Columbia, Maryland native, Risa Binder currently splits her time between Nashville and New York, finding inspiration wherever she goes. She grew up writing songs about boys that she had crushes on in high school and singing into old corn husks like they were her microphone with her sister, knowing from an early age where her passion lies. She tells New York Country Swag in a recent interview that her family was always listening to all different types of music but she found a love for musical theatre before becoming obsessed with country music. “I loved Reba McEntire and Martina McBride because these women told stories, and theatre songs and country songs are very similar, they tell a great story and the truth through song,” she tells us.
She decided to travel to Nashville and attended a songwriter night at The Bluebird Cafe that changed her life. She heard one of the writers of Garth Brooks’ “The Dance” sing his song and that is when she knew that she wanted to write hit songs for a living. “I went to New York City and I would waitress to save money and would go down to Nashville and the city sort of became my grad school,” Binder recalls. “I would find the country venues in New York and play there and then I would go out to Nashville and play there.”
Eventually, her record label Warehouse Records decided it was time for her to make the move to Nashville but before she made the big move she prayed to God for a sign that it was the right thing for her. After spending a flight down to Nashville sitting next to songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman (“This Kiss”) and learning all about her story she got the sign she was looking for. “We had a wonderful conversation and at the end of the flight, she asked if we could help her grab her guitar case. Jordan, my husband gets it, she swings it over her shoulder and her guitar case says “Faith” in big letters.”
Two months later, Chapman invited Binder to be her guest at The Bluebird Cafe, fulfilling a dream she had when she first started in this business. “Things like that keep happening, when you are following that passion, magic stuff starts showing up,” she says. She had the opportunity to open for Ronnie Milsap on the night he was being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and then continued to be his opening act for the better part of two years. On touring with Milsap she explains: “I fell in love with how much of a family the road could be. My band is my family. We love each other, we are all trying to make this dream happen.”
Her single “You Came Along” was written by Locash, Phil Barton and Lindsey Rimes and she completely fell in love with the song immediately, telling us originally she thought it was about the love she had for her husband. After recording the song she found out she was pregnant with her daughter and her perspective on the song changed. “We filmed that music video 3 weeks after I gave birth and she’s in it at the very end.” Check out the video for the beautiful song above.
As she continues to write and record music, she tells us that she is a huge fan of dream boards and putting your future plans into the universe. “What you put out there if you focus on it and you are working towards it and you have a photo of it that you look at every day, it actually comes true,” she says. We found out that currently on her dream board in her apartments in Nashville and New York are pictures of big festivals and the Grand Ole Opry. She explains she would love to play Stagecoach one day as well as play at the Grand Ole Opry. “It may take 5 years or 7 years, but if you keep writing and performing you hope one day you’ll be able to step into that circle. You have to listen to your own heartbeat and why it’s beating and follow that.”