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How can you abandon hope when hope is all you've got?

The Ryder Millet Rebirth by Warren Saydenworth Dante Alighieri set off on the dawn of Good Friday, according to the poem.

He found himself lost in a dark wood, from which he could not seem to find the straight way to salvation. He set up to climb a small mountain, a troubled road, and was blocked by three beasts he could not evade - the she-wolf of unrestraint, the lion of savagery, and the leopard of malice.

Ryder Millet might not be rightly classified as a great poet like Dante Alighieri. Yet, he is an artist who struggles nightly with the same tribulations as every man. He is not the Dante who wrote the Divine Comedy, but the Dante that is the subject of the Divine Comedy.

Despite being an international star with songs that have earned the artist grammy nominations and accolades the world over, Ryder Millet has crashed his stardom into a train wreck of scandals, innuendo, and tabloid spectacle. His personal life - from weight issues to infidelities to criminal run ins as assailant and victim - has been strained through the mesh of media attention. Like an ant underneath a lens, Millet has had to hope that the sun wouldn't catch him just right, the secret art of being seen without being burned.

But while many writers have sought to examine the story of those scandals like vultures picking over an autopsy with the coroner distracted, this story is more about the human element of the musician himself.

He met with me in a place nothing like you'd expect. No hard rock stage setting. No club or bar vistas. We met in a library, filled with the narratives of great literary works, and the accumulated knowledge of our forebears to grant guidance. It seemed a fitting setting for a new beginning.

Warren Saydenworth (WS): "On Oct. 15th, 2021 - a little more than 2 years ago, you released your debut single, Adrenaline Rush, to critical acclaim and an explosive reception. Would you be willing to walk me through how that happened? What gave you the opportunity to release that single? How did you hit that limelight so hard, and what were the personal effects on your life by Adrenaline Rush's meteoric success?"

Ryder Millet (RM): "Uh well, I signed with Rize Productions in late 2019 and I had mostly been performing live locally while I worked on my music. Then I basically played the demo of the song I wrote for Jordan Rizzo, the owner of Rize, and he loved it. I tweaked the song here and there as we worked on the music video. I think what attributed to the success was the addition of the music video and the fact that Jordan Rizzo, head of the very popular band After The Fall, also starred in it, that helped generate a lot of buzz. I really owe my success to all my co-workers at Rize and Rizzo in particular who believed in me when I didn't even believe in myself."

"As for how it affected me...oof. It was kind of like a tidal wave? I mean at first it was overwhelming but in a bewildering but flattering way but then it kind of....was just a lot. Suddenly everything I did was watched and I was scrutnized under a microscope. I mean, I seen it so I knew it happened but it's hard to really...fathom it until it happens to you. I've been in a lot of scandals. I wouldn't say I have a squeaky clean image and they fed on that like vultures. It made it hard Maintain relationships. It's like you can't fuck up ever or you got everything to lose. The limelight can be intoxicating but it can simultaneously put you in a choke-hold and that is exactly how I feel a lot. But that isn't to say I ain't grateful for my fans. I am. I love when people recognize me and say how my music changed their means so much to be able to connect with others like that. Music is that, connection."

WS: "So a euphoric beginning led to the insatiable scrutiny of the paparazzi. It was a little while before your second single. That pressure you speak of, the relentless and vigilant gaze, how did that change your creative methods? How did it contribute to the scandals you speak of?"

"How did that all lead to Endless Cycle? And did you already feel that sort of recurring nightmare when you wrote Endless Cycle? Some have attributed the lyrics to more than just inner demons."

"I see the monsters everywhere, I turn they laugh at me, They call my bluff, I close my eyes and scream..."

"That could be interpreted as dealing with the press and their most unwanted attentions. Would that be a fair assessment?"

RM: "Yeah insatiable is a good way to describe the media. The paparazzi came around more when I associated with... uh... the daughter of a big rock star."

"It didn't. I mean. It didn't change my music or how I created. I've been writing songs for a long time, sometimes fragmented but they were there. Maybe it made me work slower? It was a lot of distractions..."

"I-- Uh well actually it had a lot more to do with---trauma I'd been through. I grew up in Hathian, not an easy place. I had a lot happen to me and it always comes regurgitating back no matter how far you run or how far you go. It's like, you can physically leave a place or a situation but it still plays back on your mind, especially when you have dealt with mental illness. I'm Bipolar. I have been medicated a long time but like, a lot of trauma really...triggered that darkness and chaos that comes from it."

WS: "I'm a New Orleans kid, myself. So I can relate to that feeling. Sometimes you can leave a place, but the place refuses to leave you. Have you ever spoken on the meaning behind your music before? You've publicly spoken of stepping away from the limelight over mental wellness concerns. Is BPD a contributing factor to that? And would you say that being a person with that disorder, that its played a part in your music? Or is music just the easiest way to deal with it? Maybe easiest isn't the right word. Is it the most effective way for you to meet that condition on a daily basis?"

RM: "Yes, that's exactly it. No. I haven't really spoken on the meanings. I don't think even Adrenaline Rush, though, well, the words speak for themselves there. I mean, I suppose it could be. I am medicated for it but I think that stress can contribute to the highs and lows even if it is not as extreme as when unmedicated. But I also had been dealing with endless scandals and just a bunch of shit like my divorce with Alice and it was all overwhelming. I think, my mental illness can sometimes be the flame igniteed from the spark already there but it's not the only flame. I am inspired by experiences I've had, emotions I feel, and relationships with others."

"I think that Bipolar Disorder can help and hinder my progress. Sometimes it's like you are creating consistantly. It's good, you're grand. Everything is amazing. Then suddenly you are writing half a song and starting a new one."

"Depression makes me unmotivated to do much with the words I put down. A lot of my songs start out as poems....depression is the poetry stage. Then there is that point in the middle where it all comes together. I mean, I did make an album. It took a long time but look at all the mess my mind has to muck through."

WS: "What can you tell me about your musical work with the Flew Knights? What was touring like? Can you explain the dynamic of the group for the readers, and do you still consider the band extant, or is a solo career what's next for Ryder Millet?"

"Why Ashmore? Getting out of Hathian is one thing. But coming here is quite another. What drew you to a sleepy town in the Poconos?"

RM: "Well, we all got our thing eh?"

"Touring with them was amazing. They were like firecrackers. Always going off and doing awesome things not just musically they got me to do things I normally wouldn't as we made our long trek across the country. Musically it was amazing working with them. They're such great professionals. Skilled. Talented. Focused. They helped me a lot with my own writing. Their dynamic is just...they feed off each other and build on it. It's such an incredible thing to see, and for a while I got to be apart of it. My own energy mixed with theirs. I had so much fun. I miss touring so much."

"I've always stuck to solo career. I mean, we don't have the same label even. We have discussed it though. We are going to stick to just collaborating for now. They often tour. I hope maybe some day I can join them again. I'm afraid of hurting their image....just being there. I don't know what's next for me. I still create music, that will never stop. Mostly I perform locally at this point. I'm considering returning to college. I don't know. It's kinda all up in the air right now. I really fucked up. I understand that. I--I was not well when I hurt that woman. I was not mentally sound. I'm seeing a therapist, getting help. When I am in a better place mentally I'd love to tour with Flew Knights, release another album, have a big come back. But we aint nothin without our mental health, right so that comes first. I understand why the public is so angry and I am deeply sorry for the hurt I've caused to the victim of my crime and letting down my fans and everyone else. Including myself. But I'm getting help."

"As for why Ashmore...well I had a meeting with Flew Knights. We were actually conjuring up new plans and I just...fell in love with the place. I kept coming back even while living in Louisiana. Then next thing you know we are moving up here. It's quiet here, quaint. I like the peacefulness of it."

WS: "So, Ryder is a solo act. Currently in seclusion. A sort of healing period. You've decided you're going to do local shows, but nothing large, nothing major. How do you go back from long road tours, and big venue showings, to garage bands and park plays?"

RM: "Honestly the small venues is how I started so I feel like I've gone back to my roots. It's not about fame or anything like that for me it's about the music. It's like when you are low key there isn't so much risk. You can breathe easier and not worry so much about the public eye. It's freeing. It is what I need right now. But don't worry, I ain't stepping away from the limelight forever."

WS: "You did just mention being in a bad place mentally when you assaulted Lilith Castellanos. Is there anything about the incident you'd like to shed light on? I don't want to tread on any legal issues currently up in the air, and I know that you'd be limited in what you could say on the matter. But if you've got a perspective that isn't currently being shared, I'd be willing to quote you."

RM: "I honestly only want to express my deep remorse for my actions. I don't want to go into anything else."

WS: "Is there anything you feel you'd want added to this? Anything that Ryder has to tell Ashmore at large?"

RM: "Well, I plan on doing more performances at Bad Moon and am also open to other venues for anyone interested. I would love to perform far and wide across our community."

He left the library as just a man. Not the rock god of Spotify. Not the bastian of scandal or shock or glamour that some paint him to be. Ryder Millet was just a man putting one foot in front of the other, traveling the hard path of renewal and rebirth. I was left to wonder, how would he face his demons, the beasts that beset him on his journey? The savage lion seemed tamed by his newfound introspection. The leopard of malice seemed gentled by his humility. But could he find and keep the restraint required to face the she-wolf?

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