Episode 150: Risa Binder
Air date: 12.16.2015
In the world of music, earnestness can be passe, or even perceived as inauthentic. Care too much, or smile with anything other than a sultry or irreverent sneer and you can lose your cred; but there is another way. Singer and songwriter Risa Binder started her career in music in New York City, but she soon found herself saving up money from waitressing shifts for trips to Nashville, Tennessee. There, in the undisputed epicenter of country music, she immersed herself in the local music scene and earned what she refers to as a graduate degree in the genre by making the rounds at songwriters’ circles and frequenting the Bluebird Cafe - the legendary proving ground for both aspiring and established songwriters. And it’s here that her indelible spirit and unfailing positivity come into play. It could be said that Binder’s avocation is happiness and music is merely her medium, and she is perfectly comfortable in the stylistic nexus between country and pop music that is ruling country music in the new millennium. She has earned scores of fans by engaging them with a positive message and spreading the good vibes around with events like her post-show “sweet and greet” events, where she talks with concertgoers, signs autographs and shares treats from local bakeries. Binder’s first album, Paper Heart, was released in 2011 and since then she has earned an Emmy nomination and had singles reach the country charts. She built on that success with an EP called Nashville in 2014 and is currently working on her next full-length album. Risa Binder is proof that the good girl can win, especially if they wear a sense of earnestness like a badge of honor.