MUSIC
12/14/2013 10:28 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 01:38 EST

Serena Ryder Has Been Stompa-ing All Over America

Gustavo Caballero via Getty Images
HOLLYWOOD, FL - AUGUST 13: Serena Ryder performs at Hard Rock Live! in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on August 13, 2013 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)

Canadian folk and rock darling Serena Ryder has been on one heck of a Stateside odyssey since releasing her latest album, "Harmony," there last summer. She's toured with with big American acts and performed on TV shows like "The Queen Latifah Show" and "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and she's thrilled about the experience.

"It's been awesome. It's been really cool," Ryder tells Huffington Post Canada about her year backstage at "Much Presents: The Big Jingle" this past Saturday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. "One Republic were amazing. They welcomed us on tour with them. We were out there for three months and we're making a lot of good connections with other bands and other people. We just got off of tour with Michael Franti & Spearhead, which was really cool, too. It’s really nice to make connections with new people and new audience members. It’s been pretty magical."

Like anyone who works away from home for long periods of time, though, she very happy to be home for the holidays. Even "The Big Jingle" show itself, where she got to perform with longtime colleagues like Hedley – and tease them backstage – felt like coming back to her Canadian music family.

"It is like coming home for me. We've been doing a lot of touring in the States and I'm brand new out there in a lot of ways. So coming here is always really good for me. It’s the familiar faces and the people that have been around your entire career, that have seen you grow step by step. And it’s a really, really nice feeling."

The show wasn't the only thing putting Ryder in such a celebratory mood, though. Her birthday was the next day. And, on the eve of turning 31, she was feeling pretty good about growing up and growing older – even in an industry as youth-obsessed as music can be.

"I would never throw away the years for youth," she says of being in her thirties. "You spend so much of your time worrying about what other people are thinking and not knowing yourself and trying to figure out who and what you are. And I feel like, with every year that passes, I feel more comfortable inside my own skin and inside my own brain and inside my own heart that I would never want to go back to being younger and miss out on how I feel now.

"I love every year that passes. I can't wait 'til I'm a 40-year-old rock and roller, a 50-year-old rock and roller. You just kind of know yourself more and more every year and when you're comfortable with yourself, then other people are more comfortable around you as well."

Much Presents: The Big Jingle, a one-hour special of the concert, airs this Saturday, December 14 at 6pm ET on Much.

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