets at Hill Country in Chelsea at 8:30 p.m.

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